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: al Rashad party and Southern Movement leaders meet in Aden; Yemeni tribesmen release German hostage in Ma’rib governorate; suspected AQAP militants attack two Yemeni security posts in Shabwah governorate; former Yemeni President Saleh reportedly linked to weapons stockpiling during 2011 uprising

Horn of Africa: al Shabaab media outlet expresses support for Boko Haram; Somali government forces conduct security operations in Bay and Lower Shabelle regions; al Shabaab executes alleged government spy in Gedo region; Ahlu Sunna officials calls for ceasefire between rival militias in Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Leaders of the Salafi al Rashad party and the Southern Movement met in Aden city on May 12 to discuss Yemen’s current political developments, as well as methods for implementing the initiatives of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC).[1]
  • Yemeni tribesmen released German hostage Rudiger Friedrich Walter on May 13, whom they had held hostage in Ma’rib governorate since his abduction from Sana’a capital on February 1. The governor of neighboring al Jawf governorate Mohammed Salem Bin Aboud, reportedly negotiated the freeing of several imprisoned tribesmen in exchange for Walter’s release.[2]
  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants simultaneously attacked two Yemeni military posts in Jawl ar Raydah and Azzan in Shabwah governorate on May 14. The attacks lasted for several hours, and resulted in the death of ten AQAP militants and at least eight Yemeni soldiers, one of whom was reported as an army colonel. The Yemeni air force also assisted in repelling the attack, targeting AQAP reinforcement vehicles en route to Azzan. Yemeni security forces had recently seized Jawl ar Raydah and Azzan from AQAP during military operations in Shabwah governorate on May 8.[3]
  • The Yemeni government reportedly gained access to documents linking former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to the looting and stockpiling of government weapons during the 2011 uprising in Yemen. Saleh, who allegedly used the weapons to maintain political alliances with a number of tribal groups, has not yet been formally charged.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab’s official media outlet Radio al Andalus expressed support, via several Facebook posts, for Boko Haram’s April 14 abduction of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. The posts, dated May 10 and 11, defend Boko Haram’s actions as a legitimate response to the Nigerian government’s abuse of Muslims. Furthermore, the posts justify Boko Haram’s actions within a global context as less inhumane than those of Christian oppressors, comparing Nigerian prison abuse to Abu Ghraib in Iraq and referencing Russian mistreatment of young Chechen girls.[5]
  • Somali government forces conducted security operations in Baidoa in Bay region on May 13 and 14. The operations, prompted by the May 13 SVBIED attack in the city, reportedly resulted in the arrest of eight suspects. Separately, Somali government forces conducted security operations in the Afgoi district of Lower Shabelle region on May 14. The government forces disrupted transportation and business activity during the operations, arresting an unspecified number of people.[6]
  • Al Shabaab executed an alleged Somalia government spy in the Bardhere district of Gedo region on May 14. The alleged spy, Abdihamiid Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, was sentenced to death by a local al Shabaab judge after reportedly confessing to working with the Somali National Army (SNA). Al Shabaab officials in Gedo region warned against spying for the Somali government or AMISOM, threatening to execute any individual found guilty.[7]
  • Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) officials called for ceasefire and conflict resolution between rival militias in Beled Hawo in Gedo region on May 14. The appeal for ceasefire came after a militia loyal to Interim Jubba Administration leader Ahmed Madobe attacked the ASWJ militia in Beled Hawo on May 13, prompting residents and Ethiopian AMISOM forces to vacate the town.[8]

[1] “A meeting attended by the leaders of the Salafi party Al-Rashad and the Southern Movement in Aden,” Al Masdar, May 14, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Kidnappers in Marib release German hostage,” Saba News, May 14, 2014. Available:
[3] “Islamist militants hit Yemeni army posts, 18 dead,” Reuters, May 14, 2014. Available:
[4] “Friends Saleh refuse to rescue him from his predicament,” al Ain, May 14, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] Tres Thomas, “Al-Shabaab Expresses Support for Boko Haram Abduction of Schoolgirls in Nigeria,” May 13, 2014. Available:
“Nigeria girls voluntarily joined Islam – Shabaab,” News 24, May 14, 2014. Available:
[6] “SOMALIA: Eight suspects arrested for Baidoa car bomb,” RBC Radio, May 13, 2014. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Al-Shabaab Execute a Man in Public,” Dalsan Radio, May 14, 2014. Available:
[8] “Ahlu Suna promises to negotiate with the federal government to stop further clashes in the region,” Goobjoog News, May 14, 2014. Available:
“SOMALIA: Precarious calm returns to Beled-Hawa town, Gov’t remains silent,” RBC Radio, May 14, 2014. Available:
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