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: President Hadi announces National Dialogue Conference to commence March 18; gunmen flying al Qaeda flag erect checkpoint on coast of Abyan governorate; details of Interior Ministry restructuring revealed in Yemeni paper; al Houthis release names of their delegates to the National Dialogue Conference; drone base in Saudi Arabia used to target AQAP; British ambassador to the UN considering sanctions against obstructers of National Dialogue; source says weapons aboard ship seized January 23 bound for al Houthis through Mocha port; clashes within 2nd Border Guards Brigade; Yemeni counterterrorism forces arrest over 20 Southern Movement supporters

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab begins posting to its new Twitter account; Somali troops conduct security operations in Bakara Market, Mogadishu; Puntland forces conduct security operations in Galkayo, Mudug region; Puntland interior minister announces ban on armed guards; Somali prime minister visits Beledweyne, Hiraan region; Somali president travels to Cairo, Egypt for Islamic nations summit; International Fund for Agriculture and Development says it will give Somalia $1.5 million for Diaspora projects; UN World Health Organization says 200,000 children in Somalia need healthcare; Somali journalist jailed in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi announced that the Yemeni Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference would commence on March 18, during a meeting of the Technical Committee for the National Dialogue on February 6 in Sana’a, Yemen. The date itself is significant, as it is the second anniversary of the “Karama” or “Dignity” massacre, in which 52 youth were killed by regime snipers during the 2011 Yemen Uprising.[1]
  • Gunmen flying al Qaeda’s black flag reportedly erected a checkpoint on February 6 between the cities of Ahwar and Shaqra on the coast of Abyan governorate. Sources claimed that the gunmen claimed they were targeting Yemeni Army and popular committee forces. Later in the afternoon, sources claimed that the gunmen abandoned the checkpoint and began moving toward al Wuday’ city, Abyan governorate.[2]
  • The Interior Ministry restructuring will seek to decentralize power, according a piece by al Masdar Online on February 6. Authorities plan to appoint a deputy and three agents subordinate to the interior minister, rename the Central Security Force and the Rescue Police Force, and create a powerful Public Administration for Planning and Development within the ministry.[3]
  • The al Houthi front group Ansar Allah released the names of its 37 delegates to the National Dialogue Conference on February 5.[4]
  • The CIA is using a drone base in Saudi Arabia to target al Qaeda militants in Yemen, according to a report published in the New York Times and Associated Press on February 5.[5]
  • Mark Grant, the British ambassador to the UN who headed the UN Security Council visit to Yemen, said that the UN would consider sanctions against any individual or group attempting to undermine the National Dialogue process. Grant cited the family of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and that of Major General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar in an article published by BBC on February 5.[6]
  • Weapons aboard a ship seized on January 23 in the Arabian Sea came from Iran, and were en route to al Houthi rebels through the port of Mocha, Taiz governorate , a Yemeni security source told the AFP on February 5.[7]
  • One soldier, Basem Mohammad al Marawla, was killed and two others wounded in clashes between two battalions of the 2nd Border Guards Brigade in the town of Haradh, Hajjah governorate on the Saudi-Yemeni border. The clashes broke out after one battalion refused an order by the brigade commander, Ali Omar, to man border checkpoints.[8]
  • More than twenty young members of the Southern Movement were detained by Yemeni counterterrorism forces in al Mualla and near the port of Aden on February 5. Sources claimed that the youth were suspected of helping to establish training camps in Aden governorate, as well as inciting violence and distributing weapons from Iran.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab began posting on its new Twitter account on February 3. Al Shabaab tweeted, among other things, that it had launched an attack on AMISOM troops in Baidoa, Bay region and denounced the French operation in Mali.[10]
  • Somali government troops conducted security operations in Bakara Market, Mogadishu on February 5 to find al Shabaab militants.[11]
  • Puntland forces conducted security operations in Galkayo, Mudug region on February 6 to root out those responsible for terrorist attacks in the region. Over 200 people were arrested during the raids.[12]
  • The Puntland interior minister announced in Boosaaso, Bari region on February 6, that politicians and civilians were banned from having unauthorized armed guards. Puntland officials say this will help stabilize the semi-autonomous nation.[13]
  • Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon visited Beledweyne, Hiraan region on February 6 to hold talks with AMISOM leaders in the area.[14]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud traveled to Cairo, Egypt on February 6 to attend a summit for leaders of Islamic countries. The summit will be focused on helping end the Syrian conflict and set up a functioning government in the country.[15]
  • The International Fund for Agricultural Development said on February 4 that it will give Somalia $1.5 million to invest in Diaspora projects, which, in this case, means funding local agriculture initiatives.[16]
  • The United Nations World Health Organization announced on February 5 that 200,000 children in Somalia are suffering from health crises.[17]
  • A Somali journalist, working for Kulmiye News, was arrested on February 5 in Mogadishu, after voicing his discontent after a Somali court sentenced an alleged rape victim and a reporter to one year in prison.[18]    


[1] “Yemeni President Declares March 18 as the Date for the Launch of the National Dialogue,” al Masdar Online, February 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Witnesses: Al Qaeda Members Erect Checkpoint on Coast Near al Ahwar,” Aden al Ghad, February 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “al Masdar Online: Publishes New Structure of Yemeni Interior Ministry,” al Masdar Online, February 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Names of the Houthi Group Representatives to the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference,” al Masdar Online, February 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “CIA Conducts Drone Strikes in Yemen from Base in Saudi Arabia,” Associated Press, February 5, 2013. Available:
[6] “Success Lined with Risks in Political Transition in Yemen,” BBC Arabic, February 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Security Source: Iranian Missile Shipment Was Bound for al Houthis through Mocha Port,” February 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Soldier Killed in Clashes Between Two Battalions in Border Guard Brigade in North Yemen,” al Masdar Online, February 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Politics: Wide Arrest Campaign in Aden Affect Dozens of Iran Supporters,” al Syasa, February 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] “Shabaab Returns to Twitter, Says Civilians Killed in French Raid,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 5, 2013. Available at SITE.
[11] “The National Security Wages Operation at Bakara Market,” Radio Kulmiye, February 5, 2013. Available:
[12] “Mass Arrest in Northern Galkayo Swoop,” Bar Kulan, February 6, 2013. Available:
[13] “Puntland Bans Private Armed Guards, Political Gatherings,” Bar Kulan, February 6, 2013. Available:
[14] “PM Shirdon Visits Beledweyne,” Bar Kulan, February 6, 2013. Available:
[15] “President Mohamud to Attend Islamic Nations Meeting in Egypt,” Bar Kulan, February 6, 2013. Available:
[16] “IFAD Grants Somalia 1.5mln USD to Tap Diaspora Investment,” Daily Monitor, February 5, 2013. Available:
[17] “UN Warns of Somalia Health Crisis,” Daily Nation, February 6, 2013. Available:
[18] “Journalist Da’ud Abdi Da’ud Arrested,” Kulmiye News, February 5, 2013. Available:
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