Gulf of Aden Security Review

A regularly updated review of both Yemen and the Horn of Africa covering topics related to security, governance, and militant activity.

Yemen: Several explosions occur in Sana’a; al Houthis and Hashid tribesmen clash in Amran; two westerners kidnapped in Sana’a; two security officers survive assassination bids in Aden; Yemeni security forces thwart IED attack in al Dhaleh; Coast Guard commander escapes IED attack in Hadramawt; tribesmen bomb oil pipeline in Ma’rib

Horn of Africa: Muslim youth clash with Kenyan police in Mombasa; al Shabaab shuts down telecom company in Middle Jubba region; explosion kills at least three in Gedo region; al Shabaab attacks Somali government forces in Middle Shabelle, Hiraan, and Lower Jubba regions; al Shabaab attacks Puntland security forces in Bari region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Multiple explosions struck Sana’a on late February 2. Two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonated outside of the  Yemeni Defense Ministry and the Central Bank buildings. A mortar shell landed near the French Embassy and a car bomb exploded near former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s house in Hadda district. Four people were reported injured in the mortar attack.[1]
  • Al Houthi fighters overran two strongholds of Hashid tribesmen in al Huth and Khamra villages on February 2 after two days of fighting, according to al Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam. The al Houthis deployed reinforcements into the district in Amran governorate on February 2 as well. The fighting in the area has killed at least 150 militants.[2]
  • A German citizen and a British oil-sector employee were kidnapped in separate attacks in Sana’a on January 31 and February 3, respectively. While tribesmen claimed responsibility for kidnapping the German, the kidnappers of the British man remain unknown.[3]
  • Unknown gunmen opened fire on a high-ranking security officer and his assistant in Aden on February 3. Two men were critically wounded and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Additionally, a bomb slightly wounded another security officer in Aden the day before as he traveled in a convoy.[4]
  • Yemeni security forces stopped an IED attack on a government compound in al Dhaleh on February 2 involving a truck filled with TNT explosives.  No casualties were reported.[5]
  • An IED detonated in al Shihr city in Hadramawt governorate, targeting a commander in the Yemeni Coast Guard as he left his house on February 2. The officer escaped unharmed, but the blast killed a man and injured a woman.[6]
  • Tribesmen bombed Yemen’s main oil pipeline in Sirwah district in Ma’rib governorate on February 1. The attack halted the flow of oil to Yemen’s largest export terminal.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Muslim youth clashed with Kenyan police in Mombasa on February 2, killing at least two people. The violence broke out after police disrupted a meeting of about 300 people at the Mussa Mosque in the Majengo district, arresting 129 individuals. The unrest continued into February 3 as Muslim youth protested mass detention. Kenyan police justified the actions as a component of a counterterrorism initiative designed to prevent radicalization and recruitment at mosques linked to al Shabaab.[8]
  • Al Shabaab militants shut down Hormuud Telecom Company’s branch in Jilib in Middle Jubba region on February 2. The militants disrupted service and detained more than fifteen employees after the company failed to pay al Shabaab’s $50,000 tax on local companies.[9]
  • A remotely detonated improvised explosive device (IED) killed at least three people and injured seven others in Beled Hawo in Gedo region on February 2.  Both Beled Hawo’s governor and security chief attributed the blast to al Shabaab. On February 3, local security forces responded by detaining over 20 suspects during a security crackdown.[10]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a base manned by Jubba administration forces near Kismayo in Lower Jubba region on February 1. The ensuing clash between al Shabaab and local government forces killed at least five and injured more.[11] 
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a government base near Jowhar in Middle Shabelle region on February 2. The extent of the casualties from the fighting remains unknown. The attack came after government forces arrested at least 100 individuals suspected of having links to al Shabaab during a security sweep on February 1.[12]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked an AMISOM convoy on February 3 near Beledweyne in Hiraan region.  The attack occurred as the convoy, transporting military equipment, was travelling toward Beledweyne.  A Somali commander, Mohamed Adan Amen, reported that the government forces resisted the attackers, suffering no casualties.[13]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked Puntland security forces in the Galgala Mountains near Boosaaso in Bari region on February 3. The al Shabaab attack came less than a week after Puntland security forces expelled al Shabaab militants from several bases in the Galgala Mountains on January 28. The extent of the casualties associated with the fighting remains unclear.[14]      
[1] “Second European abducted in unrest-hit Yemen,” AFP, February 3, 2014. Available:
“Second Westerner kidnapped, blasts hit Yemeni capital,” Reuters, February 3, 2014. Available:
[3] “Second European abducted in unrest-hit Yemen,” AFP, February 3, 2014. Available:
[4] “Yemen security officer critical after assassination bid,” AFP, February 3, 2014. Available:
“Top security commander wounded by roadside bomb in Yemen's Aden,” Xinhua, February 2, 2014. Available:
[5] “Truck laden with explosives explodes near government compound in al Dhaleh,” Akhbaralyom, February 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “As an explosion shakes the house of the general secretary of the district, one civilian killed and other wounded in explosion targeting military leader in Shihr, Hadramawt,” Akhbaralyom, February 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Yemen's main oil pipeline bombed, crude flow stops – sources,” Reuters, February 1, 2014. Available:
[8] “2 killed in clash at terror-linked Kenyan mosque,” Associated Press, February 3, 2014. Available:
Joseph Akwiri, “Kenyan port city again hit by riots over mosque raid,” Reuters, February 3, 2014. Available:
[9] “SOMALIA: Al Shabab closes Hormuud Telecom branch in Jilib, detains staff members,” RBC Radio, February 2, 2014. Available:
[10] Shafi’i Mohyaddin, “Blast kills three in south Somalia,” Hiiraan Online, February 3, 2014. Available:
“Security forces made arrests over Beled-hawo explosion,” Bar Kulan, February 3, 2014. Available:
[11] “Fierce fighting occurs in Kismayu leaves 5 dead,” Shabelle News, February 1, 2014. Available:
[12] “Confrontations between Gov’t forces and Alshabab troops results in heavy casualties,” Shabelle News, February 3, 2014. Available:
“Dozens arrested in Jowhar security operations,” Shabelle News, February 1, 2014. Available:
[13] “Somalia: Al-Shabab fighters attack Somali government troops in Hiran region,” RBC Radio, February 3, 2014. Available:
[14] “SOMALIA: Puntland armed forces fight Al-Shabab militants in Gal-gala mountains,” RBC Radio, February 3, 2014. Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Mar '14
Feb '14
Jan '14