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: Al Houthi rebels clash with Yemeni troops near Amran; Yemeni tribesman bomb Ma’rib oil pipeline; assailants search media office in Sana’a; AQAP attacks Yemeni military checkpoint

Horn of Africa: AMISOM and Somali forces seize town in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM and Somali military bases in Lower Shabelle region; unidentified assailants attack church in Mombasa, Kenya; demonstration against Somali MP turns violent in Bay region; unidentified gunmen kill elders in Bay region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi rebels clashed with Yemeni troops near Amran city on March 22. According to tribal sources, shooting broke out when Yemeni soldiers prevented armed al Houthi rebels from passing through a military checkpoint near a northern entrance to Amran. Local Yemeni officials reported that at least eight rebels, two Yemeni soldiers, and two civilians were killed in the attack.[1]
  • Yemeni tribesmen bombed an oil pipeline in Ma’rib governorate on March 22. An anonymous industry source reported that the pipeline was severely damaged and that oil flow through that pipeline had been halted as a result.[2]
  • Unidentified assailants searched the Yemeni Digital Media Office in Sana’a city on March 23. Witnesses report that at least eight armed assailants entered the building, looked through the office’s contents, and threatened to kill the office director, who was absent at the time of the incident.[3]
  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked a Yemeni military checkpoint near Reida, roughly 120-135 kilometers east of al Mukalla, the capital of Hadramawt governorate, on March 24. Yemeni military sources report that the militants drove up to the checkpoint, fired at Yemeni soldiers with automatic weapons, and then threw grenades at a nearby tent, where additional Yemeni soldiers were sleeping. At least twenty Yemeni soldiers were killed in the attack.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • AMISOM and the SNA seized the town of Qoryoley in Lower Shabelle region from al Shabaab on March 22. AMISOM and SNA forces clashed with al Shabaab militants for several hours before driving the militants from the town. Reports indicate that at least ten were killed in the initial battle. Al Shabaab responded on March 23 by firing upon AMISOM and SNA forces near Qoryoley and launching mortar shells into the town, killing at least four civilians.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked AMISOM and SNA military bases near Janale in Lower Shabelle region on March 22. AMISOM and SNA forces exchanged gunfire with the militants, ultimately repelling the attack. Separately, suspected al Shabaab militants ambushed an AMISOM convoy near Shalanbood in Lower Shabelle region on March 23. The militants fired upon the convoy, which was transporting several foreign journalists, as it traveled toward Qoryoley.[6]
  • Unidentified assailants attacked a church in Likoni near Mombasa in Kenya on March 23. The assailants opened fire on the church’s congregation, killing six people and injuring approximately twenty more. The assailants reportedly attempted to assault another church before fleeing as Kenyan police arrived. In response, Kenyan police conducted a security operation in the area, apprehending at least 100 individuals for questioning.[7]
  • A demonstration against Somali Member of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, current candidate for leadership of a proposed semiautonomous region in southwestern Somalia, turned violent after supporters of the proposed six state regional administration exchanged fire with supporters of the proposed three-state regional administration in Baidoa in Bay region on March 23. At least two individuals were killed and two others injured in the gunfire.[8]
  • Unidentified gunmen killed eight elders in the Burhakaba district of Bay region on March 24. The elders were travelling from the regional administration conferences held in Baidoa in Bay region back to their native Lower Shabelle region. Although Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed blamed al Shabaab for the killings, al Shabaab released a statement denying responsibility, attributing blame to local militias.[9]   

[1] “Dozen killed as Yemen army clashes with Shiite rebels,” Agence France-Presse, March 22, 2014. Available:
“Renewed clashes in Amran claim lives,” Yemen Post, March 23, 2014. Available:
[2] “Yemeni tribesman blow up Marib oil pipeline, stop crude flows,” Reuters, March 22, 2014. Available:
[3] “Storm the office of the Yemen Digital Media for Media and threatened to kill boss,” News Yemen, March 23, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “‘Qaeda attack’ kills 20 Yemen soldiers,” Agence France-Presse, March 24, 2014. Available:
[5] “AMISOM and Somali National Army capture Qoryooley,” AMISOM, March 22, 2014. Available:
“SOMALIA: Joint forces secure Qoryoley town from Al Shabab in a heavy gun battle,” RBC Radio, March 22, 2014. Available:
“Four killed in Qoryolley shelling,” Bar Kulan, March 24, 2014. Available:
“Further fighting in Qoryoley,” Shabelle News, March 23, 2014. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Al Shabaab fighters attack military bases in Lower Shabelle region,” Garowe Online, March 23, 2014. Available:
“AMISOM convoy ambushed near Shalanbod town,” Dalsan Radio, March 23, 2014. Available:
[7] Joseph Akwiri, “Gunmen kill six in attack on Kenyan church,” Reuters, March 23, 2014. Available:
Galgalo Bocha and Mwakera Mwajefa, “Terror in Mombasa church,” Daily Nation, March 23, 2014. Available:
“Mombasa church attack: 100 suspects arrested as death toll rises to six,” Daily Nation, March 24, 2014. Available:
[8] “SOMALIA: Baydhabo armed violence killed 2, Sharif Hassan urged to leave the town,” RBC Radio, March 24, 2014. Available:
“Armed violence sparks Baidoa as former Speaker vists [sic] the town,” Dalsan Radio, March 23, 2014. Available:
[9] “Gunmen murder 8 elders in Southern Somalia,” Horseed Media, March 24, 2014. Available:
“Al Shabab denies the responsibility of assassinating eight elders,” Dalsan Radio, March 24, 2014. Available:
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