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: Tribesmen bomb an oil pipeline in Anshar, Sirwah district, Ma’rib governorate; prominent tribal leader and intermediary to AQAP killed in an ambush in Mahfad district, Abyan governorate; motorcycle driver arrested in Sana’a attempting to assassinate security official; gunmen attack Republican Palace in Ma’rib city; car bomb targets soldier in the Amr Mukhtar neighborhood of Aden; armored military vehicles deployed in Sana’a; Yemeni aircraft strike AQAP positions in Ma’rib and Abyan governorates; Yemeni Southern Movement supporters demonstrate in Ataq city, Shabwah governorate; kidnappers of French and Austrian tourists negotiating deal with AQAP; Saudi Arabia grants deposed President Saleh visa for medical treatment; al Haq Party convenes its first general conference in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: U.S. government offers $10 million bounty for killers of USAID workers; bomb detonates in Afgoi, Lower Shablle; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a militia captures Daar Malim, Gedo region; Lower Shabelle district commissioner says SNA troops are committing crimes; Somali president announces the reopening of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency; security meeting takes place in Mataban, Hiraan region; Somali public works minister meets with Sudanese and Singaporean envoys; AMISOM to train Somali civil servants; assistant defense minister travels to Garbaharey, Gedo region; Puntland president extends his term by one year

Yemen Security Brief

  • Armed tribesmen bombed an oil pipeline in the city of Anshar, Sirwah district, Ma’rib governorate on January 10. The bombing comes in the wake of clashes between tribal gunmen and government forces.[1]
  • Sheikh Ali Abdalsalam, also known as Mullah Zabara, was killed in an ambush by unknown assailants while traveling by car in Wadi Dhaiqa in Mahfad district of Abyan governorate on January 10. One of his companions was also injured in the attack. The sheikh, who is a tribal leader from Shabwah governorate, has served as an intermediary between the Yemeni government and AQAP.[2]
  • A motorcycle driver was arrested in front of a government building in Sana’a carrying a silenced handgun on January 10. Security sources claim that the gunman was arrested while attempting to assassinate a security officer named “al Qadri,” and that he had been involved in similar operations in the past.[3]
  • Unknown gunman attacked the Republican Palace in the city of Ma’rib on January 10, exchanging gunfire with palace guards.[4]
  • A car bomb exploded next to the Shokani school in the Amr Mukhtar neighborhood of Aden on January 10, targeting a soldier, Fadi Farouq al Yabli, who serves as an engineer in Republican Guard. No one was injured in the explosion. The bomb itself contained a mixture of chemicals and iron fragments signifying local manufacture.[5]
  • Eyewitnesses report the deployment of armored military vehicles near the Saudi Embassy and Mesbahi intersection in Sana’a on January 10.[6]
  • Yemeni aircraft struck AQAP positions in Ma’rib and Abyan governorates on January 8 after observing the movement of dozens of militants from Ma’rib to neighboring governorates, as well as Abyan governorate.[7]
  • Thousands of members of the Yemeni Southern Movement demonstrated in the city of Ataq in Shabwah governorate on January 10 in commemoration of the January 1986 massacre. Sources reported that demonstrators demanded reconciliation and tolerance for southerners, raising flags and chanting slogans of the former South Yemeni state. Afterward, hundreds participated in a march to Aden in support of these demands.[8]
  • The kidnappers of three Finish and Austrian tourists are negotiating a deal to hand over the tourists to AQAP. Sources reported on January 10 that while both parties had initially agreed to the amount of 30 million Riyals, the kidnappers subsequently raised the price of the transfer.  The tourists are thought to be held in one of Yemen’s mountainous regions.[9]
  • Saudi Arabia granted deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh a visa to enter the country for medical treatment, according to sources close to the former president on January 10.[10]
  • The al Haq Party convened its first general conference on Sana’a on January 10. The two-day conference will discuss Yemeni legal reform, growth and development, and internal party structure and leadership.[11]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The United States government offered a $10 million bounty for the killers who murdered two employees of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Khartoum, Sudan in January 2008. Five people were captured and convicted but four managed to escape prison. One man was recaptured, and another was killed, but Abdelbasit Alhaj Alhasan Haj Hamad and Mohamed Makawi Ibrahim Mohamed are still at large and believed to be in Somalia.[12]
  • A bomb went off at a Somali National Army base in the town of Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region on January 9, 2013. The blast wounded two civilian women and one government soldier. Somali police are investigating the incident.[13]
  • The Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a militia captured the village of Daar Malim, Gedo region on January 9 after a gunfight with the al Shabaab militants stationed there. Daar Malim is about 30 km away from the al Shabaab stronghold of Bardhere, Gedo region.[14]
  • District Commissioner of the Lower Shabelle region Abdikadir Mohamed Nur, reported that Somali government troops have been beating, robbing and raping civilians in the region. District Commissioner Nur asks that investigations into these crimes begin immediately.[15]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced on January 7 that Somalia would reopen its National Intelligence and Security Agency. The announcement came during a ceremony celebrating the 41st anniversary of the agency.[16]
  • A joint security meeting between officials from the Hiraan and Galgudud regions took place in Mataban district of Hiraan region on January 10. The leaders discussed mutual cooperation in security matters, including sharing intelligence.[17]
  • Somali Public Works Minister Muhayadin Mohamed Kalmoy met with the Sudanese envoy to Somalia Abdulmunin Taysir on January 9 in Mogadishu. The two men talked about strengthening the relationship between the two countries. Minister Kalmoy also met with a delegation of Singaporean officials on January 9 in Mogadishu to discuss expanding seaport activities in Somalia.[18]
  • AMISOM professionals will be training Somali civil servants in workshops occurring in Bujumbura, Burundi from January 14-20 and January 21-25. The workshops are funded by the Italian government and run through the University of South Africa.[19]
  • The Assistant Defense Minister Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud traveled to Garbaharey, Gedo region on January 9 to deliver medical supplies to injured soldiers in the area.[20]
  • Puntland President Abdirahman Farole announced on January 8 that he will extend his presidency one year and will hold elections in January 2014. President Farole said that it was within his constitutional rights, but many in the country still want to hold elections this year.[21]         

