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: Jihadist media group releases interview with AQAP fighter and chanter; AQAP leader interviewed in Yemen Today; Islah-affiliated youth leave Yemen to fight in Syria; security sources release the names of Ma’rib pipeline bombers; President Hadi meets with American, British and French ambassadors regarding National Dialogue preparations; newly formed 139th Mechanized Infantry Brigade to deploy to Hadramawt; al Ahmar militiamen clash with Yemeni Central Prison guards in Sana’a; President Hadi asks to take Yahya al Houthi’s name off Interpol’s wanted list; Prime Minister Basindwa orders $32 million to be dispersed in Abyan governorate

Horn of Africa: Two suspected al Shabaab militants blow themselves up in Kismayo, Lower Jubba; suspected al Shabaab militants attack a Somali and AMISOM base in Kismayo, Lower Jubba; roadside IED kills one in Kismayo, Lower Jubba; al Shabaab leader says Puntland-Somali agreement will not affect the group’s actions; unknown jihadist urges al Shabaab to attack Western interests in East Africa; Somali prime minister travels to Galkayo, Mudug region, returns to Mogadishu; Somali interior minister travels to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Raila Odinga requests Kenyan election commission documents; international medical clinic closes in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • A jihadist media group called Masami' al-Kheir Lil'inshaad (Blessed Hearings of Chants) and al Malahem Media Foundation jointly released an interview with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) jihadist Ghalib Ahmed Baqa'iti about his travels in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the importance of jihadi poetry and chants, on March 11 on jihadist forums. [1]
  • AQAP leader Ma’moun Abdulhamid Hatem gave an interview in Yemen Today on March 12, in which he blamed Saudi Arabia for the campaign against AQAP in Yemen.[2]
  • Dozens of youth affiliated with the Islah Party left Qa’idna, Hajjah governorate for Turkey on March 13, in order to fight in Syria, according to security sources reporting to Barakish Net. It was also reported that Islah Party leaders gave $3,000 to the family of each youth.[3]
  • Security sources released the names of those accused of bombing the Ma’rib oil pipeline in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate on March 12. These included Hussein Ahmad Ziadi, Ali Hussein Zaidi, Khalid al Zaidi, and Ali Ahmed Dahibil, who were accused of planting an improvised explosive device (IED) in a hole dug around the pipeline. [4]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi met with the American, British and French ambassadors to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, Nicholas Hopton and Frank Julie, respectively, on March 12 to discuss the final preparations for the National Dialogue conference.[5]
  • The newly formed 139th Mechanized Infantry Brigade will soon be transferred to Hadramawt governorate, according to source in al Masdar Online on March 13.[6]
  • Militias loyal to Ali Mohsen al Ahmar clashed with motorcycle riders and Yemeni Central Prison guards outside the Yemeni Central Prison in Sana’a on March 12. One civilian and two guards were wounded in the incident, and three of the militiamen were detained.[7]
  • President Hadi agreed to petition for the removal of Yahya al Houthi’s name from Interpol’s wanted list, and to close the internal Yemeni case against him, fulfilling a request made by al Houthi participants in the National Dialogue, according to a source in al Masdar Online on March 12.[8]
  • Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa ordered the Yemeni Ministry of Finance to disperse $32 million to Abyan governorate, in order to compensate those affected by Yemeni military operations against AQAP in the governorate on March 12.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Two suspected al Shabaab militants accidently detonated their explosives and died on March 13, near the location of the Jubbaland conference in Kismayo, Lower Jubba. The militants are believed to have been assembling an improvised explosive device (IED).[10]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali and AMISOM base at the University of Kismayo in Kismayo, Lower Jubba on March 12. Somali and AMISOM troops forced the militants to retreat. Casualty numbers are not known.[11]
  • A roadside IED, targeting a Somali army vehicle, detonated in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on March 13. One girl was killed in the explosion. Somali and AMISOM troops arrested six people in connection with the blast. Earlier in the day Somali and AMISOM forces disarmed two similar roadside IEDs.[12]
