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 issued a statement calling for Sunni factions in Syria to end the infighting; Yemeni officials report U.S. airstrike kills three militants in al Jawf; gunmen attack officer’s convoy in Shabwah

Horn of Africa: al Shabaab executes three alleged spies in Lower Shabelle; Somali security forces apprehend more than 150 individuals in Mogadishu; Federal Government of Somalia establishes a joint security operations bureau in Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacks Somali government and AMISOM base in Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s media arm, al Malahem Media Foundation, released an audio statement through the official forums pressing radical Sunni factions in Syria to end hostilities on March 2. The statement, entitled “A Message to the Mujahideen in al Sham,” was released on March 1 on Yemeni journalist Abdul Razzaq al Jamal’s Facebook page. The group notes that it sees all mujahideen as brothers and that they should not fight each other.[1]
  • Yemeni officials reported that a U.S. airstrike killed at least three suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militants in Khalka area of al Jawf governorate on March 5. Local leader Ali Saleh Juraym, who fought in Iraq, was among those reported to have been killed in the strike.[2]
  • Yemeni Navy Admiral Qasim Labbuza, the commander of the 2nd Armored Brigade and in charge of Belhaf port, escaped an assassination attempt on March 4 in Shabwah governorate. At least two of his guards were killed and another injured in an attack by gunmen during a security inspection of the port.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab announced the execution of three alleged spies on March 4.  Al Shabaab’s statement indicated that the individuals included Mohamed Abdulle Gelle, accused of spying for French intelligence agencies and providing information leading to an October 2013 U.S. drone strike, Ahmed Abdullahi Farole, accused of spying for the Puntland government, and Abdurahman Abdilatif, accused of spying for the Somali government.  The three individuals were executed in Barawe in Lower Shabelle region.[4]
  • Somali security forces apprehended more than 150 individuals during security operations throughout Mogadishu over the past week. The apprehended individuals were primarily youths suspected of both contributing to recent violence in Mogadishu and maintaining ties to al Shabaab. Somali security forces claimed that ensuing investigations confirmed three of the individuals as members of al Shabaab.[5]
  • Somali Director of the National Security and Intelligence Agency General Bashir Mohamed Jama announced on March 3 that the Somali government has established a joint security operations bureau in Mogadishu. The purpose of the bureau is to facilitate cooperation and coordination between AMISOM, Somali police, Somali intelligence, and Somali military in Mogadishu.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a military base manned by Somali government forces and Kenyan AMISOM forces in the Busar district of Gedo region on March 4. Reporting indicates that heavy fighting and numerous casualties occurred, though exact figures remain unclear. Neither al Shabaab nor Somali officials have publically addressed the incident.[7]     

[1] “AQAP Officially Releases Message of Advice to Jihadi Factions in Syria to End Hostilities,” SITE Intel Group, March 3, 2014. Available at SITE.
[2] “Three Suspected Militants Killed in Drone Strike in Yemen,” Reuters, March 5, 2014. Available:
“Drone Strike Kills 4 Qaeda Suspects in Yemen: Military,” AFP, March 5, 2014. Available:
[3] “Yemen Navy Admiral Escapes Qaeda Attack, Guards Killed,” AFP, March 4, 2014. Available:
“Yemeni Military Chief Survives Assassination Attempt,” Xinhua, March 5, 2014. Available:
[4] “Al-Shabab Executes Three for Spying,” Voice of America, March 4, 2014. Available:
“SOMALIA: Al Shabab executes three men, including former Puntland president’s nephew for ‘spy’ allegations,” RBC Radio, March 5, 2014. Available:
[5] “Several arrested in Mogadishu security operation,” Bar Kulan, March 5, 2014. Available:
[6] “Somalia forms joint security operations bureau,” Hiiraan Online, March 4, 2014. Available:
[7] “Fierce confrontations left losses in Buusaar,” Shabelle News, March 5, 2014. Available:
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