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: Clashes between al Houthi rebels and Yemeni military forces kill over 120 people in Amran; commander of 33rd Armored Brigade survives assassination attempt in al Dhaleh; former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh denies wrongdoing

Horn of Africa: AMISOM and SNA forces seize villages in Hiraan region from al Shabaab; al Shabaab executes alleged spies in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab threatens to escalate attacks against AMISOM and the Somali government in Mogadishu; SNA forces detain suspected al Shabaab militant in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • A ceasefire implemented the evening of June 2 ended fighting in Amran between al Houthi rebels and Yemeni military forces. The clashes killed at least 120 people, most in Yemeni airstrikes, according to Yemeni officials. Ahmed al Bekry, deputy governor of the Amran governorate, reported that 20 government soldiers were among those killed in the fighting. The al Houthis claimed that the Yemeni military vastly underreported their casualties. Al Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam condemned the Yemeni airstrikes and warned of future “consequences.” Airstrikes reportedly resumed on June 3, effectively ending the ceasefire.[1]
  • The commander of the 33rd Armored Brigade, Brig. Gen. Abdullah Dhabaan, survived an assassination attempt in the al Dhaleh governorate the morning of June 2. A Yemeni military source stated that militants made the attempt while Dhabaan was inspecting military bases and that they were being tracked.[2]
  • Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh denied accusations of embezzling billions of dollars in public funds during his reign in Yemen in a Reuters interview in Sana’a city on May 21. Saleh also refuted claims that he still wields immense informal power in Yemeni politics because of his access to significant wealth. He asserted all of these accusations stemmed from a smear campaign launched by the “failed” administration currently governing Yemen. When asked about his sons’ interest in running for political office in Yemen, Saleh commented that his sons could run, but he did not recommend becoming a candidate “when the state is in disarray.”[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) forces seized El Ware and Dabadey villages near Bulo-Burde in Hiraan region from al Shabaab on May 31. SNA Colonel Mohamed Ali revealed that the objective of the operation was to clear al Shabaab militants from the villages located along the road connecting Bulo-Burde to Beledweyne in order to secure the flow of humanitarian aid into Bulo-Burde. Ali reported that several militants were killed during the operation.[4]
  • Al Shabaab executed three alleged spies in Barawe in Lower Shabelle region on June 2. An al Shabaab judge convicted the three individuals, Mohamed Omar Diriye, Salah Fuad Osman, and Mohamed Aden Ibrahim, of spying for the Somali government as well as Kenyan and U.S. intelligence agencies. The executions came less than a week after three alleged spies were executed by al Shabaab in Bulo Mareer in Lower Shabelle region on May 29.[5]
  • Al Shabaab’s representative to Banadir region, Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, declared, in a statement broadcasted through al Shabaab’s Radio Andalus, that al Shabaab is planning to escalate attacks against AMISOM and Somali government targets in Mogadishu. Hussein boasted of al Shabaab’s attacks on the Somali Parliament and Presidential Compound and stated that future attacks will continue to increase in scale.[6]
  • SNA forces conducted a security operation throughout Mahas in Hiraan region on June 3. A local administrator reported that the SNA forces detained a suspected al Shabaab militant during the operation. Separately, Somaliland immigration officers arrested two suspected al Shabaab financiers at Somaliland’s Egal International Airport in Hargeisa on June 1. The suspects, identified as residents of the United Arab Emirates, reportedly arrived in Hargeisa from Mogadishu.[7]

[1] “At least 120 dead in fighting between Yemen Houthi rebels, government forces,” Reuters, June 3, 2014. Available:
 “Ceasefire agreement is reached in northern Amran,” Yemen Post, June 3, 2014. Available:
“North Yemen clashes leave 120 dead,” BBC, June 3, 2014. Available:
“Armed Houthis raid the central prison in Amran and free at least ten prisoners,” AlMasdar Online, June 2, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemeni Airstrike Ends Ceasefire in Flare-Up of Houthi Rebellion,” Reuters, June 3, 2014. Available:
[2] “Military commander escapes assassination attempt,” Saba News, June 2, 2014. Available:
 “33 Armored Brigade Commander escapes from a treacherous assassination attempt,” September 26 News, June 2, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] Yara Bayoumy, “Yemen’s Saleh denies theft, challenges accusers,” Reuters, June 2, 2014. Available:
[4] “Al-Shabaab pushed out of El Waare and Dhabadey, access to Bulo Burde restored,” Sabahi Online, June 2, 2014. Available:
[5] “SOMALIA: Al Shabab executes three men in Barawe for spying,” RBC Radio, June 3, 2014. Available:
“SOMALIA: Al Shabab executes former members for spying,” Horseed Media, June 3, 2014. Available:
[6] “Al Shabab vows more attacks in Somali capital,” Hiraan Online, June 3, 2014. Available:
[7] “Somaliland: Suspected Terrorist Bank-rollers Apprehended at Egal Airport,” Somaliland Sun, June 2, 2014. Available:
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