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: U.S. President Obama nominates new ambassador to Yemen; Southern Movement militants attack military checkpoint in al Dhaleh; militants blow up oil pipeline in Shabwah; gunmen attack Yemeni troops in al Dhaleh; South African diplomat travels to Yemen to negotiate with AQAP; Yemeni security forces arrest 20 in Taiz

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims December attacks in Kenya and Puntland; Somali intelligence sources confirm al Shabaab commanders’ deaths; Ugandan and Somali police sign MoU; Somali Prime Minister announces cabinet

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. President Barack Obama announced on January 16 his nomination of Matthew Tueller, the current U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, to become the next United States Ambassador to Yemen.[1]
  • Southern Movement militants attacked a Yemeni military checkpoint in al Wabeh, located in al Dhaleh governorate, on January 17. The initial attack killed two soldiers. The army responded by shelling houses in the surrounding area, wounding 20 people.[2]
  • Militants blew up an oil pipeline with dynamite in Habban district in Shabwah governorate on January 17. This is the third attack against oil pipelines in Yemen this month.[3]
  • Gunmen attacked a Yemeni military water truck in al Dhaleh city on January 17, 2014. Two soldiers died in the fighting and two others were injured.[4]
  • A ranking South African diplomat prepared to negotiate with fighters from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for the release of a South African hostage on January 17.[5]
  • Yemeni security forces arrested 20 suspects at the end of a week-long campaign against criminal activity in Taiz city on January 15.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab’s media arm, al Kata’ib Foundation, issued seven communiques on January 13 claiming attacks in north Kenya, Lower Jubba, Lower Shabelle, Banadir, Bari, and Bay regions in December. Notably, al Shabaab claimed the early December attack targeting Puntland Maritime Police Force troops in Boosaaso and claimed to have bombed Ahmed Madobe’s convoy in Kismayo.[7]
  • Somali intelligence sources confirmed that al Shabaab commanders Pakistani Imran Abu Jilali, Egyptian Shabdalla al Manzur, Sudanese Alakim Nurala, and Yemenis Abdul Hakim Mohamud and Shukri bin Khalifa were killed in the January 9 F-5 jet airstrikes targeting Burto Dhere in Garbahary in Gedo region. Al Shabaab’s former and current commanders for the Gedo region were also killed in the strike.[8]
  • Ugandan police chief Kale Kayihura and Somali police chief Brigadier General Abdihakim Dahir Sa’eed signed a memorandum of understanding on January 16 in Kampala, Uganda. Uganda will be sending police trainers to Somalia in exchange for intelligence information.[9]
  • Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed announced his cabinet on January 17. He pledged to continue the fight against al Shabaab, reform Somali institutions, and improve public services.[10]      

[1] “Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, January 16, 2014. Available:
Matt Canham, “Obama picks a Utahn to be ambassador to Yemen,” Salt Lake Tribune, January 16, 2014. Available:
[2] “4 Killed including 2 Soldiers and 21 others wounded in clashes with al Hirak in al Dhaleh,” al Masdar Online, January 17, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Official: Gunmen Blow up Pipeline in Habban in Shabwah,” al Masdar Online, January 17, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Two killed and one injured in Clashes in Dhaleh,” al Motamar, January 17, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Top South Africa diplomat heads to Yemen to negotiate hostage release,” Reuters, January 17, 2014. Available:
[6] “Yemen arrests 20 criminal suspects in Taiz,” al Shorfa, January 16, 2014. Available:
[7] “Shabaab Claims Ambush in Kenya, Attack in Puntland,” SITE Intel Group, January 14, 2014. Available at SITE.
[8] Dominic Wabala, “Al Qaeda Militia Chiefs Killed in KDF Attack,” The Star, January 17, 2014. Available:
[9] Andrew Bagala, “Somalia, Uganda Police Agree to Fight Terrorism,” The Monitor, January 17, 2014. Available:
[10] “Prime Minister: ‘Cabinet Will Work Tirelessly for the People of Somalia,’” Statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, January 17, 2014. Available:
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