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: Death of Said al Shihri in air strike confirmed by AQAP; report of planned attack in Sana’a; IED targets military vehicle in Hadramawt; 27th Mechanized Brigade protests in Hadramawt; tribal vendetta kills two in al Bayda; roadblock established in protest against oil spill in al Mukalla, Hadramawt

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab launches mortars at Kenyan bases at the Kismayo airport, Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab militants attack Somali base outside Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab troops amass outside Baidoa, Bay region; unknown attackers launch mortars at a hospital in Mogadishu; UN report accuses Swedish and Norwegian oil companies of creating instability in Somalia; UN report accuses Eritrea of negative interference in Somalia’s new government; al Shabaab’s Amniyad branch is protecting Mukhtar Abu Zubair

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) second-in-command Said al Shihri was killed in a drone strike according to a eulogy video filmed in the past week and released on jihadist forums on July 16. AQAP shari’a official Ibrahim al Rubaish delivered the eulogy. The video did not mention the date or location of the strike.[1]
  • A security official reported to Yemen al Yom on July 17 that the Islah Party and AQAP planned to attack a mosque near the American embassy in Sana’a.[2]
  • An improvised explosive device exploded near a military vehicle in al Shuhair, Hadramawt governorate on July 16. The vehicle was not damaged. Security forces are investigating the incident.[3]
  • Soldiers of the 27th Mechanized Brigade in Hadramawt clashed with guards during protests against the brigade commander on July 16. They accused brigade leadership of abusing them and of favoring members of the Islah party.[4]
  • Unidentified gunmen from al Hayash tribe killed two men from al Amr tribe in Dhi Na’im, al Bayda governorate as part of a tribal vendetta on July 17.[5]
  • Demonstrators in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate cut off the road to the city in protest of a fuel spill off the coast of Hadramawt on July 17.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab launched mortars at the Kenyan base at Kismayo airport, Lower Jubba region on July 16. Three Kenyan soldiers were killed in the attack. Kenyan troops conducted searches following the bombing but were unable to arrest any militants.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali base outside Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region on July 16. Two Somali soldiers were killed and two civilians were injured in the fighting.[8]
  • A single source is reporting that al Shabaab troops gathered in a town outside Baidoa, Bay region on July 16. Ethiopian troops recently pulled out of the city but a combination of AMISOM and Somali troops are still stationed inside Baidoa.[9]
  • Unknown attackers launched mortars at a hospital in Mogadishu on July 16. The hospital was undergoing construction, and as a result no one was hurt in the attack.[10]
  • In a leaked UN report, UN monitors accused Norwegian and Swedish oil companies of vying for the same blocks of land and creating instability between Somaliland and Puntland. The report also details how oil exploration is adding tension to Somalia-Kenya maritime border concerns.[11]
  • UN monitors accused Eritrea of ties to a prominent, al Shabaab-linked, Islamist warlord in Somalia who also had considerable influence in the new government. The report says the man with high-level access to the Somali government goes by the name of Abdi Nur Siad “Abdi Wal.”[12]
  • Al Shabaab’s intelligence division, called the Amniyad branch, is reportedly providing protection to al Shabaab’s emir, Mukhtar Abu Zubair. The Amniyat branch is the most loyal and most elite of al Shabaab’s forces.[13]     

[1] “Arabian al Qaeda’s Number Two Confirmed Dead- AQAP,” Reuters, July 17, 2013. Available:
Ahmed al-Haj, “Confirmed: US drone strike killed key al-Qa'ida leader Saeed al-Shihri in Yemen,” The Independent, July 17, 2013. Available:
“AQAP Announces Death of Deputy Leader Abu Sufyan al-Azdi,” SITE Intelligence Group, July 16, 2013. Available at SITE.
[2] “Al Qaeda Targets Mosque Near the American Embassy in Sana’a,” Barakish, July 16, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Military Pickup Targeted With IED in Shuhair, Hadramawt,” Wefaq Press, July17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Fall of the 27th Mechanized Brigade at the Hands of Protesting Soldiers and the Expulsion of the Commander and Military Staff,” Yemen Live, July 16, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Tribal Vendetta Kills Two in al Bayda Governorate,” Yemen Saeed, July 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “In the First Reaction to the Environmental Disaster, Sons of al Mukalla Cut Off Road Protesting Against the Increased Diesel Leak,” Hona Hadramawt, July 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Kismayo Airport Came Under Attack,” Radio Dalsan, July 17, 2013. Available:
[8] “Somali Soldiers Killed During Battle with Islamists in South,” Radio Mogadishu, July 16, 2013. Available at Radio Mogadishu.
[9] “Somalia: Militant Fighters Mass Near South Central Town after Ethiopia Pullout,” Dhacdo, July 13, 2013. Available:
[10] “Somalia: Mortar Shells Hit Mogadishu’s Digfer Hospital, Third Mortar Attack in 3 Months,” Garowe, July 17, 2013. Available:
[11] “Exclusive: Western Oil Exploration in Somalia May Spark Conflict- U.N. Report,” Reuters, July 17, 2013. Available:
[12] “Exclusive: Eritrea Pay Warlord to Influence Somalia- U.N. Experts,” Retuers, July 17, 2013. Available:
[13] “Al Shabaab Amniyat Branch Tasked with Protecting Godane,” Sabahi Online, July 16, 2013. Available:
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