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: Drone strike kills four AQAP militants in Dayqah, Abyan governorate; drone strike kills two AQAP militants in Rada’a, al Bayda governorate; suspected AQAP militants kill intelligence officer in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate; al Houthi rebels, tribal gunmen clash in Bajel district, al Hudaydah governorate; gunmen kidnap Ukrainian doctor in Sana’a; gunmen attack Ma’rib-Sana’a power lines, prevent technical teams from repairing damage; Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh sworn in as Yemeni ambassador to the UAE; U.S. Ambassador to Yemen meets with President Hadi in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Protests occur, security situation deteriorates in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; soldier shoots at civilians in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Gedo regional governor and Somali president reject Jubbaland presidential claims; IGAD representatives facilitate Jubbaland presidency talks; senior al Shabaab official denounces Mukhtar Abu Zubair; heavy artillery fired at Villa Somalia, Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacks Somali base in El Barde, Bakool region; unknown attacker throws grenade at Somali troops in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region; Tanzanian police arrest five suspected terrorists in possession of explosive materials; unknown gunmen shoot and kill Kenyan officer in Wajir, Kenya; Kenyan police carry out security operations in Nairobi; Somali and AMISOM troops conduct security operations in Mogadishu; Ahlu Sunna claims killing 12 al Shabaab militants; Somaliland celebrates its 22nd anniversary of self-declared independence

Yemen Security Brief

  • Four al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants were killed in a drone strike in Dayqah, Abyan governorate on May 18.[1]
  • Two suspected AQAP militants were killed in a drone strike in Rada’a, al Bayda governorate on May 20.[2]
  • Suspected AQAP militants shot and killed Colonel Abdullah al Ribaki, a Yemeni intelligence officer, in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on May 17. Al Ribaki was reportedly being targeted by AQAP.[3]
  • Armed clashes broke out between al Houthi rebels and tribal gunmen in Bajel district, al Hudaydah governorate on May 19 in a land dispute, leaving five dead.[4]
  • Gunmen kidnapped a Ukrainian doctor in Sana’a on May 14. They demanded a ransom for her safe return.[5]
  • Gunmen attacked the Ma’rib-Sana’a power lines four times on May 18 and 19, causing the Ma’rib power station to go out of service. The gunmen are reportedly blocking technical teams from fixing the power lines.[6]
  • Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the nephew of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, was sworn in as Yemen’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates on May 19.[7]
  • U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein met with Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on May 18 in Sana’a. They discussed President Barack Obama’s recent decision to extend the state of emergency in Yemen as well as other issues.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Thousands of demonstrators protested in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on May 19 against the newly declared Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe, as well as influences from Kenya and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Security in the city is reportedly deteriorating as Ras Kamboni troops loot and attack residents.[9]
  • A soldier in the city opened fire on a crowd near Via Afmadow in Kismayo, Lower Jubba on May 18 killing one and injuring four.[10]
  • IGAD representatives traveled to Mogadishu on May 16 and Kismayo on May 18 to meet with leaders and resolve the Jubbaland presidential question.[11]
  • Governor of Gedo Mohamed Abdi Kalil rejected Ahmed Madobe’s and Barre Aden Shire’s Jubbaland presidential claims. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said that some groups had been excluded from the creation of a Jubbaland government.[12]
  • Leader of Hizb al Islam and senior al Shabaab official Hassan Dahir Aweys released an audio message on May 17 denouncing al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair. Aweys accused Zubair of persecuting foreign fighters, leading to al Shabaab’s military losses over the past year. He also called for the end of the hunt for Omar Hammami.[13]
  • Heavy artillery launched at Villa Somalia, Mogadishu on May 19 landed near the compound. Casualties from the incident have not been reported.[14]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali base in El Barde, Bakool region on May 17. Somali government officials said that they repelled the attack, killing 9 militants and losing only one Somali soldier. Al Shabaab claimed that they killed 8 Somali soldiers and injured dozens of others.[15]
  • An unknown attacker threw a grenade at government soldiers in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region. Two soldiers were injured and police have launched an investigation into the incident.[16]
  • Tanzanian police arrested five people in possession of explosive materials in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on May 16.[17]
  • Unknown gunmen shot and killed a Kenyan security officer in Wajir, Kenya on May 18.[18]
  • Kenyan police carried out security operations in Nairobi, Kenya on May 19. Two militants threw hand grenades, injuring six Kenyan officers, during a raid in the Githurai Kimbo neighborhood. The militants were then killed in a shootout.[19]
  • Somali and AMISOM troops conducted security operations in Mogadishu on May 20. Several suspected al Shabaab militants were arrested.[20]
  • Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a militia leaders said that they killed 12 al Shabaab militants outside Tulo Barwaqo, Gedo region on May 16. Officials claim two of the militants killed were al Shabaab leaders in the region.[21]
  • The breakaway state of Somaliland celebrated its 22nd anniversary of self-declared independence on May 18.[22]    

