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 attack checkpoint near Ataq, Shabwah; internal clashes divide the Southern Movement; Southern Movement leaders survive assassination attempt in al Dhaleh; gunman kills two in Sana’a; gunman assassinates comedian in Sana’a; al Houthi march in the capital Sana’a; UN issues travel advisory; grand jury indicts Florida man for conspiring to aid AQAP; MSC offers condolences for al Shihri’s death

Horn of Africa: Somali government soldiers clash with security guards in Baidoa, Bay region; grenade attack targets Somali troops in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; unknown gunmen attack civilian convoy near Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region; two kidnapped Spanish aid workers are freed; airfield to be built in Elwaq, Gedo region; UN delegation travels to Kismayo, Lower Jubba region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked a military checkpoint east of Ataq, Shabwah governorate on July 19. They also shot at the Shabwah Axis commander’s house. Neither attack caused any injuries.[1]
  • Armed clashes broke out between supporters of Southern Movement leader Saleh al Shanfara and supporters of Shalal al Shaya in al Dhaleh city on July 18. Al Shanfara is aligned with Hassan Baoum, while al Shaya is aligned with former vice president Ali Salim al Beidh.[2]
  • Southern Movement leaders Saleh al Shanfara and Khalid Masa’ad survived an assassination attempt in al Husayn, al Dhaleh on July 19. They were travelling in a Southern Movement-controlled zone when unknown gunmen shot at their car.[3]
  • A gunman who eyewitness say was wearing a special forces uniform killed two people and wounded four in Tagheer Square, Sana’a on July 19.[4]
  • Unknown gunmen killed comedian Sam Ma’almi in Sana’a on July 19.[5]
  • Al Houthi supporters staged a protest in four neighborhoods of Sana’a city on July 19, calling for the fall of the unity government and reform of the security services.[6]
  • The UN issued a warning on July 19 to all employees advising them against traveling within Sana’a and other cities due to the risk of kidnapping.[7]
  • A grand jury charged Shelton Thomas Bell, of Jacksonville, Florida, on July 18 with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. According to the indictment, Bell had engaged in training and planned to travel to Yemen to join Ansar al Sharia, the insurgent arm of AQAP.[8]
  • The Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) of Jerusalem posted a statement to a jihadist forum lamenting the loss of AQAP deputy leader Said al Shihri on July 17.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali government soldiers fought against security guards working for the deputy mayor in Baidoa, Bay region on July 17. The clash began with an argument over a construction project in the city. Three people, including the deputy mayor, were injured in the fighting.[10]
  • A grenade attack targeted Somali government troops in a restaurant in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on July 17. One soldier was killed and two others were injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[11]
  • Unknown gunmen attacked a civilian convoy near Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on July 18. One passenger was killed and two others were wounded during the shooting.[12]
  • Two Spanish aid workers, who were kidnapped in Kenya and held in Somalia for almost two years, were freed on July 18. It is believe that the two were held by al Shabaab, though the circumstances surrounding their release are not known.[13]
  • Somali government officials announced plans to build an airport in Elwaq, Gedo region, in order to allow food aid and development programs better access to the region.[14]
  • A UN delegation, led by Philippe Lazzarini, traveled to Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on July 18 to assess the city’s humanitarian situation.[15]          

[1] “Gunmen Attack Military Checkpoint East of Ataq,” Barakish, July 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Clashes Between Gunmen of al Shanfara and al Shaya in al Dhaleh Spoil Ramadan Evening for the Southern Movement,” Barakish, July 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Breaking: al Hirak Returns to Internal Struggles Eating Each Other, and Shanfara and Khalid Masad Survive Assassination Attempt,” Huna Aden, July 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Sana’a: Two Killed and More Than Four Wounded in Tagheer Square,” Adsah, July 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Yemen Comedian Killed at Dawn Today at the Hands of Gunmen,” Samaa News, July 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Protest in Sana’a Calls for the Fall of the Unity Government,” al Watanye, July 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “United Nations Warns Employees in Yemen and Says They are Exposed to Kidnapping,” Barakish, July 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Florida Man Indicted for Conspiring and Attempting to Provide Material Support to Terrorists,” FBI, July 18, 2013. Available:
[9] “MSC in Jerusalem Offers Condolences for AQAP Deputy Leader’s Death,” SITE, July 18, 2013. Available at SITE.
[10] “Somalia: Several Casualties Reported in Baidoa Clash,” Garowe Online, July 18, 2013. Available:
[11] “Grenade Attack Injuries a Government Soldier in Beledweyne,” Bar Kulan, July 18, 2013. Available:
[12] “Armed Militias Kill Civilians near Jowhar Town,” Dalsan Radio, July 19, 2013. Available:
[13] “Spanish Aid Workers Kidnapped in Kenya Freed,” Daily Nation, July 18, 2013. Available:
“Spanish Hostages Frees From Somalia,” BBC, July 18, 2013. Available:
[14] “Elwaq Airfield to Open Up Access to Remote District,” Radio Ergo, July 19, 2013. Available:
[15] “UN Delegation Visits Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, July 18, 2013. Available:
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