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: Popular Committee members in Shabwah governorate threaten to end cooperation with Yemeni military; President Hadi establishes committee to investigate deaths of al Shabwan tribesmen; AQAP militants clash with Yemeni security forces in Shabwah governorate; President Obama extends national emergency in Yemen; Yemeni airstrike targets AQAP vehicles in Shabwah governorate

Horn of Africa: SVBIED targeting former governor detonates in Bay region; local Somali militia attacks ASWJ militia in Gedo region; al Shabaab militants ambush Ethiopian AMISOM and SNA convoy in Bay region; Somali government forces conduct security operations in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Popular Committee members in Shabwah governorate threatened on May 9 to suspend their cooperation with the Yemeni military unless their demands for increased wages are met. This announcement directly follows a large military operation against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Abyan and Shabwah governorates, in which Popular Committee members provided significant support to Yemeni security forces.[1]
  • Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi established a committee on May 11 to investigate the deaths of two al Shabwan tribesmen killed by Yemeni security forces on May 8. This investigation comes at the request of al Shabwan tribal leaders, who claim that the killing of the two men was unjustified. Yemeni security officials reported that the two men, Hamad al Shabwani and his nephew Shaif al Shabwani, were suspected AQAP militants, although local tribal leaders adamantly denied these claims. In direct response to the incident, gunmen believed to have been al Shabwan tribal members attacked an oil pipeline and power lines in Ma’rib governorate on May 8.[2]
  • Suspected AQAP militants clashed with Yemeni security forces in Shabwah governorate on May 12. Yemeni officials report that one local AQAP leader identified as Saudi national Majed al Matiri was killed in the clash.[3]
  • President Barack Obama announced that the national emergency with respect to Yemen declared on May 16, 2012, must now extend beyond May 16, 2014. As evidence for the extension, President Obama stated that, “The actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Yemen and others in threatening Yemen's peace, security, and stability continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”[4]
  • A reported Yemeni airstrike targeted three vehicles driving between Shabwah and Ma’rib governorates on May 13. Yemeni officials reported that the vehicles contained weapons and ammunition allegedly intended for AQAP militants located in Ma’rib governorate. The strike killed eight individuals, three of whom were driving the vehicles, while the remaining five casualties were reported as AQAP militants.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) detonated near a café in Baidoa in Bay region on May 12. The attack is suspected to have targeted Abdi Fatah Gesey, a former governor of Bay region, who was in a bank near the café at the time of the explosion. Although Gesey was uninjured, at least 12 people were killed and twenty more injured in the blast, including both civilians and Somali government forces. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, al Shabaab specifically threatened former Somali government officials when claiming responsibility for a May 3 blast that killed a Somali police official.[6]
  • A local Somali militia, loyal to Interim Jubba Administration leader Ahmed Madobe, attacked Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) militia and Somali National Army (SNA) forces in Beled Hawo in Gedo region on May 13. Reports indicate that Madobe’s militia seized significant portions of Beled Hawo as a result of the fighting, during which at least ten soldiers died and approximately twenty more suffered injuries.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed an Ethiopian AMISOM and SNA convoy on the road between Baidoa and Burhakaba in Bay region on May 12. Al Shabaab claimed that the militants seized a vehicle and captured an SNA soldier during the ambush. Somali government officials acknowledged the incident but denied al Shabaab’s claim, asserting instead that AMISOM and SNA forces repelled the attack.[8]
  • Somali government forces conducted security operations along the Warshadaha road in the Daynile district of Mogadishu on May 13. The government forces halted public transportation and arrested an unspecified number of people during the operation, which was reportedly prompted by information citing specific security threats in the district.[9]

[3] “Yemeni army kills Saudi al-Qaida commander in gunfight,” Xinhua, May 12, 2014. Available:
[4] “Notice -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Yemen,” Office of the Press Secretary, May 12, 2014. Available:
[5] “Yemeni Jet Hits 3 Trucks Carrying Weapons in South,” AP, May 13, 2014. Available:
[6] “Suicide bomber strikes in Somalia,” Al Jazeera, May 13, 2014. Available:
“Car bomb kills at least 12 people in Somalia: police,” Reuters, May 12, 2014. Available:
[7] “Ahmed Madobe’s militia invade Baladxawo and battle with gov’t troops,” Shabelle News, May 13, 2014. Available:
“Fresh clash between government forces and Ahlu suna militia kills 10 people,” Goobjoog News, May 13, 2014. Available:
[8] “Al-shabab claims burning of Ethiopian military car, seizing vehicle carrying Khat,” Al Shahid, May 12, 2014. Available:
[9] “Security operations in Mogadishu’s Warshadaha road restricts public transport,” Goobjoog News, May 13, 2014. Available:
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