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: VBIED detonates at checkpoint in Abyan; airstrike kills suspected AQAP leader and other militants in Shabwah; IED detonates in Mahfad; al Houthis clash with the Yemeni military in Amran and tribal militias in Sana’a and kidnap 12 in Amran; Yemeni troops surround al Saleh mosque in Sana’a; al Jada’an tribal militia clashes with the Yemeni army in Ma’rib; IED and car bomb detonate in Abyan; gunmen assassinate Yemeni military officer in Hadramawt; gunman opens fire on bus in Aden

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants conduct complex attack on town in Kenya’s Coast Province; al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM and SNA forces in Bakool, Bay, and Hiraan regions; EU, UK, and U.S. issue joint statement in attempt to de-escalate tensions between Puntland and Somaliland; unidentified assailants target government security forces in Mogadishu and Mudug region

Yemen Security Brief

  • A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated at a military checkpoint in al Mahfad, Abyan on June 14, killing three Yemeni soldiers in the 135th Infantry Brigade and wounding six others. A group of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants raided the checkpoint following the VBIED explosion. The Yemeni military and a local militia repelled the attack.[1]
  • An airstrike killed a suspected AQAP leader Musaad al Habashi and at least three militants in Mafraq al Saeed, Shabwah on June 13. Yemeni troops raided a nearby militant arms warehouse following the airstrike.[2]
  • Suspected AQAP militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) near a Yemeni military patrol in a market in Mahfad, Abyan on June 15, killing one Political Security Organization officer and wounding two others.[3]
  • Al Houthi militants clashed with the Yemeni military in Mount Dayn, Amran on June 14, ending a ceasefire. Local officials reported 29 people killed including three soldiers. Separately, al Houthi militants clashed with tribal militias in the village of al Jaif in Hamdan, Sana’a on June 14. Al Houthi militants kidnapped 12 people, including 6 military personnel, in Amran.[4]
  • Yemeni troops surrounded the al Saleh mosque in Sana’a on June 14. A local source reported that gunmen loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh guarded weapons in the mosque. The source added that Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi suspects Saleh is “plotting a coup,” noting the discovery of a tunnel connecting the al Saleh mosque to the presidential palace.[5]
  • An al Jada’an tribal militia clashed with the Yemeni military at a checkpoint along the road to Sana’a in al Jada’an, Ma’rib on June 15, killing two soldiers and wounding two tribesmen and five others. Separately, al Jada’an tribesmen clashed with the Yemeni military in a market in Ma’rib on June 15, killing one soldier and wounding four soldiers and four tribesmen.[6]
  • A water cart hit a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) in al Majalah, Abyan on June 14, killing two Yemeni soldiers. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Separately, the head of the Yemeni 115th Infantry Brigade, Amin Shimbaa, survived a car bomb that exploded upon ignition in Lawdar, Abyan on June 14.[7]
  • Two unidentified gunmen assassinated the leader of a landmine disposal team, Brig. Gen. Ali Hassan Saif, in al Mukalla, Hadramawt on June 14. Gunmen opened fire on Saif’s vehicle while he was driving in Bardam neighborhood. Separately, an unidentified gunman opened fire on a bus in Sayla, Aden on June 14, killing seven Yemeni army medics and one civilian and wounding 11 others.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Approximately fifty suspected al Shabaab militants conducted a complex attack on Mpeketoni near Lamu in Kenya’s Coast Province over the night of June 15 and 16. The assailants, equipped with firearms and explosives, assaulted the Mpeketoni police station, raided at least three banks, and set fire to several other buildings, including government offices, in the town. The assailants also fired indiscriminately upon civilians, killing at least 48 people, during the attack.[9]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) forces near Bulo-Burde in Hiraan region on June 15. The attack occurred while the recently elected president of the three-state southwestern regional administration, known as the Westland state, was traveling in the area. A Westland state spokesman reported that the AMISOM and SNA forces killed seven al Shabaab militants during the fighting. Separately, Al Shabaab militants attacked AMISOM and SNA forces near Kartun in Bakool region and near Baidoa in Bay region on June 14, though the extent of the casualties suffered during the fighting remains unclear.[10]
  • The European Union Special Envoy to Somalia, UK Ambassador to Somalia, and U.S. Representative for Somalia issued a joint statement on June 14 appealing to Puntland and Somaliland to withdrawal forces from disputed territory in Sanag and Sool region. The statement, which called for internationally mediated dialogue as an alternative to armed conflict, came after Puntland leadership reacted strongly to Somaliland forces seizing strategic towns in the disputed territory on June 11 and 12.[11]
  • Unidentified assailants ambushed Puntland security forces in Galkayo, Mudug region on June 14. The assailants threw unspecified explosives, likely grenades, at the security forces’ vehicle, injuring at least two. Separately, unidentified gunmen killed two Somali police officers, confiscating their assault rifles, in the Hodan district of Mogadishu on June 15.[12]