[1] Ahmed al Haj, “Suspected U.S. drone in Yemen kills 4 militants,” AP, May 18, 2013. Available:
[2] “Two suspected militants killed in Yemen drone strike,” Reuters, May 20, 2013. Available:
[3] “‘Qaeda’ kills Yemen intelligence officer: police,” AFP, May 18, 2013. Available:
[4] “4 gunmen and a tribal sheikh killed, highlighting that the al Houthis are buying land on the coast of al Hudaydah,” Al Masdar Online, May 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Gunmen kidnap a Ukrainian doctor in Sana’a and demand ransom as well as Qatari mediation,” Yemen Press, May 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Technical teams prevented from restoring electricity in Ma’rib after four consecutive attacks on power lines,” 26 September, May 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “General Ahmed Ali Saleh is sworn in as ambassador,” Yemen Post, May 20, 2013. Available:
[8] “Hadi discusses goals of U.S. decision to extend law against those who impede the Gulf initiative with Feierstein,” Al Masdar Online, May 18, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Thousand of Kismayu Residents Protest in the Streets against IGAD, Kenya and Ahmed Madobe,” Shabelle, May 19, 2013. Available:
“Security in Kismayo Deteriorating,” Shabelle, May 19, 2013. Available:
[10] “A Soldier Opens Fire to Civilians in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, May 18, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somalia: IGAD Fact- Finding Delegation Meets Somali Prime Minister in Mogadishu,” Raxanreeb, May 17, 2013. Available:
“IGAD Delegation Meets Ahmed Madobe in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, May 18, 2013. Available:
[12] “Somalia President Addresses Somaliland Separatism, Jubaland Formation,” May 19, 2013. Available:
“Gedo Administration Rejects Self Declared Presidents,” Shabelle, May 18, 2013. Available:
[13] “Shabaab Official Aweys Speaks on Group’s Internal Issues, Losing Ground,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 17, 2013. Available at SITE.
[14] “Heavy Bombardments near the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu,” Shabelle, May 20, 2013. Available:
[15] “Government Claims Victory in Bakool Fighting,” Shabelle, May 18, 2013. Available:
“Al Shabaab Tweet of El Barde,” HSM Press, May 17. Available:
[16] “Two Soldiers Wounded in Jowhar Grenade Attack,” May 18, 2013. Available:
[17] “5 Arrested with Explosives in Dar es Salaam,” Sabahi Online, May 19, 2013. Available:
[18] “Paramilitary Officer Killed in North Eastern Kenya,” Sabahi Online, May 19, 2013. Available:
[19] “2 Terror Suspects Killed, 6 Police Officers Injured in Nairobi,” Sabahi Online, May 19, 2013. Available:
[20] “Several People Arrested After a Security Operation in Mogadishu,” Shabelle, May 20, 2013. Available:
[21] “Ahlu Sunna Says it Killed al Shabaab Leaders in Gedo,” Bar Kulan, May 18, 2013. Available:
[22] “Somaliland Marks 22 Years of Independence,” Al Jazeera, May 18, 2013. Available:
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