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: AQAP releases two kidnapped South Africans; militants attack checkpoint outside Ataq in Shabwah governorate; ceasefires reached in al Jawf and Amran governorates; gunmen attack local GPC leader in Hadramawt; gunmen kidnap two soldiers in Dhaleh

Horn of Africa: Kenya fighter jets bomb al Shabaab position in Gedo region; al Shabaab’s commander in Lower Shabelle calls for Somalis to rebel; bomb injures four in Gedo region; gunmen attack military base in Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Yemeni security official in Taiz confirmed on January 10 the release of a South African couple who had reportedly been held by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The couple was kidnapped in Taiz in May 2013. The circumstances of their release remain unknown.[1]
  • Militants attacked a Yemeni military checkpoint outside of Ataq, the capital of Shabwah governorate, on January 9. The fighting killed two soldiers and two militants and injured several others.  A Yemeni intelligence source said that the Southern Movement was responsible for the attack.[2]
  • The Yemeni government negotiated a ceasefire agreement between al Houthis and Hashid tribesmen in the Khaiwan valley of Amran governorate on January 10. The ceasefire mirrors other recent agreements whereby both sides remove roadblocks and relinquish their positions to the Yemeni army. Separately, government mediators also negotiated a ceasefire agreement between the al Houthis and the Daham tribe in al Jawf governorate on January 9.[3]
  • Gunmen ambushed the vehicle of Sheikh Ahmed Talib bin Qarwan, the leader the General People’s Congress party in al Dhlia’ah district in Hadramawt governorate, on January 9. His son, who was driving the vehicle, was injured in the attack.[4]
  • Unknown assailants kidnapped two Yemeni soldiers in Dhaleh city on January 10.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Kenyan military conducted an airstrike outside of Garbaharey in Gedo region targeting an al Shabaab meeting late on January 9. At least 30 al Shabaab militants, including commanders, were killed. The Kenyan military claimed that it had destroyed over five military vehicles in the strike via its Twitter handle.[6]
  • Al Shabaab’s commander in the Lower Shabelle Region Sheikh Mohamed Abu Abdalla called on local Somalis to rebel against the government over al Shabaab’s al Andalus radio station on January 8. He said, “Those people who live in areas where our enemy controls, this is the time to buy your weapons and fight against them, and we are ready to help you.”[7]
  • A remote-controlled bomb detonated in a tea shop in the center of Luq in Gedo region on January 9. At least four people were injured in the blast.[8]
  • Gunmen attacked a Somali government military base at the Omar Beerey residency in Afgoi town in Lower Shabelle region on January 10. Both sides sustained heavy casualties. At least four government soldiers were killed and scores other injured in the early morning attack. The night prior, clashes occurred near Sinka Der village along the road between Afgoi and Mogadishu.[9]      


[1] “Al Qaeda-linked militants in Yemen free S. Africans,” Reuters, January 10, 2014. Available:
[2] “Four killed and others wounded in armed attack on military checkpoint in Shabwah,” News Yemen January 9, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Presidential commission reaches ceasefire in Khaiwan valley,” Saba News Agency, January 10, 2014. Available:
“Houthis, tribesmen agree to ceasefire in Yemen,” World Bulletin, January 9, 2014. Available:
[4] “GPC leader escapes assassination attempt in Hadramawt,” al Motamar, January 9, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Armed men kidnap two soldiers in Dhaleh,” al Motamar, January 10, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Kenya Airstrike in Somalia Kills 30 Al-Shabab Fighters,” VOA, January 10, 2014. Available:
“30 Shabaab Militants Killed in KDF Raid,” Capital FM, January 10, 2014. Available:
[7] Mohammed Yusuf, “New al-Shabab Call for Rebellion, Analyst Says Somalis Want Peace,” VOA, January 9, 2014. Available:
[8] “Explosion Injures 4 in Luq, Gedo Region,” Bar Kulan, January 10, 2014. Available:
[9] “Early Morning Attacks in Afgoye Town and Outskirts of Mogadishu City,” Shabelle News, January 10, 2014. Available:
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