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: Europeans kidnapped by AQAP released; gunmen kill military commander in Sana’a, Sana’a governorate; bomb explodes in Sheikh Othman district, Aden governorate; security forces seize car carrying smuggled weapons in Taiz governorate; residents of Lawder district, Abyan governorate report increased drone activity; Yemeni naval and security forces beef up coastal security; Yemeni Defense Ministry sacks commander of the 22nd Armored Brigade; tribal gunmen block main road in Bilad ar Rus, Sana’a governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM troops and political officials in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Somali and Ethiopian troops take Aw Diinle, Bay region; Somali troops are preparing for final advance on Jilib, Middle Jubba region; UN official announces 3,000 AMISOM peacekeepers died in Somalia since 2007; Somali police commissioner sworn in

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Finnish couple and an Austrian student who were kidnapped by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Sana’a on December 24, 2012 were released on May 8. They were handed over to Omani authorities.[1]
  • Gunmen shot and killed the commander of a military checkpoint in Sana’a, Sana’a governorate on May 9.[2]
  • A bomb exploded at a market in Sheikh Othman district, Aden governorate on May 9. At least eight people were injured in the blast.[3]
  • Security forces in Taiz governorate seized a car carrying weapons smuggled into Yemen, including Turkish-made pistols, on May 10.[4]
  • Local residents report increased drone activity over Lawder district, Abyan governorate.[5]
  • Yemeni security and naval forces increased coastal security on May 10 to prevent any attempts to smuggle weapons into the country.[6]
  • After weeks of protests, the Yemeni Defense Ministry officially relieved Brigadier General Mohamed al Bukhaiti of his duties as commander of the 22nd Armored Brigade in Taiz governorate. Brigadier General Hammoud Dahmash has been appointed to replace him.[7]
  • Tribal gunmen blocked a main road in Bilad ar Rus, Sana’a governorate on May 10 to pressure the government to apprehend those responsible for killing a soldier from the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade in Ma’rib governorate. The soldier was a member of their tribe.[8] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked AMISOM bases in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on May 9. Al Shabaab launched hit and run attacks at a Kenyan base at the Kismayo airport. Additionally, militants launched mortars at Kismayo University, site of the Jubbaland convention. Ras Kamboni troops engaged the al Shabaab militants. Casualties were reported but exact numbers have not been given.[9]
  • Somali and Ethiopian troops seized Aw Diinle, Bay region from al Shabaab militants on May 10. The Somali and Ethiopian forces conducted security operations in the town after its capture.[10]
  • A senior official in the Somali Army said that Somali troops are preparing a final push to capture Jilib, Middle Jubba region from al Shabaab militants currently occupying the town.[11]
  • UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson announced on May 9 that around 3,000 AMISOM peacekeepers have been killed in Somalia since 2007.[12]
  • The new Somali police commissioner, Abdihakin Dahir Said, was sworn into office in Mogadishu on May 10. Following the ceremony he held a closed door meeting with other top police commanders.[13]  

[1] “Abducted European hostages freed in Yemen,” Al Jazeera, May 9, 2013. Available:
[2] “Commander of military unit shot dead by gunmen in Shamlan,” Barakish, May 9, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Urgent: 8 wounded after bomb explodes in market in Sheikh Othman,” Barakish, May 9, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Security sources: Vehicle carrying smuggled weapons, including Turkish-made pistols, seized,” Al Masdar Online, May 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Drones flying over Lawder and fears of AQAP attacks,” Barakish, May 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Yemeni Interior Ministry stresses enhanced coastal security,” Al Tagheer, May 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Defense Ministry officially sacks al Bukhaiti as commander of the 22nd Brigade in Taiz and appoints Brigadier General Hammoud Dahmash,” Al Masdar Online, May 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Tribal gunmen cut off a main road south of Sana’a; the security services are just ‘watching,’” Al Masdar Online, May 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Fierce Fighting in Kismayo,” Shabelle, May 10, 2013. Available:
[10] “Joint Forces Capture Aw Diinle from al Shabaab,” Bar Kulan, May 10, 2013. Available:
[11] “Joint Troops in Final Push to Capture Jilib Town,” Bar Kulan, May 10, 2013. Available:
[12] “Up to 3,000 African Peacekeepers Killed in Somalia since 2007: U.N.,” Reuters, May 9, 2013. Available:
[13] “New Police Boss Meets Top Police Commanders,” Shabelle, May 10, 2013. Available:
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