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: AQAP releases first video installment of Said al Shihri’s biography; tribesmen mobilize in Hadramawt governorate; Yemeni government allocates donor pledges; Yemeni military disarms explosives in Lahij governorate; Gunmen kidnap Western couple working for U.N. in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: unidentified gunmen kill prominent elder in Lower Jubba region; AMISOM and SNA forces clash with al Shabaab militants in Galgudud region; al Shabaab militants attack security forces in Gedo and Lower Jubba regions; AMISOM and SNA forces seize town in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released the first video in a series titled “Journey of Jihad” on March 23. The video installment chronicles the life of Said al Shihri, previous AQAP deputy leader killed in July 2013 by a U.S. drone strike.[1] 
  • At least 400 armed tribal members began assembling in Ghayl Bin Yamin district in Hadramawt governorate on March 24, following a call to mobilize from the Hadramawt Tribal Federation on March 20.  The federation has purportedly requested each allied tribe to send one vehicle and ten armed representatives to the gathering. Journalists in al Mukalla report that the gathering remains calm, but that both tribesmen and Yemeni soldiers remain on high alert.[2]
  • Reports indicate that the Yemeni government has begun allocating at least 7.5 billion dollars of donor pledges to support various civil and public works projects in Yemen on March 24. The Yemeni governorate pledges to address high unemployment levels, electricity shortages, and recent attacks on oil pipelines.[3] 
  • Yemeni military forces disarmed two explosive devices found near a police building in the city of Hawta, Lahij governorate on March 25. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosives.[4]
  • Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a Western couple on March 25. The pair were working at the United Nations building in the district of Hada, in the capital of Sana’a. The local police source did not provide any further details.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unidentified gunmen killed prominent elder and leader of the Awramale clan Mohamed Hussein Hafow in Kismayo in Lower Jubba on March 24. In response, Jubba Interim Administration (JIA) security forces conducted a search operation throughout the city, detaining two suspects. Although the motive of the killing remains unclear, the JIA traditionally blames al Shabaab for any violence and instability in the region.[6]
  • AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) forces clashed with al Shabaab militants near Elbur in Galgudud region on March 24. Despite reports that individuals from both sides were killed in the fighting, the extent of the casualties remains unclear.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked AMISOM and JIA security forces in Badhadhe district of Lower Jubba region on March 24. A district administrator reported that no casualties were suffered by friendly security forces during the fighting. Separately, al Shabaab militants attacked SNA forces in the town of Hafey near Burdhubo in Gedo region on March 25. Three soldiers were killed before the SNA forces repelled the attack.[8]
  • AMISOM and SNA forces seized Mahas in Hiraan region from al Shabaab militants on March 25. Ethiopian AMISOM forces fired mortar shells into an al Shabaab occupied area near the town, causing the militants to flee. Mahas marks the ninth town captured by AMISOM and SNA forces during their recent offensive against al Shabaab.[9]

[1] Oren Adaki, “AQAP releases first installment of ‘Journey of Jihad’ video series,” The Long War Journal, March 23, 2014. Available:
[2] Nassar al Sakkaf, “Hadramout Tribes Flock To Ghail Bin Yameen, Brace For Standoff With Army,” Yemen Times, March 25, 2014. Available:
[3] “Yemen allocates 7.5 billion dollars of donor pledges,” News Yemen, March 24, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Hajj: Security thwarts attempt to blow up the building, police Babutin bombs Lahij,” News Yemen, March 25, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Gunmen kidnap Western couple working for U.N. in Yemen: police source,” Reuters, March 25, 2014. Available:
[6] “SOMALIA: Famous elder gunned down in Kismayo,” RBC Radio, March 24, 2014. Available:
“Murderers detained in Kismaayo,” Shabelle News, March 25, 2014. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Fighting Erupts in Galgadud Region as AU Forces Head Towards Elbur,” Dalsan Radio, March 24, 2014. Available:
[8] “Solder killed in Gedo clashes,” Shabelle News, March 25, 2014. Available:
[9] “Al Shabaab lose another key town in central Somalia,” Bar Kulan, March 25, 2014. Available:
“Mortar barrages in Maxaas,” Shabelle News, March 25, 2014. Available:
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