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: Tribal clash over oil fields on Ma’rib-Shabwah border; tribe blocks road in al Bayda; gunmen kidnap businessman’s son in Sana’a; police foil assassination attempt in Sana’a; al Houthis blockade Damaj, Sa’ada; gunmen kill one in Taiz; popular committee leader survives assassination in Jaar, Abyan; ambush kills two soldiers in Sirwah, Ma’rib; Yemeni defense minister meets American ambassador in Sana’a; al Houthi and salafist militants clash in Sana'a

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants claim to have injured two U.S. intelligence officials; Ugandan officials say Allied Democratic Forces received training in Somalia; al Shabaab launches grenade attack on hotel in Mogadishu; explosion kills three in Bakara Market, Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacks Somali military base in Aw Dheegle, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab infighting occurs in Beer Xaano, Hiraan region; tensions rise between al Shabaab factions in Sakow district, Middle Shabelle region; explosion targets AMISOM fuel truck in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab attacks Kenyan and Ras Kamboni troops at Kismayo airport, Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab attacks Kenyan troops in Qoqani, Lower Jubba region; explosion targets Somali military personnel in Janale, Lower Shabelle region; explosion kills Ras Kamboni soldier in Kismayo, Lower Jubba; Somali police conduct security operations in Hodan district, Mogadishu; Somali troops conduct security operations in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region; Ras Kamboni troops conduct security operations in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; riots occur in Qardho, Bari region, elections are postponed; leaked UN report says Kenyan troops flouted UN charcoal ban in Somalia; talks between Ras Kamboni and Somali government progressing in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Kenya to increase border security; three immigrants wanted in Belgium on terrorism charges given one year in jail in Kenya; UN ambassador meets with Puntland president in Garowe, Nugaal region; U.S. State Department updates travel warning for Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Belhareth and Al Bu Tuhayf tribes clashed over land believed to contain oil fields on the Ma’rib-Shabwah border on July 13. The fighting killed four and wounded six.[1]
  • Gunmen from the al Bannah tribe blocked off the main road from al Bayda to Sana’a for the tenth day in a row on July 15 in protest of the killing of three of their members by another tribe.[2]
  • Gunmen in two cars kidnapped the son of wealthy businessman Abdullah Ahmad Sanidar in Sana’a on July 14.[3]
  • Police in Sana’a foiled an assassination attempt on the head of the Southern Movement delegation to the National Dialogue Conference on July 15. A two kilogram explosive device in the leader’s car was uncovered during the investigation into the killing of Southern Movement leader Mohammed Fadhel Jabari on July 11. A preliminary investigation into Jabari’s death reportedly revealed on July 14 that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was behind the attack.[4]
  • Al Houthi gunmen expelled tribal mediators and established a blockade around Damaj, Sa’ada governorate on July 14.[5]
  • An attack by unknown gunmen in Taiz city killed one and wounded two on July 14.[6]
  • A leader in the popular committee of Jaar, Abyan governorate survived an assassination attempt on July 14. Two gunmen suspected of links to AQAP shot at him from a motorcycle.[7]
  • An ambush in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate killed two soldiers and wounded three from the 312th Brigade on July 13. The military responded by launching a military campaign in the governorate on July 14.[8]
  • Yemeni Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed met with American Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein in Sana’a on July 15.[9]
  • Clashes between al Houthi and salafist gunmen, possibly from AQAP, wounded three at a mosque in Sana’a on July 12. Special Forces and riot police arrived to stop the altercation.[10]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack on an AMISOM vehicle in Mogadishu on July 12. The group said that it injured two American intelligence officials in the attack, but those claims are unconfirmed.[11]
  • A recent attack by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in Kamangu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, shows a link between the group and al Shabaab. Uganda government officials believe the ADF is being trained by al Shabaab in Somalia, specifically on how to carry out IED attacks.[12]
  • Al Shabaab militants threw a grenade into a hotel in Mogadishu on June 12, killing two civilians and injuring ten others. [13]
  • An explosion, possibly from a grenade, killed three civilians and injured ten others in Bakara Market, Mogadishu on June 13. No group has claimed responsibility.[14]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali Army base in Aw Dheegle, Lower Shabelle region on July 12. Three al Shabaab fighters were killed and six others were injured. Two Somali soldiers were killed in the skirmish and three more were wounded. Somali troops were able to repulse the al Shabaab attack.[15]
