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: Popular committees cut off Abyan-Aden road; tribesmen seize trains in Ma’rib; tribesmen cut off Ma’rib-Safer road; police arrest man with weapons in Dhamar; attackers attempt to assassinate doctor in Taiz; General Obeid announces withdrawal of military forces from cities; gunmen ambush patrol in al Mukalla, Hadramawt; FBI reveals involvement of Yemeni national in terror plot

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants clash in Barawe, Lower Shabelle region; unknown gunmen kill Kenyan police officer in Wajir, Kenya; al Shabaab threatens continued attacks in Somalia; national and international representatives condemn June 19 attack on UN compound in Mogadishu; Somali interior minister asks for Jubbaland elders to participate in Mogadishu conference

Yemen Security Brief

  • Gunmen linked to the popular committees in Abyan governorate cut off the main road between Aden and Abyan on June 20. They demanded the release of members arrested in Lahij who they said were wrongly accused of belonging to al Qaeda.[1]
  • Tribesmen demanding jobs seized 800 trains carrying gas and oil products in districts across Ma’rib governorate on June 19. The Yemeni army engaged the tribesmen with heavy weapons to try and free the trains.[2]
  • Tribesmen in Ma’rib cut off the Ma’rib-Safer road on June 19. Clashes with the 13th brigade left several wounded and tribal mediation could not stop the conflict.[3]
  • Police in Dhamar governorate arrested a man from Shabwah governorate who was in possession of several pistols and suspicious documents including passports and military IDs.[4]
  • Unknown attackers stabbed Doctor Yassin Abdel Alim al Qabati, president of the Yemeni Center for Transitional Justice, in Hawd al Ashraf, Taiz city on June 19. Al Qabati was rushed to the hospital and has since been removed from intensive care.[5]
  • Major General Ali Sa’eed Obeid announced on June 19 that all military forces would gradually withdraw from cities and move to camps outside. This restructuring was an attempt to avoid conflict in response to citizens’ complaints.[6]
  • Gunmen ambushed a Yemeni Special Forces patrol with an improvised explosive device (IED) and small-arms fire in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on June 19. Neither side reported any casualties.[7]
  • FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce revealed on June 18 that NSA surveillance of Yemeni national Khalid Ouazzani helped uncover a plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Two groups of al Shabaab militants fought against each other in Barawe, Lower Shabelle region on June 20. One side was made up of fighters loyal to leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair while the other group of militants was loyal senior al Shabaab officials Hassin Dahir Aweys and Mukhtar Robow. The latter two men have criticized Zubair and believe he should step down as leader. Casualties from the clashes are not known.[9]
  • Unknown gunmen killed a Kenyan police officer in Wajir district, Kenya on June 18. One of the shooters was shot by officers the same day while the other was able to flee the scene.[10]
  • Following the bombing of the United Nations Compound in Mogadishu, al Shabaab spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab said that the group planned to carry out continued attacks until it can “expel the disbelievers from Muslim lands.”[11]
  • National and international actors strongly condemned the attacks carried out by al Shabaab on the United Nations compound in Mogadishu, Somalia on June 19. The Somali President, the UN Ambassador to Somalia, Ahmed Madobe, and the governments of Puntland, Russia and the United States all spoke out against the attack.[12]
  • Somali Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled asked elders in the Jubba and Gedo regions to gather leaders to attend to the Jubbaland reconciliation meeting to take place in Mogadishu.[13]

[1] “Abyan: Popular Committees Cut Off Main Road (Aden-Abyan) and Hundreds of Families Stuck,” Mareb Press, June 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Breaking… Gunmen Seize Hundreds of Trains and Attacks with Heavy Weapons on the Army,” Barakish, June 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Several Wounded in Clashes Between Army and Tribes,” Mareb Press, June 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Dhamar Security Seize Man in Possession of Turkish Pistols and Suspicious Documents,” Mareb Press, June 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Condemnation for One of Yemen’s Most Famous Doctors Suffering an Assassination Attempt  at the Hands of Gunmen,” Al Masdar Online, June 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Doctor Yassin al Qabati Leaves Intensive Care After Suffering Assassination Attempt,” Yemennat, June 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Major General Ali Sa’eed Obeid: Soon, Military Withdrawal from Cities In Accordance With Restructuring of Military Units,” 26 Sep, June 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Security Force Patrol Targeted in al Mukalla by IED,” Al Watanye, June 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8]  “NSA Monitoring of Yemen Extremist Stopped Plan to Bomb Wall Street,” Fox News, June 18, 2013. Available:
[9] “Two al Shabaab Groups Fight in Barawe,” Bar Kulan, June 20, 2013. Available:
“Infighting between al Shabaab Troops in Barawe District,” Shabelle, June 20, 2013. Available:
[10] “Gunmen Kill 2 Women, Police Reservist in Wajir,” Sabahi Online, June 19, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somali Islamists Threaten More Carnage after Attack in U.N. Base,” Reuters, June 20, 2013. Available:
[12] “Puntland Condemns Deadly Mogadishu Attack,” Bar Kulan, June 20, 2013. Available:
“President Hassan: Al Shabaab are a Disgrace to Somalia and Will Not Derail Our Emerging Peace,” Hiiraan Online, June 20, 2013. Available:
“Somalia: Jubaland President Ahmed Mohamed Condemns Today’s Attack in the UN Complex in Mogadishu,” Raxanreeb, June 19, 2013. Available:
“UN Envoy ‘Horrified’ By Attack on World Body’s Compound in Mogadishu,” June 19, 2013. Available:
“Russia Condemns Attack by al Shabaab in Somalia,” Shabelle, June 20, 2013. Available:
“U.S. Condemns ‘Despicable’ Attack on UN Office in Somalia,” Shabelle, June 20, 2013. Available:
[13] “Somalia’s Interior Minister Requests Jubaland Elders to gather the Opposing Sides in the Proposed Mogadishu Meeting,” Shabelle, June 19, 2013. Available:
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