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: AQAP threatens NDC members; Zawahri vows to free Guantanamo inmates; clashes in al Hasaba, Sana’a; gunmen free prisoner in Taiz; President Hadi meets with Chuck Hagel; President Hadi meets with Eric Holder; al Houthis set up checkpoints in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab leader releases audio message discussing internal rifts; Turkish ambassador says al Shabaab attack on Turkish buildings was contracted out; unknown gunmen kill security officer in Wardhigley district, Mogadishu; residents complain about lack of safety along Mogadishu-Baidoa highway; clan fighting erupts in Lambar, Lower Shabelle; al Shabaab demands money from residents in Elder and Elbur, Galgudud region; Somali military officials prepare to attack al Shabaab positions in Bay and Bakool regions; al Shabaab militants destroy civilian vehicle in Elbur, Galgudud; East African Nation leaders to meet in Nairobi, Kenya; two Kenyan hostages freed; Somali police capture murder suspect in Beledweyne, Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) threatened to kill members of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) in response to fatwas issued by Sheikh Abdul Majid al Zindani. AQAP’s online magazine Sada al Malahem called on citizens to provide the names and addresses of 37 NDC members accused of “secularism.” [1]
  • Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahri said on July 31 in a recording distributed online that al Qaeda would “spare no effort” to free Guantanamo Bay detainees.[2]
  • News Hour reported citizens hearing gunfire and a violent fight at the Fourth Brigade headquarters in al Hasaba, Sana’a on July 31.[3]
  • Fifteen gunmen on motorcycles attacked a police car transporting a prisoner from West Taiz to the central prison on July 31. The attackers escaped with the prisoner, Khaled Ghanem, whom police said was head of the gang.[4]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in Washington on July 30. Hagel reaffirmed U.S. support for the Yemeni military, including a military aid package of 100 vehicles, 12 planes, and communication systems.[5]
  • President Hadi met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on July 30 to discuss cooperation in combating terrorism and steps being taken to return Guantanamo detainees to Yemen.[6]
  • Al Houthi groups blocked traffic on Ring Road near the University of Sana’a and began carrying out security inspections last week. They also prevented Palestinian-owned cars from entering the Jerusalem Foundation, and besieged Palestinians in Tagheer Square.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair released an audio message on July 30 commenting on the internal rifts within al Shabaab. He denounced commanders causing dissent in the organization but did not specifically name any fighters. Zubair also reminded his followers that their fight is “borderless and not constrained to some geographical regions or any specific land.”[8]
  • Turkish Ambassador to Somalia Cemalettin Kani Torun said on July 31 that he believed the July 27 attack on Turkish diplomatic residences in Mogadishu may have been ordered by a source other than al Shabaab. Torun believes outside actors contracted al Shabaab to carry out the attack but did not say who those outside actors were.[9]
  • Unknown gunmen killed a national security and intelligence officer in Wardhigley district, Mogadishu on July 30. No group has claimed responsibility for the shooting.[10]
  • Residents called on the government to properly secure the Mogadishu-Baidoa roadway. Motorists said that criminals wearing Somali government uniforms are harassing people traveling along the road.[11]
  • Clan fighting broke out in Lambar, Lower Shabelle region on July 31, killing four and injuring three people. The fighting ended a recent government-brokered peace agreement.[12]
  • Al Shabaab militants demanded $1 from every resident in the Elbur and Elder districts in Galgudud region on July 31. Al Shabaab officials said the money was to be used for the ongoing war with the Somali government.[13]
  • Somali government military officials said that the army was preparing to advance on al Shabaab bases in Bakool and Bay regions in what they are calling the “final assault” on the terrorist organization.[14]
  • Al Shabaab militants destroyed the vehicle of a local whom they accused on being a qat smuggler in the Elbur district of Galgudud region on July 30.[15]
  • Leaders from East African nations are meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on July 31 to discuss regional security matters, including instability in Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. [16]
  • Two Kenyan government workers, kidnapped by al Shabaab in January 2012, were freed on July 29 after negotiations with the terrorist organization finally succeeded.[17]
  • Somali police captured a suspect in the July 20 killing of a court official in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on July 31.[18]

[1] “Al Qaeda Responds to al Zindani’s Fatwas and Demands the Addresses of Members of the State Building Team to Blow Them Up,” Adash, July 31, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Zawahri Vows to Free Guantanamo Inmates,” Reuters, July 31, 2013. Available:
[3] “Violent Clashes with Different Weapons in al Hasaba region, and the Flight of a Helicopter,” Hour News, July 31, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Taiz: Man Accused of Murder Freed in Armed Attack on Police Car During Transport to Prison, al Khabar Now, July 31, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Agency: Washington Supports Yemen with 12 Planes, 100 Military Vehicles, and Integrated Communications Systems,” Al Ganob Net, July 31, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “President of the Republic Examines with the American Attorney General the Steps to Return Guantanamo Detainees to Yemen,” 26 Sep, July 31, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Al Houthi Group Closes Street in Downtown Sana’a and Exercises Security Tasks and Besieges Palestinians,” Al Ahale Net, July 31, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Shabaab Leader Advises His Fighters, Says War is Borderless,” July 30, 2013. Available at SITE.
[9] “Al Shabaab May Be Just a ‘Tool’ In Somalia Bombing, Envoy Says,” July 31, 2013. Available:
[10] “NSA Officer Assassinated in Mogadishu,” Dalsan Radio, July 31, 2013. Available:
[11] “Motorists Complain About Deteriorating Situation in Mogadishu-Baidoa Highway,” Shabelle, July 31, 2013. Available:
[12] “Clan Militia’s Clash in the Lower Shabelle Region,” Shabelle, July 31, 2013. Available:
[13] “Al Shabaab Demands Money from Locals in Elbur Areas,” Bar Kulan, July 31, 2013. Available:
[14] “Somali Forces Set to Advance on al Shabab Strongholds,” Bar Kulan, July 31, 2013. Available:
[15] “Al Shabaab Burnt Down a Vehicle Belonging to Civilians in El Bur,” Bar Kulan, July 30, 2013. Available:
[16] “Presidents Jet in For Security Talks,” Daily Nation, July 30, 2013. Available:
[17] “Al Shabaab Militia Released Hale and Hearty,” Standard Media, July 30, 2013. Available:
[18] “Man Behind the Murder of Beledweyne Judge Arrested,” July 31, 2013. Available:
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