  • Two al Shabaab factions fought each other in Beer Xaano, Hiraan region on July 11. Six militants were reportedly killed in the fighting.[16]
  • Tensions between two al Shabaab factions increased in Sakow district, Middle Shabelle region on July 14. Fighters loyal to Mukhtar Abu Zubair arrested fighters loyal to Mukhtar Robow and Fuad Mohamed Qalaf (Shongole).[17]
  • An explosion targeted an AMISOM fuel truck in Afgoi, Shabelle region on July 12. One AMISOM soldier was killed in the explosion. Al Shabaab is claiming responsibility for the attack.[18]
  • Al Shabaab militants fired heavy artillery at Kenyan and Ras Kamboni positions at the airport in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on July 13. Casualties from the incident are not known.[19]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Kenyan base in Qoqani, Lower Jubba region in July 13. Kenyan troops repulsed the attack but casualties are not known.[20]
  • An explosion targeted Somali troops collecting taxes in Janale, Lower Shabelle region on July 15. One soldier was reportedly killed in the blast.[21]
  • A soldier loyal to Ahmed Madobe was killed by a roadside bomb in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on July 14. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[22]
  • Ahmed Madobe’s forces conducted security operations in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on July 13. Several people were arrested but an exact number is not known.[23]
  • Ahmed Madobe’s deputy, General Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail, said that talks with the Somali government were progressing and was optimistic that the Jubbaland governance question can be resolved.[24]
  • Somali police officers conducted security operations in Hodan district, Mogadishu on July 12. Five hundred people were arrested and grenades were seized.[25]
  • Somali troops conducted security operations in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on July 15. Thirty people were arrested and are being investigated.[26]
  • Rioting occurred in Qardho, Bari region when Puntland officials were preparing local council election centers on July 14. Four people were killed in the clashes. Puntland president Abdirahman Farole announced on July 14 that the elections would be postponed due to security concerns.[27]
  •  A leaked UN report stated that Kenyan troops flouted the UN charcoal ban in Somalia and facilitated its trade in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region. Kenyan officials strongly denied these claims.[28]
  • Kenyan officials said that they are increasing border security with Somalia and Ethiopia because of increased trafficking of arms and men across the border.[29]
  • Three illegal immigrants who crossed into Kenyan from Somalia were sentenced to one year in jail on July 12 in a Kenyan court. The three men are wanted on terrorism charges in Belgium and will be extradited to face charges there.[30]
  • UN Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay met with Puntland President Abdirahman Farole in Garowe, Nugaal region in July 13.[31]
  • The United States Department of State updated its travel warning for Kenya in July 5, 2013 due to high levels of terrorism and crime.[32]

[1] “Dispute Over Contested Land Flares Anew in Marib and Shabwah,” Yemen Times, July 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Ten Among the Killed and Wounded in Renewal of Tribal Conflict between ‘Belhareth’ and ‘Al Bu Tuhayf,’ in Shabwah,” al Masdar Online, July 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Gunmen Cut Off the Main Road That Connects al Bayda and Sana’a Because of the Killing of Three of their Relatives,” al Bida Web, July 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Kidnapping of Son of Wealthy Yemeni Businessman Abdullah Ahmad Sanidar,” Hour News, July 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Head of the Southern Movement in the NDC, Muhammad Ali Ahmed, Survives Assassination Attempt,” al Bald News, July 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Aal Qaeda Involvement in Assassination of Yemeni Official in Sana’a,” Masa Press, July 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “al Al Houthis Expel “al Ahmar” Mediators and Impose Blockade on Dimaj in Sa’ada,” Mareb Press, July 14, 2013. Available:
[6] “Security Disruptions Continue,” Mareb Press, July 14, 2013. Available:
[7] “Leader of Popular Committee in Jaar Survives Assassination Attempt,” Mareb Press, July 15, 2013. Available:
[8] “One Killed and Five Soldiers Wounded in Sirwah,” Mareb Press, July 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemeni Army Launches Military Campaign Against Saboteurs in Ma’rib,” Sahafah, July 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Defense Minister meets with American Ambassador and Turkish Deputy Ambassador,” Saba, July 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] “Clashes Between Houthis and Salafists in a Dispute over the Tarawih in One of the Mosques in Sana’a,” al Masdar Online, July 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[11] “Shabaab Claims Suicide Attack Allegedly Killing Two US Intel Officials,” SITE Intel Group, July 12, 2013. Available at SITE.
