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: Biography of AQAP suicide bomber Khaled al Adeni released; Zawahiri mentions jihad in Yemen during address; 312th Brigade kills man suspected of killing Americans; gunmen kidnap Political Security officer; military and AQAP disagree on outcome of operations in Ghayl Ba Wazir, Hadramawt; Southern Movement leader announces formation of popular committees in Hadramawt governorate; Defense Minister orders arrest of Taiz deputy governor; seventeen activist detainees released in Sana’a; South African kidnapping victims in AQAP’s custody

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab executes two suspected spies in Barawe, Lower Shabelle region; Somali pirates attempt to hijack Indian cargo ship; clashes occur between rival clans outside Galkayo, Mudug region; UN Security Council holds meeting on Somalia in New York; United Kingdom appoints new Somali ambassador

Yemen Security Brief

  • A biography of AQAP member Khaled al Adeni, a.k.a. Abu al Bara’a, was released on the Ansar al Mujahidin forum on May 23. Al Adeni carried out a suicide attack on May 25, 2012 in al Jawf governorate that killed 14 people. AQAP claimed responsibility for the attack but had not named the attacker.[2]
  • Ayman al Zawahiri, head of al Qaeda, briefly mentioned AQAP and its struggle to purge Yemen of American presence during his June 5 speech, “The 65th Anniversary of the Founding of the Occupation State of Israel.”[3]
  • Members of the 312th Brigade killed Abdul Rahman Haza’a, who is accused of killing two American citizens in Taiz city, at a checkpoint in Ma’rib on June 6. The two Americans were Joel Shrum, a teacher killed on March 18, 2012, and Abdul Jabar al Qabalani, a Yemeni carrying American citizenship.[4]
  • Gunmen kidnapped Political Security officer Amr Jamad and his companion in Wadi al Ayn in Hadramawt governorate on June 5.[5]
  • Yemeni forces drove Ansar al Sharia, AQAP’s insurgent arm, out of Ghayl Ba Wazir and surrounding villages in Hadramawt governorate during a June 5 operation, killing 7 militants, according to Yemeni security sources. Sources close to AQAP denied that their insurgent wing sustained any casualties and said that the Yemeni campaign was not a success.[6]
  • Southern Movement leader Sheikh Ahmed Bamalem announced on his Facebook page that popular committees were being formed throughout Hadramawt governorate to protect against conspiracies against southerners.[7]
  • The Yemeni Minister of Defense Abdul Qadir Qahtan ordered authorities in Taiz governorate on June 6 to arrest Taiz Lieutenant Governor Mohammed Mansour al Shawafi and his associates for setting up an ambush and killing travelers on the Taiz-al Hoban road on May 5.[8]
  • Seventeen of 58 activists detained during the Arab Spring uprising against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen were released from prisons on June 6 in Sana’a. Twenty of the prisoners had gone on a hunger strike on May 24.[9]
  • A security official said that the two South Africans captured in Taiz on May 27 are in the hands of AQAP.[10]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants executed two people in Barawe, Lower Shabelle region on June 6 for being convicted of spying for Somali and AMISOM forces.[11]
  • Somali pirates attempted to hijack an Indian cargo ship off the coast of Somalia on June 6. The pirates abandoned the ship when European Union and NATO warships responded to the crew’s distress signal. There were no reports of injuries from the attack.[12]
  • Fighting occurred between rival clans over land distribution outside of Galkayo, Mudug region on June 6. Two people were killed and four were injured in the gunfight. Puntland police are now mediating the situation.[13]
  • The United Nations Security Council said during a meeting in New York, New York on June 6 that al Shabaab militants still pose a threat in Somalia and that the Somali government should prosecute all al Shabaab members and Somali pirates who continue to destabilize the country. The United Kingdom representative noted that security in Somalia was a high priority for the UK and the Chinese representative said the international community must continue to work to rebuild Somalia.[14]
  • The United Kingdom appointed a new ambassador to Somalia, Neil Wigan, on June 6. Wigan will replace Matt Baugh who is leaving for another diplomatic appointment.[15]   

[2] “Jihadist Gives Biography of AQAP Suicide Bomber in al-Jawf Attack,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 4, 2013. Available at SITE.
[3] “Zawahiri Urges Fighting in Syrian Jihad, Speaks on Israel's 65th Anniversary,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 6, 2013. Available at SITE.
[4] “Killing of man accused of assassinating American citizens in Taiz city,” Barakish Net, June 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Kidnapping of officer in Political Security in Wadi al Ayn and interested parties do nothing,” al Mukalla Star, June 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “10 killed in Yemen anti-Al Qaida offensive,” AFP, June 5, 2013. Available:
“The Yemeni Nation: al Qaeda denies seven deaths of their members and that they lost the campaign in Ghayl Ba Wazir,” Mukalla Star, June 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Hadramawt: Bamalem announces formation of popular committees and Batyas warns against; affirms that the Hadrami society is peaceful and rejects violence,” Hun Aden, June 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Minister of Defense orders arrest of Lieutenant Governor of Taiz al Shawafi, his sons and companions,” al Masdar Online, June 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Breaking: Sheikh al Shawafi leaves Taiz for Khudair fearing arrest and humiliation of the sheikhs,” Huna Aden, June 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Yemen frees 17 activists held since Saleh-era,” AFP, June 6, 2013. Available:
“Yemen releases 17 anti-ex-president activists,” Xinhua, June 6, 2013. Available:
[10] “Al Qaeda kidnapped the married couple from South Africa in Yemen,” Aden al Ghad, June 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[11] “Somali Militants Execute 2 for Espionage: Witness,” AP, June 7, 2013. Available:
[12] “Somali Pirate Attack Thwarted by EU Naval Force,” AP, June 7, 2013. Available:
[13] “Two Killed, Four Others Wounded in Galkayo Clashes,” Bar Kulan, June 6, 2013. Available:
[14] “UN Security Council Says al Shabaab Extremists Threaten Somali Peace despite Improved Security,” Bar Kulan, June 7, 2013. Available:
“The UK Will Stand With the Somali People and Their Government,” UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, June 6, 2013. Available:
“China Calls in International Community to Continue Advancing Somalia Peace Process,” Shabelle, June 7, 2013. Available:
[15] “UK Replaces its Ambassador to Somalia,” Shabelle, June 6, 2013. Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Jul '13
Jun '13
May '13