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: Militants kidnap officer in Ma’rib; popular committee in Lawder, Abyan governorate offers reward for al Qaeda leader; al Houthis seize food shipment in Sa’ada; al Houthis raid security building in Sa’ada

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab vows to conduct major attacks during Ramadan; senior government intelligence officials killed in Mogadishu; Somali and al Shabaab troops clash in Awdinle, Bay region; Somali and Somaliland governments make airspace agreement during meetings in Istanbul, Turkey; Sierra Leone’s AMISOM commander recalled; UN high commissioner for refugees visits Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Tribal militants in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate kidnapped an officer and two soldiers on July 10.[1]
  • The popular committee of Lawder, Abyan governorate offered one million Riyals ($5,000) for any information on the whereabouts of Adib al Nakha’i on July 10. Popular Committee representatives said that al Nakha’i is an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader in Lawder, Abyan and is wanted in connection to the USS Cole bombing.[2]
  • Al Houthis detained a food shipment coming from Saudi Arabia in Baqim, Sa’ada governorate on July 9. The truck was destined for Salafists in Damaj district.[3]
  • Al Houthi gunmen kidnapped a man in Haydan, Sa’ada governorate on July 9. Another armed al Houthi group broke into the Directorate of Security in Saqayn district and stole a pickup-mounted machine gun on July 9.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Speaking to an Islamist news outlet, al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdi Aziz Abu Mus’ab said that the group plans to carry out unprecedented attacks during Ramadan. Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a officials warned that they believe al Shabaab is in the final stages of carrying out terrorist attacks in central Somalia.[5]
  • A single source is reporting a Somali government intelligence official was shot and killed in Mogadishu on July 7. The same source is reporting another intelligence official was also killed in the Yaqshid district of Mogadishu on July 8. No group has claimed responsibility for these attacks.[6]
  • Somali troops and al Shabaab militants clashed in Awdinle, Bay region on July 5. The skirmish began when Somali troops conducted security operations in the town. Three fighters were killed and an al Shabaab weapons cache was seized by Somali troops. [7]
  • The Somali and Somaliland governments agreed on July 10 to form a joint committee to handle money acquired from the federal government’s managing of Somali airspace. The committee will be run out of Hargeisa, Wooqooyi Galbeed region.[8]
  • Sierra Leone’s AMISOM commander Mamadi Mohamed Keita was recalled from his office on July 10 to work in the Ministry of Defense in Sierra Leone. No replacement was named.[9]
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres gave a speech in Mogadishu on July 10 promising to reintegrate Somali refugees returning home into society.[10]     

[1] “Gunmen Kidnap Officer and Two Soldiers in Ma’rib,” Barakish, July 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Monetary Reward for Whoever Has Information on the Leader of al Qaeda in Abyan,” Khabar Now, July 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Source for al Khabar: al Houthi Group Detains Food Shipment Coming From Saudi Arabia to the Salafists,” al Khabar Now, July 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Sa’ada… al Houthi Gunmen Preempt Ramadan by Kidnapping Opponents and Closing Mosques to Prevent Prayers,” Mareb Press, July 9, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Somali Militants Threaten Never-Seen Attacks During Ramadan,” Dhacdo, July 9, 2013. Available:
“Ahlu Sunna Claims al Shabaab Plotting ‘Major’ Terror Attack,” Bar Kulan, July 10, 2013. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Gunmen Kill Intelligence Official in Mogadishu,” Somali Memo, July 8, 2013. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Government Forces, al Shabaab Clash in Awdiinle,” Warsheekh, July 5, 2013. Available:
[8] “Somalia-Somaliland Talks Conclude in Turkey,” Shabelle, July 10, 2013. Available:
[9] “Sierra Leone Contingent Commander Withdrawn,” Shabelle, July 10, 2013. Available:
[10] “In Somalia, UN Official Spotlights Plights of Refugees Returning to Their Homeland,” UN, July 9, 2013. Available:
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