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: al Houthi fighters clash with tribesmen in Amran; former Republican Guard soldiers attack government building in al Hudaydah; judge postpones trial of suspected AQAP militants; assailants attack a security officer in Ibb; Obama congratulates Hadi on end of national dialogue

Horn of Africa: Somali Special Forces conduct search operation in Mogadishu; two groups of Somali government forces exchanged fire in Lower Shabelle region; Ethiopian security agents abduct two senior ONLF leaders in Nairobi; al Shabaab spokesman appeals to Somali people after Ethiopian integration into AMISOM

Yemen Security Brief

  • Fighting continued between al Houthi fighters and tribesmen from Arhab district in Amran governorate on January 28. Thirteen people have been killed in the past two days.[1]

  • Former Republican Guard soldiers laid siege to al Hudaydah governorate’s capitol building in al Hudaydah city on January 28. The local government had just forbade the soldiers from taking control of the water wells to the north of the city.[2]

  • A Criminal Appeals judge postponed the trial of 11 suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) suspected members on January 28 to February 25.[3]

  • Unknown assailants attacked the residence of the Director of Security in al Saddah district in Ibb governorate. The grenade attack did not cause any casualties.[4]

  • U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated Yemeni President Abdu RabbuRabbu Mansour Hadi on the formal completion of the National Dialogue Conference in a phone call on January 27.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali Special Forces’ Alpha group conducted a search operation in the Daynile district in Mogadishu. The Special Forces confiscated explosive devices and detained several individuals in the operation, which aimed to disrupt al Shabaab activity in the district.[6]

  • Two Somali national army units clashed near Wanlaweyn in Lower Shabelle region. The fighting killed at least one soldier and wounded two others. Local residents described the units fighting in a “clannish manner.”[7]

  • An Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) press release claims that two senior ONLF leaders were abducted by Ethiopian security forces in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 26. The leaders, Sulub Ahmed and Ali Hussein, were members of a negotiation team in Kenya awaiting renewed peace talks between Ethiopia and the ONLF. The ONLF website stated the abduction “constitutes a breach of confidence in dealing with Ethiopia and will gravely hamper any further talks with Ethiopia.”[8]

  • Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, issued a statement on January 25 calling for the Somali people to assist al Shabaab in its struggle against AMISOM. The statement came in the wake of the formal integration of an Ethiopian contingent into AMISOM. Rage declared that al Shabaab is capable of combating the Ethiopian contingent, claiming the group has defeated Ethiopian forces in the past.[9]        

[2] “Soldiers from the First Battalion of the Former Republican Guard lay siege to capitol of al Hudaydah governorate,” Mareb Press, January 28, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Yemen: Postponement of trial of 11 accused of being AQAP and killing 70 to February 25,” 26 Sept, January 28, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Saddah Director of Security in Ibb escapes assassination attempt,” al Motamar, January 27, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Readout of the President’s Call with President Hadi of Yemen,” Office of the Press Secretary, January 27, 2014. Available:
[6] “Somali Apha group intercepted explosion devices at dayniile district,” Mareeg, January 28, 2014. Available:
[7] “Inter fighting between Government troops in the lower Shabelle region,” Shabelle News, January 28, 2014. Available:
[8] Ahmed Abdi, “Ethiopia: 2 Key-ONLF negotiators abducted in Kenya,” Somalilandpress, January 28, 2014. Available:
“Ethiopia Abducts two ONLF senior leaders From Nairobi,” ONLF, January 27, 2014. Available:
[9] “Al-Shabaab threatens to intensify attacks against Ethiopian troops,” Sabahi Online, January 27, 2014. Available:
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