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: Southern Movement militants attack Yemeni army convoy in al Dhaleh; gunmen attack Yemeni military checkpoint in Shabwah; Yemeni security forces clash with PSO soldiers in Ibb; al Houthi fighters shell villages in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: AMISOM and Somali forces liberate Gendershe in Lower Shabelle; Ethiopian forces detain defected senior al Shabaab commander; al Shabaab claims responsibility for attacks in Mogadishu; Somali government forces plan offensive in Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Southern Movement militants attacked a Yemeni army convoy from the 33rd Armored Brigade in al Dhaleh city on February 4, wounding three soldiers.[1]
  • Gunmen attacked a Yemeni military checkpoint near Belhaf in Shabwah governorate on February 4, killing three soldiers and wounding four more.[2]
  • Yemeni security forces clashed with soldiers from the Political Security Organization (PSO) in Ibb city on February 5. The two sides exchanged fire when the security forces prevented the PSO soldiers from entering an administrative building with their weapons. The fighting killed one soldier and wounded another.[3]
  • Tribesmen in Arhab reported that al Houthi fighters fired artillery shells at villages in Arhab district in Sana’a governorate on February 4, breaking a ceasefire that both sides had agreed to just 10 minutes before. The ceasefire calls for both sides to allow the Yemeni army to take over their respective checkpoints and barriers.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • AMISOM and Somali forces secured Gendershe, a town located between Mogadishu and Marka, in Lower Shabelle after an allied raid expelled al Shabaab militants from the town.  Al Shabaab had maintained a presence in Gendershe since 2011, using the town as a small base to launch attacks against nearby Mogadishu.[5]
  • Ethiopian intelligence agents, supported by Somaliland counterterrorism forces, detained defected senior al Shabaab commander, Abdullahi Mohamed Ahmed Arabey, in Togdheer region. Ethiopian agents then transported the militant commander into Ethiopian territory. Infighting within al Shabaab is believed to have motivated Arabey’s defection.[6]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman, Sheikh Abdi Aziz Abu Mus’ab, issued a statement on February 4 claiming the February 2 and February 3 explosions throughout Mogadishu. It remains unclear if the attacks successfully achieved their purpose or inflicted significant damage.[7]
  • Somali government forces intend to launch an offensive against al Shabaab militants in the towns of Bardhere and Burdubo in Gedo region. Government forces throughout the region are gathering in Garbaharey in preparation for the coordinated operation.[8]

[1] “Al Dhaleh... 3 soldiers injured in armed al Hirak attack against military vehicles belonging to 33rd Brigade,” Akhbaralyom, February 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “3 soliders killed and 4 wounded in armed attack on military checkpoint near Belhaf in Shabwah,” al Masdar Online, February 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Ibb... soldier killed and another wounded resulting from clashes between general security forces and intelligence forces,” al Masdar Online, February 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Mediation begins today to remove barriers and checkpoints while the Houthis break a ceasefire 10 minutes after it began; Arhab tribes: the invaders’ leaving is more important than removing the barriers and we're on our way to remove the Houthis from the rest of Arhab,” Akhbaralyom, February 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Somalia government forces liberate Gandershe town from Al Shabab,” Dalsan Radio, February 5, 2014. Available:
“SOMALIA: Gov’t forces seize a village outside Mogadishu from Al Shabab,” RBC Radio, February 5, 2014. Available:
[6] “SOMALIA: Ethiopian intelligence backed by Somaliland forces detain senior Al Shabab defector,” RBC Radio, February 5, 2014. Available:
[7] “Several Mogadishu Districts Shelled in Co-ordinated Attack Claimed by Al-Shabaab,” Harar24 News, February 4, 2014. Available:
[8] “Gov’t forces threaten to attack southwest town of Bardere, Gedo region,” Bar Kulan, February 5, 2014. Available:
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