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 rebels continue to battle tribesmen in Amran; fighting kills four people in al Dhaleh; Yemeni security forces disable IED in Aden

Horn of Africa: American and Somali officials confirm January 26 airstrike targeted al Shabaab leader; Hizb al Islam spokesman confirms Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys now under house arrest; al Shabaab officer defects near Baidoa in Bay region; residents of Kismayo protest AMISOM transfer of command

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi militants continued to battle tribesmen north of the capital Sana’a in Amran and Sana’a governorates on January 29. The fighting, now in its third day, has killed 38 people.[1]
  • Yemeni army soldiers and Southern Movement militants clashed in al Dhaleh after the militants ambushed an army vehicle on January 30. The gunfight killed four people, including two soldiers, and injured at least seven others.[2]
  • Yemeni security forces found and cleared an improvised explosive device (IED) in Sheikh Othman district, Aden governorate on January 29. The IED targeted electricity generators.[3

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • American and Somali officials have confirmed that the January 26 airstrike near Barawe in Lower Shabelle region targeted al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane. Intelligence indicated Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair, met with Ahmed Abdulkadir, known as Sahal Iskudhuq, shortly before the airstrike killed Iskudhuq and a driver. It remains unclear whether Godane was injured in the strike.[4] 
  • Prominent Somali jihadist ideologue Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys was released from Habar Khadija, the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Mogadishu. Hizb al Islam spokesman Mohamed Sheikh Osman Arus, confirmed Aweys was transferred from CID to be held under house arrest in Mogadishu.[5]
  • An al Shabaab officer, Haasan Gadudow Ali, surrendered to government forces near Baidoa in Bay region on January 29. Ali, who managed al Shabaab’s finances in the Baidoa area, cited internal discord and poor living standards as the primary motives for his defection.[6]
  • Residents of Kismayo in Lower Jubba region demonstrated in support of Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) presence in the city on January 29. The Federal Government of Somalia has attempted to cycle KDF forces out of Kismayo due to suspicion the Kenyans were supporting the Jubbaland administration. AMISOM leadership in the region is slated to transfer from the Kenyan contingent to the Sierra Leone contingent at the end of February. [7]


[1] “38 dead as al Houthis push towards Yemen capital,” AFP, January 30, 2014. Available:
[2] “Army-Separatist Clash Kills Four in South Yemen,” AFP, January 30, 2014. Available:
[3] “Five minutes before exploding, IED targeting electricity generators in Aden stopped,” Akbaralyom, January 30, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “US Drone Strike Nearly Hits al-Shabaab Leader,” Shabelle News, January 30, 2014. Available:
Barbara Starr, “Military strike in Somalia targeted ala-Shabaab leader, U.S. officials say,” CNN, January 28, 2014. Available:
[5] “Somalia’s Islamist leader released from CID custody but still under house arrest,” Shabelle News, January 29, 2014. Available:
[6] “Former Al Shabaab officer turns himself in to the police in Baidoa,” Bar Kulan, January 30, 2014. Available:
[7] “Somalis protest removal of KDF forces from Kismayu,” The Star, January 30, 2014. Available:


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