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: Yemeni government agrees to temporary truce with Ansar al Sharia; Yemeni Army forces clash with AQAP militants in Saqam, Abyan governorate; car bomb targeting commander of Aden Naval Base found and defused; popular committee forces arrest eight suspected AQAP members; Southern Movement leaders meet with UN envoy to Yemen in Dubai, UAE; Yemeni security forces deploy in Aden; Major General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar’s office denies mediation with former President Saleh; Ma’rib power lines attacked; Ma’rib crude oil pipeline attacked; tribal gunmen clash in Sabir al Mawadim, Taiz governorate; unknown gunmen kill citizen in al Mansoura, Aden

Horn of Africa: Uhuru Kenyatta wins Kenyan elections; seven al Shabaab militants defect in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; unknown gunmen ambush vehicle outside Garsale, Hiraan region; al Shabaab militants steal 1,500 camels from farmers in Badhadhe, Lower Jubba region; anti-Farole rally held in Boosaaso, Bari region; Egyptian foreign minister visits Mogadishu, announces the reopening of the Egyptian embassy in Mogadishu; Djibouti opposition leaders stand trial; Somali prime minister visits Garowe, Nugaal region; Somali defense minister announces plan for containing Somali arms; 21 Somali diplomats travel to South Africa for training course

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni government reportedly agreed to a temporary truce with Ansar al Sharia forces under the command of Jalal Muhsin Saleh Bal’idi al Marqishi, aka Abu Hamza, ceasing operations against Ansar al Sharia in return for an end to Ansar al Sharia’s campaign of assassinations of public officials (excluding popular committee forces) until the end of Yemen’s National Dialogue, according to a March 11 report in Barakish Net. As a part of this truce, the government purportedly sent three train cars of food aid to forces under the Ansar al Sharia leader in al Khabr, Abyan governorate on March 10.[1]
  • Yemeni Army forces clashed with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Saqam, north of the city of Shaqra, Abyan governorate on March 10, after approximately 20 AQAP militants aboard trucks attacked Army positions in the area.[2]
  • A car bomb targeting Brigadier General Radman Ghanim, commander of the Aden Naval Base, was found and defused on March 10 in Aden.[3]
  • Popular committee forces arrested eight suspected AQAP members, including one Saudi national, in Abyan governorate from March 6 to 10.[4]
  • Southern Movement leaders met with UN Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar and other UN officials in Dubai on March 9, to discuss Southern Movement participation in Yemen’s National Dialogue conference. Notably, former Vice President Ali Salem al Beidh refused to participate in the meeting, calling instead for UN peacekeepers to protect the people of southern Yemen.[5]
  • Thousands of Yemeni security forces, including armored units, deployed in the streets of Aden on March 11.[6]
  • A source in the office of Major General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar denied that al Ahmar had been in talks with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, according to a source in Barakish Net on March 10.[7]
  • Power lines near the Ma’rib Power Station in Ma’rib governorate were attacked, knocking the power station out of commission on March 11.[8]
  • Unknown gunmen blew up the crude oil pipeline in al ‘Irqayn, Ma’rib governorate on March 8.[9]
  • Tribal gunmen clashed in Sabir al Mawadim, Taiz governorate on March 9, over a disagreement surrounding a water project. One was killed and three wounded in the incident.[10]
  • Unknown gunmen killed a civilian, Ahmed Abdullah Abdul Rahim, in an apparent targeted killing on March 11 in al Mansoura, Aden.[11]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Uhuru Kenyatta was announced the new president of Kenya on March 9. Kenyatta won 50.07% of the vote, barely breaking the 50% needed to forego a runoff in April. Opponent Raila Odinga claimed that the elections were rigged and said he would contest the outcome in the Kenyan Supreme Court. The Somali president and prime minister congratulated Kenyatta and said that they look forward to maintaining a strong relationship with Kenya. [12]
  • Seven al Shabaab militants turned themselves in to local police in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on March 10. The men claimed that they decided to leave al Shabaab when they realized that they were on the wrong path.[13]
  • Unknown gunmen ambushed a vehicle traveling outside Garsale, Hiraan region on March 9. One woman was killed in the attack and the shooters were able to flee the scene.[14]
  • Al Shabaab militants stole 1,500 camels from farmers in the Badhadhe district, Lower Jubba region on March 10. Six farmers were injured while trying to protect their animals.[15]
  • Protesters in Boosaaso, Bari region gathered to hold an anti-Farole rally on March 9. Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole extended his presidency in January, inciting protests calling for his abdication.[16]
  • Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr visited Mogadishu on March 10. He announced that Egypt will reopen an embassy in Mogadishu.[17]
  • Opposition leaders who protested the outcome of the February 22 Djibouti legislative elections were sentenced to one and a half years in prison on March 10, for inciting violence.[18]
  • Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon visited Garowe, Nugaal region on March 9. There he will hold discussions with the regional administration led by Puntland President Farole.[19]
  • Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi announced that Somalia has installed measures to make sure that new arms, now allowed to be shipped to Somalia, will end up in the hands of only military personnel.[20]
  • Twenty-one Somali diplomats traveled to South Africa on March 11 to undergo a training course that will last until the end of March.[21] 

