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 attack an oil field in Hadramawt; tribesmen attack army post near Shihr in Hadramawt; gunmen attack prison in Hadramawt; al Houthis and tribesmen clash in Dhamar; two GPC officials survive assassination attempts; NGO is negotiating with AQAP for hostage’s release; gunmen attack a JMP official in Sana’a governorate

Horn of Africa: U.S. military unit operational in Mogadishu; al Shabaab warns civilians to stay away from foreign military bases; Kenyan government closes border security posts; Kenyan police arrests six alleged al Shabaab recruiters; al Shabaab attacks military base in Yaqshid district in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Tribesmen attacked a guardpost at an oil field run by the Norwegian company DNO in Ghayl Bin Yamin district in Hadramawt governorate, killing at least two soldiers and injuring another on January 11. The attack occurred after a recently formed tribal alliance warned DNO to cease operations on January 10.[1]
  • Yemeni military officials reported an attack by tribesmen on an army post near Shihr in Hadramawt governorate killed between four and six soldiers on January 12. However, the Associated Press attributed a similar attack to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[2]
  • Gunmen attempted to overrun a prison in al Mukalla, the capital of Hadramawt governorate on January 11. The attack failed and injured seven soldiers.[3] 
  • Al Houthi fighters clashed with tribesmen in the Dawran Anas district in Dhamar governorate on January 12. The fighting, which began when tribesmen attacked an al Houthi base, injured three of the tribal fighters.[4]
  • Two General People’s Congress (GPC) officials survived assassination attempts on January 12. Yemeni intelligence services defused an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in Mohsen al Naqib’s vehicle in the Shamila neighborhood of Sana’a. Separately, an IED detonated outside the house of Mohamed Abdu al Bajir, a local GPC leader in Dhamar governorate. One injury was reported.[5] 
  • The NGO Gift of Givers continues to negotiate with AQAP for the release of a South African hostage, Pierre Korkie. His wife was released earlier this week. The kidnappers asked for $3 million for his release.[6]
  • Gunmen linked to the al Islah party attacked Shawqi Ghanem, the leader of the al Haq party in Sana’a governorate, by shelling his house in Arhab district on January 12. Ghanem also heads the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) in Sana’a governorate.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • An American military unit is operational in Mogadishu, according to three U.S. military officials. Fewer than two dozen troops are in Mogadishu to support Somali security forces and AMISOM. The unit was established in October is fully operational, according to an Africa Command spokesman, Army Colonel Thomas Davis.[8]
  • Pro-al Shabaab websites have published statements in response to the presence of U.S. troops in Mogadishu. Al Shabaab commander Sheikh Ali Jabal called on Mogadishu residents to avoid foreign military bases, as those are to be targeted by al Shabaab, in an audio statement released on January 13.[9]
  • The Kenyan government has closed several security posts at risk for cross-border attacks along the Somalia border. These posts have been replaced with increased mobile security patrols and intelligence gathering efforts.[10]
  • Kenyan police arrested six youth believed to be involved in recruitment for al Shabaab. The youth were detained on January 9 attempting to enter Somalia along the Kiunga route. They are: Faraj Fahim Swaleh, Twafiq Swaleh, Nabil Mohammed Lali, Fara Abdi Kassim, and Mohammed Abdalla. They are reportedly trained on explosives and weapons.[11]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked an army base, prompting the outbreak of heavy fighting between al Shabaab militants and Somali government forces in Towfiq neighborhood in Yaqshid district in Mogadishu on January 12. At least four people were killed in the fighting.[12]         
[1] “Yemen tribesmen kill soldiers in oil field attack,” AFP, January 12, 2014. Available:
“Armed tribesmen attack oil field in SE Yemen, 3 soldiers killed,” Xinhua, January 12, 2014. Available:
[2] “Yemen Tribes Kill 4 Soldiers in Fresh Anti-Army Attack,” Ahram Online, January 12, 2014. Available:
“Yemeni tribes kill 6 soldiers,” Arab News, January 13, 2014. Available:
“4 Yemen Coast Guard Members Killed by Militants,” ABC News, January 12, 2014. Available:
[3] “Sources: 7 Soldiers Wounded in Clashes with Security and Gunmen Trying to Overrun al Mukalla’s Central Prison,” al Masdar Online, January 11, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Dhamar… three wounded in new clashes between al Houthis and tribesmen in Dawran,” Akhbar al Youm, January 13, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Bomb placed in car of GPC leader Muhsin al Naqib’s car diffused,” al Motamar, January 12, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“GPC leader escapes assassination attempt in Dhamar,” al Motamar, January 12, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Gift of the Givers to continue talks to release SA hostage in Yemen,” SAPA, January 12, 2004. Available:
[7] “Al Haq Party Denounces Brotherhood Attack on One of its Leaders in Arhab,” al Motamar, January 12, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] Craig Whitlock, “U.S. Has Deployed Military Advisers to Somalia, Officials Say,” Washington Post, January 10, 2014. Available:
[9] “Somalia: al Shabab Vows to Counter the U.S Forces Based in Mogadishu,” Raxanreeb, January 13,2014. Available:
[10] Adow Jubat, “State Closes Security Posts Along Somali Border,” Standard Media, January 11, 2014. Available:
[11] Calvin Onsarigo and Lornah Kerubo, “Police Nab Suspected Terrorism Recruits,” The Star, January 11, 2014. Available:
[12] “Confrontations Occur in Yaqshid District of Banadir Region,” Shabelle News, January 12, 2014. Available:
“Somalia: Two Civilians Gunned Down in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, January 12, 2014. Available:
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