“Al Shabaab Claims US Officials Injured in Attack,” Sabahi Online, July 14, 2013. Available:
[12] “Uganda Army Says Fears Rebels Influx After Easter Congo Attack,” Reuters, July 12, 2013. Available:
[13] “Witnesses Say 2 Killed in Somali Capital Grenade Attack,” July 12, 2013. Available at AFP.
[14] “Grenade Attack in Somali Capital Kills Three,” Dhacdo Online, July 13, 2013. Available:
“Somalia: Bomb Kills 3 Civilians in Mogadishu,” Markacadey, July 13, 2013. Available:
[15] “Somalia: At Least 5 Killed as Troops Clash with Militants,” Hiraan Online, July 12, 2013. Available:
[16] “Somalia: Six Dead as Rival Militants Clash in Hiiraan Region,” Keymedia, July 12, 2013. Available:
“Two Militia Groups Affiliated with al Shabaab Clash,” Mogadishu Radio, July 12, 2013. Available:
[17] “Tension Mounts between Two al Shabaab Groups in Sakow,” Bar Kulan, July 15, 2013. Available:
[18] “Somalia: Militants Target Fuel Truck Outside Mogadishu,” Somali Memo, July 12, 2013. Available:
[19] “Somalia’s al Shabaab Launches Attack on Kismayo Airport,” Markacadey, July 14, 2013. Available:
[20] “Kenyan Troops Repulse al Shabaab Attack in Southern Somalia,” Markacadey, July 14, 2013. Available:
[21] “Explosion Targets Government Troops in Janale District,” Radio Mustaqbal, July 15, 2013. Available:
[22] “Jubbaland Soldier Killed in Kismayo Explosion,” Bar Kulan, July 14, 2013. Available:
[23] “Jubbaland Forces Carry Out Security Operation in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, July 13, 2013. Available:
[24] “General Fartaag: Talks between Us and the Government is Going as Planned,” Shabelle, July 13, 2013. Available:
[25] “Somali Police Conduct Security Operation in Mogadishu, Arrest 500 People,” Midnimo, July 12, 2013. Available:
[26] “Jowhar Operation Nets 30 People,” Radio Dalsan, July 15, 2013. Available:
[27] “4 Killed, Many Others Wounded in Qardho Riots,” July 14, 2013. Available:
“Somalia’s Puntland Suspends Polls, Warning of Violence,” AFP, July 15, 2013. Available:
[28] “Exclusive- Kenyan Peacekeepers Aided Illegal Somalia Charcoal Export- U.N.,” Reuters, July 14, 2013. Available:
“Military Dismisses UN Teams Report,” Daily Nation, July 14, 2013. Available:
[29] “Kenya to Strengthen Border Security Amid Crossover Attacks,” Bar Kulan, July 14, 2013. Available:
[30] “Kenya Jails Three Foreign Terror Suspects for a Year,” AFP, July 13, 2013. Available:
[31] “UN Envoy for Somalia Visits Puntland,” UNSOM, July 13, 2013. Available:
[32] “Travel Warning: Kenya,” U.S. Department of State, July 5, 2013. Available:
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