[1] “As a Gesture of Goodwill: Government Sends 3 Train Cars with Food Supplies to al Qaeda Emir,” Barakish Net, March 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Clashes Between the Army and al Qaeda in Abyan,” Barakish Net, March 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Aborted Attempt to Assassinate Military Leader in Aden,” Barakish Net, March 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Sources: Popular Committees Arrest Eight Suspected al Qaeda in Abyan,” al Masdar Online, March 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Al Beidh’s Representatives to the Dubai Meeting Pull Out After Delivering Message to Benomar Demanding International Protection for the South,” al Masdar Online, March 9, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] Mohammed al Ghubari, “Armored Vehicle Deployments in the Streets of Aden to Counter Separatist Protests,” al Bayan, March 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Ali Mohsen Denies Mediation with Saleh and Says that He Rises Above Unethical Tactics in Litigation,” Barakish Net, March 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Breaking: Electric Towers Targeted and Ma’rib Power Station Knocked Out 12 Hours After it was Fixed,” Barakish Net, March 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Tribal Gunmen Renew Attacks on Oil Pipelines in Ma’rib,” al Masdar Online, March 9, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“New Explosion at Oil Pipeline in Ma’rib and The Army Shells The Saboteurs,” Mareb Press, March 9, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] “Taiz: One Reported Dead and Three Wounded in Tribal Clashes in Sabir al Mawadim,” Mareb Press, March 9, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[11] “Aden: Gunmen Assassinate Civilian in Mansoura,” Barakish Net, March 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[12] “Kenya Chief Justice Pledges Fair Hearing for Election Challenge,” Reuters, March 11, 2013. Available:
“Somalia’s Leaders Congratulate Uhuru Kenyatta,” Hiiraan, March 10, 2013. Available:
[13] “Police Parade Defected Militants in Beledweyne,” Bar Kulan, March 10, 2013. Available:
[14] “One Killed in Banditry Attack,” Bar Kulan March 10, 2013. Available:
[15] “Somalia: Militants Rob Pastoralists of 1,500 Camels in South,” Bulshoweyn, March 10, 2013. Available:
[16] “Resident of Northeastern Somali Town Stage Anti-Puntland Protest,” Raxanreeb, March 10, 2013. Available:
[17] “Egypt to Reopen Somalia Embassy,” Daily News Egypt, March 10, 2013. Available:
Egyptian Foreign Minister Visits Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, March 10, 2013. Available:
[18] “Uneasy Calm in Djibouti Ahead of Opposition Trial.” Sabahi Online, March 8, 2013. Available:
“Djiboutian Clerics Sentenced for Post-Election Violence,” Sabahi Online, March 10, 2013. Available:
[19] “Prime Minister’s Listening Tour Continues to Garowe,” Garowe Online, March 9, 2013. Available:
[20] “Government to Regulate its Weapons,” Bar Kulan, March 11, 2013. Available:
[21] “Training Course for Somali Diplomats in South Africa,” Radio Mogadishu, March 11, 2013. Available:
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