[1] “Oil Pipeline Explosion After Clashes Between Armed Tribesman and the Army in Ma’rib,” al Masdar Online, January 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[2] “Abyan…Unknown Assailants Assassinate Prominent Tribal Leader Who Intermediated with Al Qaeda,” al Masdar Online, January 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[3] “Breaking: Sana’a…Motorcycle Driver Arrested in Possession of Silenced Handgun while Attempting to Assassinate Officer,” Barakish Net, January 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[4] “Breaking …Militants Attack Republican Palace in City of Ma’rib,” Barakish Net, January 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[5] “Car Bomb Explosion Targets the Car of a Soldier in Aden,” Sahafah, January 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[6] “Prevalence of Armored Military Vehicles near the Saudi Embassy in Sana’a,” Barakish Net, January 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[7] “Yemeni Aircraft Launch Strikes on Governorates with an Al Qaeda Presence,” Mareb Press, January 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[8] “Demonstration ‘for Reconciliation and Tolerance’ in Shabwah and Hundreds Participate in a Foot March to Aden,” al Masdar Online, January 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[9] “Deal between Al Qaeda and Kidnappers of the Fins and Austrians,” Barakish, January 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[10] “Sources: Saudi Grants Saleh Entry Visa for Treatment,” al Masdar Online, January 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[11] “The Business of the First General Conference of the Right Party Begins in Sana’a,” Saba Net, January 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available from:
[12]“Rewards for Justice - Rewards Offers in USAID Murders Case,” U.S. Department of State, January 8, 2013. Available:
“U.S. Puts $10 million bounty on USAID Employees’ Killers,” Bar Kulan, January 10, 2013. Available:
[13] “Bomb Blast in Afgoi Town,” Radio Kulmiye, January 9, 2013. Available:
[14] “Ahlu Sunna Claims Capturing Village near Bardera Town,” Bar Kulan, January 10, 2013. Available:
[15] “Insecurity in Lower Shabelle,” Radio Mustaqbal, January 10, 2013. Available:
[17] “Inter-regional Security Meeting Held in Mataban District,” Bar Kulan, January 10, 2013. Available:
[18] “Kalmoy Meets Sudanese Envoy, Singaporean Officials in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, January 10, 2013. Available:
[19] “AMISOM to Hold Capacity Building Training for Somali Civil Servants,” AMISOM, January 10, 2013. Available:
[20] “Defense Assistant Minister Visits Garbaharey,” Bar Kulan, January 9, 2013. Available:
[21] “Puntland President Extends Term and Sets Date for Election,” Shabelle, January 9, 2013. Available:
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