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: New commander for 35th Armored Brigade appointed in Taiz; new security plan for Ramadan announced; al Houthis clash with the people of Damaj, Sa’ada governorate; al Qaeda kills folk-medicine man in Rada’a, al Bayda; Omani police intercept weapons shipment to Yemen; militants detain soldiers and trucks in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate

Horn of Africa: Two al Shabaab factions fight in Bardhere, Gedo region; al Shabaab militants shoot and kill businesswoman in Heliwa district, Mogadishu; Ethiopian troops pull out of bases in Bay region; AMISOM officials announce police officers will be sent to Baidoa, Bay region and Beledweyne, Hiraan region; Somali soldiers graduate from training in Mogadishu; UNHCR high commissioner proposes repatriation plan for Somali refugees

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Ministry of Defense dismissed Brigadier General Alawi Abad al Midma, commander of the 35th Armored Brigade in Taiz governorate on July 10. Brigadier General Yusef Ali al Siraji was promoted to command the 35th Armored Brigade.[1]
  • The Ministry of the Interior announced on July 10 a new security plan for Ramadan to prevent attacks like the September 17, 2008 suicide bomb that targeted the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a. The plan includes increasing the state of alert, placing more units around vital facilities and embassies, banning the carrying of weapons in cities, and stopping suspicious vehicles.[2]
  • Al Houthi militias clashed with tribal members in Damaj, Sa’ada governorate on July 10. The al Houthis seized the Khalid bin Walid School and detonated a land mine that injured one man.[3]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) gunmen killed a man practicing folk medicine in Rada’a, al Bayda governorate. They reportedly also killed a woman whom they accused of practicing witchcraft in April 2013. Her family said that she practiced folk medicine.[4]
  • The police chief in al Batinah North governorate in Oman announced the arrest of nine Omanis attempting to smuggle weapons into Yemen on July 8. The shipment included 30,339 pistols. [5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Two al Shabaab factions battled in Bardhere, Gedo region on July 9 in what  was reportedly an extension of recent leadership conflict. Six militants were killed.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants shot and killed a Somali businesswoman in the Heliwa district of Mogadishu on July 9. Somali troops searched the area following the shooting but no suspect was caught.[8]
  • Ethiopian troops reportedly pulled out of bases in Baidoa, Bardale and Qansax Dhere, Bay region on July 10. Somali and AMISOM troops have taken over the vacated Ethiopian posts. Neither the Somali nor Ethiopian government has commented on the troop withdrawals.[9]
  • AMISOM officials announced that AMISOM police officers will be deployed to Baidoa, Bay region and Beledweyne, Hiraan region. A timetable for the deployment was not given.[10]
  • Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi announced that a new group of soldiers graduated from the Jazeera training camp in Mogadishu on July 11.[11]
  • The commissioner for the United Nations High Council on Refugees met with the Kenyan interior minister on July 10 and proposed a repatriation plan that would move 60,000 Somali refugees out of Dadaab refugee camp over an unspecified amount of time.[12]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with a European Union delegation in Mogadishu to discuss the upcoming Somali conference to be held in Brussels in September.[13]   

[1] “Dismissal of Head of 35th Armored Brigade For Unclear Reasons,” Barakish, July 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “The Interior Ministry Implements Strict Security Plan to Secure Facilities and Embassies During Ramadan,” Mareb Press, July 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Renewed Clashes Between al Houthis and People of Damaj in Sa’ada and Beginning of a New War,” Huna Aden, July 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Al Qaeda Kills Second Doctor Working in Folk Medicine in Yemen,” al Khabar Now, July 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Nine People Detained in Oman Accused of Smuggling Weapons Shipment Destined for Yemen with Forged Documents,” al Ain Online, July 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available
[6] “Tribal Militants Capture 3 Soldiers and Tens of Trucks Carrying Fuel in Sirwah,” Mareb Press, July 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Six Fighters Killed in al Shabaab Infighting,” Nairobi Warqaad, July 9, 2013. Available:
[8] “Gunmen Said Kill Somali Business Woman in Capital,” Radio Dalsan, July 9, 2013. Available at Radio Dalsan.
[9] “Somalia: Ethiopia Troops to Withdraw from Bay Region,” Garowe, July 10, 2013. Available:
[10] “AMISOM Police to be Deployed to Baidoa and Beledweyne Cities,” Shabelle, July 10, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somali Defense Ministry Set to Equip Newly Trained Soldiers,” Bar Kulan, July 11, 2013. Available:
[12] “‘Moment of Hope’ as U.N. to Help 60,000 Somali Refugees Go Home,” Reuters, July 10, 2013. Available:
[13] “Somali President Received EU Delegation in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan. July 11, 2013. Available:
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