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: Security forces dismantle AQAP cell in Aden; Yemeni Air Force jet crashes in Sana’a; Third Mountain Infantry Brigade ambushes military police in Ma’rib, killing two officers; Third Mountain Infantry Brigade, Murad tribe clash in Ma’rib, leaving four dead; tribal gunmen kidnap two Red Cross workers in Abyan governorate; suspected AQAP militants kill Shia leader in Rada’a; suspected al Houthi militants kill AQAP recruiter in Rada’a; security forces discover, defuse explosive device in Sana’a; security forces arrest three suspected AQAP militants outside Sana’a; naval forces interdict boat carrying weapons; gunmen attack power lines in al Damashqa; feuding tribes in al Dhaleh governorate sign ceasefire; UN Special Advisor Jamal Benomar leaves Yemen; Yemeni foreign minister, Saudi interior minister meet in Riyadh

Horn of Africa: Jihadist calls for Islamist fighter and leaders to save Omar Hammami; grenade attack targets mosque in Hamar Jajab, Mogadishu; grenade attack targets government troops in Heliwa district, Mogadishu; unknown gunmen attack police hangout in Mandera, Kenya; Somali soldiers conduct security operations in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region; Somali police conduct security operations in Mogadishu; Somaliland police kill one protester in Burao, Togdheer region; AMISOM troops remove roadblocks in Lower Shabelle region; U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Carter travels to Djibouti; unnamed East African fighters release biography on Moroccan al Shabaab fighter; plane carrying Somali ministers of parliament not permitted to land in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Somali Parliament accuses Somali Interior and National Security Ministry of failing to secure Lower Shabelle region; Puntland president warns against potential infighting in Somali parliament; Somali parliament announces stolen food aid is found; Somali prime minister condemns May 11 car bomb in Turkey

Yemen Security Brief

  • Security forces raided a home in Aden, Aden governorate on May 12, killing one suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militant and arresting three others. The AQAP cell was reportedly plotting to attack “vital installations.”[1]
  • A Russian-made Yemeni Air Force jet crashed in Sana’a, Sana’a governorate during a routine training mission on May 13, killing the pilot. At least eighteen people were injured in the crash.[2] 
  • Two military police officials, including a senior officer, were killed in an ambush by soldiers from the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade in Ma’rib, Ma’rib governorate on May 11. Clashes broke out between the two sides on May 12.[3]
  • Soldiers from the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade clashed with gunmen from the Murad tribe in Ma’rib, Ma’rib governorate on May 13, leaving four people dead.[4]
  • Tribal gunmen kidnapped two people—a Swiss national and a Yemeni national—working for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Abyan governorate on May 13. The gunmen are demanding that authorities arrest a member of the al Bin Dahan, who they say killed one of their fellow tribesmen.[5]
  • Gunmen with suspected ties to AQAP shot and killed a resident of Rada’a, al Bayda governorate on May 12. The victim led a local Shia group and had been threatened by AQAP in the past due to his support of the al Houthi rebels.[6]
  • Gunmen with suspected ties to the al Houthi rebels shot and killed a resident of Rada’a, al Bayda governorate on May 12, the same date as an attack on a man with connections to the al Houthis in the same area. The victim reportedly helped recruit volunteers for AQAP.[7]
  • Security forces defused an explosive device discovered under a bridge in Sana’a, Sana’a governorate on May 12. The device contained more than fifteen pounds of C-3 plastic explosive.[8]
  • Security forces arrested three suspected AQAP militants at a security checkpoint outside Sana’a, Sana’a governorate on May 13.[9]
  • Naval forces interdicted a boat carrying weapons off the coast of Yemen on May 12 and docked it at al Mocha, a port city on the Red Sea, for inspection.[10]
  • Gunmen attacked power lines in al Damashqa, Ma'rib governorate on May 11, knocking a main power station out of service and causing blackouts in several cities, including Sana’a.[11]
  • Feuding tribes from the villages of Ashman and al Awabel in al Dhaleh governorate signed a ceasefire on May 11 after nearly two decades of violence.[12]
  • Jamal Benomar, the UN Special Advisor on Yemen, left Sana’a on May 12. This was his twentieth official trip to Yemen.[13]
  • Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi met with Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 12 to discuss security issues.[14]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • An alleged jihadist, referred to as Abu Yusuf al Gharib, posted a message to jihadist forums on May 9 calling for leaders and militants to save the life of Omar Hammami. Abu Yusuf said that Hammami, along with four other fighters, is being hunted down by al Shabaab soldiers loyal to Mukhtar Abu Zubeir.[15]
  • A grenade attack targeted a mosque in Hamar Jajab district, Mogadishu on May 12. Two attendees were injured in the blast and no arrests have been made.[16]
  • A grenade targeting Somali government troops detonated in Heliwa district, Mogadishu. Unknown gunmen shot and killed a Somali soldier following the blast. Additionally, soldiers arrived and engaged the gunmen, killing two civilians in the fight. Following the firefight, Somali troops conducted security operations in the area, arresting three people and injuring two. [17]
  • Unknown gunmen attacked a Kenyan police hangout on May 11 in Mandera, Kenya. A grenade was thrown into the compound before the gunmen started shooting. One police officer and one Kenyan government official were killed, and three others were injured. Following the attack, Kenyan authorities ordered all those living in Mandera to turn in illegal firearms within the next three days.[18]
  • Somewhere between 50 and 300 people were arrested in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region after a soldier was shot and killed on May 9 in the town. One civilian was killed during the security operations.[19]
  • Somali police and AMISOM forces conducted security operations in Mogadishu on May 11 and 12. One hundred people were arrested, some of whom are reportedly al Shabaab suspects.[20]
  • Somaliland officers killed one civilian during protests in Burao, Togdheer region on May 13. Truckers were protesting a ban on sand removal from a specific location.[21]
  • AMISOM troops removed roadblocks situated in between Marka and Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region on May 12.[22]
  • United States Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter traveled to Djibouti to meet with Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf on May 11 to reaffirm the countries’ bilateral relationship. Deputy Secretary Carter also met with Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commander Brigadier General Terry Ferrell.[23]
  • An unnamed group of East African fighters released a biography on an al Shabaab fighter named Hassan al Toor al Maghribi on May 1. Hassan al Toor was a Moroccan fighter in al Shabaab who wanted to return home to start a jihad in Morocco. He was killed in an airstrike in Lower Shabelle region.[24]
  • A plane carrying Somali parliamentarians and elders bound for the Jubbaland conference was not permitted to land in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on May 12.[25]
  • The Somali Parliament has accused the internal and national security ministry of failing to properly secure Lower Shabelle region.[26]
  • Puntland President Abdirahaman Mohamed Farole warned that Somali parliamentarians are planning to bring a motion against Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, which would lead to continued political infighting in Somalia.[27]
  • The Somali Parliament Security Committee announced that stolen food aid meant for flood victims in the Lower Shabelle region has been recovered. The committee accused NGOs of stealing the food.[28]
  • Prime Minister Shirdon condemned the May 11 car bomb that killed over 40 people in Turkey. [29]       