[1] “In the first martyrdom operation after the announcement of al Qaeda’s appearance in al Mahfad.. Abyan.. 3 soldiers martyred and several others wounded in suicide attack in al Mahfad,” Akhbar al Yom, June 14, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemeni attack kills four suspected al-Qaeda militants: state news agency,” Reuters, June 13, 2014. Available:
“4 suspected al-Qaida militants killed in Yemen,” The Washington Post, June 13, 2014. Available:
[3] “Political Security officer is included among the 3 killed and wounded in IED explosion in Mahfad,” Barakish Net, June 15, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Al Houthis violate the truce in Amran by attacking military sites in Mount Dayn and clashes with the tribes in Hamdan,” al Masdar Online, June 14, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Military repels al Houthi attacks on military sites in Amran and 12 people kidnapped, including one officer and 5 soldiers,” Al Masdar Online, June 16, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Yemen troops encircle ex-president mosque amid coup fears,” The Daily Star, June 15, 2014. Available:
[6] "Two soldiers killed and others wounded along the road to Sana’a in Ma’rib,” Barakish Net, June 15, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
Abdullah Qadri, “9 killed and wounded in clashes between the Yemeni army and tribal gunmen in Ma’rib (Correction),” al Masdar Online, June 15, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “At least two soldiers killed when explosive-laden water cart detonates in Abyan,”
al Masdar Online, June 14, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Abyan.. Head of the Yemeni 115th Infantry Brigade survives assassination attempt and committee efforts toward improving Lawdar tribal reconciliation crumble,” Akhbar al Yom, June 15, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Hadramawt..Gunmen on motorcycles assassinate the leader of a landmine disposal team,” al Masdar Online, June 14, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Gunmen kill seven army medics in south Yemen,” Reuters, June 15, 2014. Available:
[9] “At least 48 killed in attack on coastal Kenya town,” Al Jazeera, June 16, 2014. Available:
“Kenya attack: gunmen kill at least 48 people,” The Guardian, June 16, 2014. Available:
“Unidentified gunmen hit hotels, petrol, police station at Kenya’s coast: police,” Reuters, June 15, 2014. Available:
[10] "Over five people died in fight between Al-shabab and government forces in Hiran region,” Goobjoog News, June 15, 2014. Available:
“Govt troops battle Shabaab on Baidoa outskirts,” Shabelle News, June 14, 2014. Available:
“Alshabaab and AMISOM Fight at Goof Gaduud, Bay region,” Dalsan Radio, June 14, 2014. Available:
[11] “Joint Press Statement: Appeal for All Armed Forces to Withdraw from the Disputed Areas within Sool and Sanaag regions,” United States Virtual Presence Post: Somalia, June 14, 2014. Available:
“SOMALIA: Puntland President declares war on Somaliland after seizure of Taleh,” RBC Radio, June 14, 2014. Available:
[12] “Bomb blast in Galkayo wounds Puntland soldiers,” Shabelle News, June 14, 2014. Available:
“Police officers gunned down in Mogadishu’s Hodan district,” Shabelle News, June 16, 2014. Available:
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