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: Al Houthi militants clash with Salafists near Kataf, Sa’ada governorate; youth sets himself on fire in protest in front of government headquarters in Sana’a; Ansar al Sharia ambushes Yemeni troops in Walad Rabi’a, al Bayda governorate; tribal gunmen attack and disable Sana’a-Ma’rib power lines; man killed by popular committees at checkpoint in Abyan governorate; security forces open up highways in Sana’a and Ma’rib governorates blocked by tribal forces; Yemeni cabinet orders evacuation of al Hudaydah airport due to attacks on its premises

Horn of Africa: Improvised explosive device kills AMISOM soldier in Mogadishu; unknown gunmen shoot and kill a Kenyan police officer in Garissa, Kenya; five al Shabaab militants defect in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; al Shabaab releases video eulogizing five of its fighters; Somali president meets with British prime minister in London, England; Somali president says he is willing to engage in talks with al Shabaab; Somali president installs new administration in Baidoa, Bay; Somali court sentences alleged rape victim and reporter to one year in prison

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi militants clashed with Salafists from Damaj near an al Houthi checkpoint in the Kataf district of Sa’ada governorate on February 4. Seven al Houthis and two Salafists were killed in the incident, though numbers vary across reports. Reports also indicated that the al Houthis took two Salafists captive.[1]
  • A youth, Munif Zubairi, set himself on fire in front of the government headquarters in Sana’a on February 4, as a part of demonstrations in support of those wounded in the 2011 Yemeni Uprising.[2]
  • Ansar al Sharia forces ambushed Yemeni troops near Hama Sarar, Walad Rabi’a district, al Bayda governorate on February 4. Two Yemeni soldiers were killed and three wounded in the incident.[3]
  • Tribal gunmen attacked power lines connecting Sana’a and Ma’rib on February 4, disabling the Ma’rib power station and causing widespread power outages in the capital and surrounding governorates.[4]
  • A man, Ali Saleh Bahtoosh, was killed at the Juma’a checkpoint run by popular committee forces in Abyan governorate on February 5.[5]
  • Security forces opened up three highway segments blocked by tribal elements on February 4: one holding train cars in Bani Matar, Sana’a governorate; one in Hamdan district, Sana’a governorate; and one near the Temple of the Sun in Ma’rib governorate.[6]
  • The Yemeni cabinet met on February 5 in the Republican Palace in al Hudaydah governorate, and decided to order all civilian and military personnel to vacate al Hudaydah airport, after illegal “seizures of territory” on the airport premises. Military units transferred from duty at the airport will soon be replaced by other units.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated and killed one AMISOM soldier in Mogadishu on February 5. The Burundian soldier was helping protect workers who were building a fence around the Siad Barre Military Academy when the remotely controlled IED went off.[8]
  • Four unknown gunmen shot and killed a Kenyan police officer in Garissa, Kenya, on February 4. The gunmen fled the scene and have not been caught.[9]
  • Five al Shabaab militants defected to Somali troops in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on February 4.[10]
  • Al Shabaab released a video on February 1, eulogizing five of its dead fighters. One fighter shown was Bilal al Berjawi, a.k.a. Abu Hafs al Lubnani, an al Qaeda official who was killed in a drone strike in Mogadishu in January 2012. Another was Muhammed Ibrahim al Ansari who carried out a suicide attack in June 2009 that killed the Somali security minister and the Somali ambassador to Ethiopia.[11]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London, England on February 4. That same day, Great Britain pledged to give Somalia €3 million to support the new government and address malnourishment.[12]
  • President Mohamud announced on February 4 that he would be willing to engage in talks with al Shabaab if it gave up its mission to destroy the federal government.[13]
  • President Mohamud issued a decree on February 4 installing a new administration in Baidoa, Bay region. Abdi Adan Hosow is the new provincial commissioner for Bay region and Mohamed Moalim Ibrahim will be the new district commissioner for Baidoa.[14]
  • A court in Mogadishu sentenced both an alleged rape victim and the reporter who interviewed her to one year in prison on February 5. Many in Somalia, as well as the United Nations and Human Rights Watch, have spoken out against the verdict.[15]  


[1] “Fears of Heavy Weapon Usage: Seven al Houthis and 2 from Dimaj Killed in Sa’ada,” Mareb Press, February 4, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Six Killed, Two Held Captive in Northern Yemen Sectarian Clashes,” Yemen Observer, February 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Man Sets Fire to His Body in Front of Government Headquarters in Sana’a in Solidarity with the Wounded of the Revolution,” al Masdar Online, February 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Two Soldiers Killed and Others Wounded in an Ambush in Walad Rabi’a District,” Barakish Net, February 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Attack on Power Lines Leads to Disabling of Ma’rib Gas Plant,” Barakish Net, February 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Man from Hadramawt Killed by Popular Committees in Abyan,” Barakish Net, February 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Interior Ministry: 3 Tribal Elements Taken off Road to Sana’a,” Mareb Press, February 4, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Cabinet Discusses in Problems Faced by al Hudaydah Airport in the Form of Attacks on its Land in Meeting in al Hudaydah,” Saba News, February 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “AMISOM Soldier Killed While Protecting Somali Workers,” AMISOM, February 5, 2013. Available:
[9] “Police Officer Shot Dead in Garissa,” The Star, February 5, 2013. Available:
“Kenyan Police Officer Shot Dead in Garissa,” Bar Kulan, February 5, 2013. Available:
[10] “Alleged Militant Defector Paraded in Beledweyne,” Bar Kulan, February 4, 2013. Available:
[11] “Shabaab Eulogizes Five Fighters in Video, Including al Qaeda Official,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 4, 2013. Available at SITE.
[12] “President Mohamud Meets British PM David Cameron,” Bar Kulan, February 5, 2013. Available:
“UK to Grant 3m Aid Boost to Somalia,” BBC, February 4, 2013. Available:
[13] “Somalia: President Ready to Open Talks with Al Shabaab ‘If They Abandon Objective,’” Garowe, February 4, 2013. Available:
[14] “President Mohamud Names New Admin for Baidoa,” Bar Kulan, February 5, 2013. Available:
[15] “Somali Court Jails Woman Allegedly Raped by Security Forces,” Bar Kulan, February, 5, 2013. Available:
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