  • An al Shabaab leader in Puntland released a statement on March 13 saying that the recent deal signed between Puntland and Somalia will not affect the group’s operations. The official said that the deal will not last, and that al Shabaab will continue to fight against Puntland forces until they are defeated.[13]
  • An unknown jihadist wrote a message on the Ansar al Mujahideen forum telling al Shabaab leaders that they should target American and Western actors in the region. The jihadist wrote that in order to reduce attacks in Somalia and weaken Western ideas, al Shabaab should attack Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda and the Western and American interests in those countries.[14]
  • Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon traveled to Galkayo, Nugaal region on March 12 before returning to Mogadishu on March 13. While in Mogadishu Prime Minister Shirdon announced Somalia must work toward a greater national unity.[15]
  • Somali Interior Minister Abdikarin Hussein Guled traveled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 12 to partake in the March 13-14 conference for Arab interior ministers.[16]
  • Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga filed a petition with the Kenyan High Court requesting election commission and Safaricom documents in order to bolster his claim of fraud against Kenyan president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta. These documents would show provisional election results sent by Safaricom before servers crashed and forced the vote to be counted manually.[17]
  • An international medical clinic in Mogadishu announced on March 11 that it needed to close because it was unable to meet minimum security requirements. Security guards exchanged gunfire at this location forcing the clinic to temporarily close on January 28.[18] 

[1] “Jihadi Media Group Interviews AQAP Fighter, Chanter,” SITE Intel Group, March 11, 2013. Available at SITE.
[2] “Al Qaeda in Yemen Leader: Saudi Arabia Sends Us Drones and Spies and Agents on American Orders,” Yemen Today, March 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:\data\2013-03-12-14-07-13.htm
[3] “Islah Prepares to Send a New Batch of Fighters to Syria,” Barakish Net, March 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Security Sources Reveal the Identities of the Sirwah Pipeline Bombers,” 26 September Net, March 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “President Receives US, UK, French Ambassadors,” Saba News, March 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “’Supporters of the Revolution’ Brigade Renamed ‘139th Infantry’ and Prepares to Move to Eastern District in Hadramawt,” al Masdar Online, March 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Three Wounded, Including Two Soldiers, in Clashes Between al Ahmar Militiamen and Central Guards in Sana’a,” Barakish Net, March 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “President Orders Lifting Yahya al Houthi’s Name from Interpol’s Wanted Terrorists List, and the Closing of His Case,” al Masdar Online, March 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Government Allocates Emergency Fund to Abyan” Yemen Post, March 12, 2013. Available:
[10] “Explosion Kills Two Militants near Jubaland Conference Venue in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, March 13, 2013. Available:
[11] “Explosion Kills Two Militants near Jubaland Conference Venue in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, March 13, 2013. Available:
[12] “Young Girl Killed in Kismayo Explosion,” Bar Kulan, March 3, 2013. Available:
[13] “Al Shabaab Terms Deal between Somali Government, Puntland Ineffective,” Dhacdo Online, March 13, 2013. Available:
[14] “Jihadist Suggest Shabaab Attack Outside Somalia, Hit Western Interests,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 12, 2013. Available at SITE.
[15] “We Must Stand United, Says Prime Minister, Returning from Listening Tour to Puntland and Garowe,” Shabelle, March 13, 2013. Available:
“PM Shirdon Meets Authorities in Mudug,” Bar Kulan, March 12, 2013. Available:
[16] “Interior Minister Travels to Riyadh to Attend Interior Ministers’ Meeting,” Bar Kulan, March 12, 2013. Available:
[17] “Kenya’s Odinga Seeks Evidence from Electoral Commission,” Reuters, March 12, 2013. Available:
[18] “MSF Closes its Clinic in Xadaar after Security Incident,” Mareeg, March 11, 2013. Available:
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