[1] “Yemen police dismantle Qaeda cell, kill militant,” AFP, May 12, 2013. Available:
[2] Melissa Gray, “Yemeni military plane crashes in capital,” CNN, May 13, 2013. Available:
[3] “Third Brigade soldiers kill military police commander; Murad tribes are flocking to Ma’rib,” Al Masdar Online, May 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Ma’rib: Third Brigade assassinates military police officer and a number of his colleagues,” Mareb Press, May 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Ma’rib: 4 killed in clashes between gunmen and members of the Third Brigade,” Mareb Press, May 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Armed tribesmen in Abyan kidnap Swiss and Yemeni nationals working for the Red Cross,” Al Masdar Online, May 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Series of assassinations in Rada’a amid fears a ‘sectarian’ war,” Al Masdar Online, May 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Series of assassinations in Rada’a amid fears a ‘sectarian’ war,” Al Masdar Online, May 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Yemen police dismantle Qaeda cell, kill militant,” AFP, May 12, 2013. Available:
[9] “3 AQAP militants arrested at the al Azraqayn security checkpoint,” Barakish, May 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] “Source: military forces seize boat loaded with arms off the coast of Yemen,” Al Masdar Online, May 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[11] “Worst attack to hit Ma’rib power lines; Source: May require days to return service,” Al Masdar Online, May 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[12] “Two-year truce that ends twenty year tribal war signed in al Dhaleh,” Al Masdar Online, May 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[13] “Jamal Benomar leaves Sana’a and confirms: There is no recipe outside the NDC,” Al Masdar Online, May 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[15] “Jihadist in Somali Gives “Urgent Call” to Save Hammami’s Life,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 10, 2013. Available at SITE.
[16] “A Grenade Attack on Mosque in the Capital of Somalia,” Radio Mustaqbal, May 12, 2013. Available:
[17] “Three Killed in Somali Capital Attacks,” Dayniile Online, May 11, 2913. Available:
[18] “Police Demand Surrender of Guns in Mandera,” Daily Standard, May 13, 2013. Available:
“Police Officer Killed in Mandera Hours after Army Deployment,” Capital FM, May 13, 2013. Available:
“Two Killed as Gang Raids Police Post,” Daily Nations, May 13, 2013. Available:
[19] “Somali Government Forces Arrest 300 in Southern Town,” Radio Dalsan, May 13, 2013. Available:
“Around 50 People Arrested in Afgoye Town,” Bar Kulan, May 11, 2013. Available:
[20] “Somali: African Union, Government Forces Continue Search Operation in Mogadishu,” Raxanreeb, May 12, 2013. Available:
[21] “Somaliland Troops Kill 1 Civilian in Burao Riots Witnesses” Garowe Online, May 13, 2013. Available:
[22] “AMISOM Troops Remove Some Illegal Road Blocks at Shabelle Region,” Shabelle, May 12, 2013. Available:
[23] “Carter Arrives in Djibouti for Meetings,” U.S. Department of Defense, May 11, 2013. Available:
[24] “East African Group Gives Biography of Slain Moroccan Fighter in Shabaab,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 10, 2013. Available at SITE.
[25] “Somalia: A Plane Carrying Delegation to Kismayo Unexpectedly Returns Back to Mogadishu,” May 12, 2013. Available:
[26] “Internal Security Ministry Accused of Failing to Tackle Insecurity at the Lower Shabelle Region,” Shabelle, May 12, 2013. Available:
[27] “Puntland Warns Against Political Infighting amongst Federal Parliament,” Shabelle, May 13, 2013. Available:
[28] “Parliamentary Security Committee Panel: We Have Found Stolen Food Aid,” Shabelle, May 13, 2013. Available:
[29] “Prime Minister Sends Condolences and Condemns Turkish Bomb Attack,” Raxanreeb, May 13, 2013. Available:
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