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: U.S. government admits to killing three Americans in Yemen; gunmen attack power lines in Nihm, Sana’a governorate; kidnapped Southern Movement leader and National Dialogue Conference member released; hundreds protest in front of President Hadi’s residence in Sana’a; drug smuggler kills border guard in Haradh district, Hajjah governorate; security forces, gunmen clash in Ma’rib city, Ma’rib governorate; senior Turkish official announces efforts to curb weapons smuggling into Yemen; Hadi delivers address on National Unity Day; Qatari emir congratulates Hadi on National Unity Day

Horn of Africa: Unknown gunmen kill civilian in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region; Ethiopia denies involvement in Jubbaland political process; International Committee of the Red Cross sends envoys to Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; African Union leaders deny accuracy of UN casualty reports; Puntland military court sentences seven suspected militants to death in Garowe, Nugaal region; Somali parliament removes motion against Somali prime minister; African Union prepares to celebrate 50th anniversary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on May 22 acknowledging, for the first time, that the U.S. government had killed three American nationals—Samir Khan, Anwar al Awlaki and his fifteen-year-old son—in drone strikes in Yemen.[1]
  • Gunmen attacked the Ma’rib-Sana’a power lines in Nihm, Sana’a governorate on May 23, knocking the Ma’rib gas station out of service for the sixth time in four days.[2]
  • Mohammed Salem ‘Akoush, a southern leader and member of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) who was kidnapped on May 20, was released on May 22 following tribal mediation.[3]
  • Hundreds protested in front of Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s residence in Sana’a on May 23 against the proliferation of weapons across the country. This comes one week after tribal gunmen killed two youths in Sana’a.[4]
  • A Yemeni border guard was shot and killed on May 22 in Haradh district, Hajjah governorate. He was attempting to stop two drug smugglers from crossing the border into Saudi Arabia.[5]
  • Security forces and gunmen exchanged fire in Ma’rib city, Ma’rib governorate on May 22 after the gunmen were prevented from bringing their weapons into the city. One person was killed and two others were wounded.[6]
  • A senior Turkish official announced on May 22 that Ankara will take legal action against those people who are found facilitating the illegal transfer of weapons to Yemen.[7]
  • President Hadi called on the Yemeni people to come together in the NDC process during a speech marking the anniversary of the 1990 North-South unification on May 22.[8]
  • The Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani congratulated President Hadi on the occasion of National Unity Day in a May 22 cable.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unknown gunmen shot and killed a civilian in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on May 22. The motive was reportedly clan-related and the shooters were not caught.[10]
  • The spokesperson for the Ethiopian prime minister said that the Ethiopian government had no involvement in the Jubbaland political process in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region and was not supporting any political figure in the disputes.[11]
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross sent envoys to meet with government officials and locals in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on May 23.[12]
  • African Union leaders denied the United Nations report which stated that 3,000 African Union forces have been killed in Somalia since 2007. Spokesman Ali Aden Humad said that the number is less than 500 fighters killed since 2007.[13]
  • A Puntland military court sentenced seven suspected militants to death in Garowe, Nugaal region on May 23. The men were convicted in the February 15 murder of an Islamist leader in Garowe.[14]
  • The Somali Parliament retracted its motion targeting the effectiveness of Somali Prime Minster Abdi Farah Shirdon.[15]
  • The African Union is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Ceremonies will be held in Addis Ababa on May 25.[16]    

[1] Julian E. Barnes, Evan Perez, Adam Entous, “Obama Restarts Bid to Close Guantanamo,” Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2013. Available:
[2] “Sixth attack in four days; Ma’rib gas station taken out of service,” Barakish, May 23, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “‘Akoush released three days after being kidnapped,” Barakish, May 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Protest in front of President’s home against the spread of arms in main cities,” Al Masdar Online, May 23, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Soldier killed by drug smuggler on the Yemeni-Saudi border,” Al Masdar Online, May 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “3 killed and wounded in a clash between security forces and gunmen in Ma’rib,” Mareb Press, May 23, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Turkey blames weapons smuggling on organized crime,” Yemen Post, May 22, 2013. Available:
[8] “Hadi: Unity is the greatest achievement in the history of Yemen and the youth revolution came to right the path,” Mareb Press, May 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemen celebrates Unity Day,” Yemen Post, May 22, 2013. Available:
[9] “Emir greets Yemeni president,” The Peninsula Qatar, May 22, 2013. Available:
[10] “A Man Killed in Clan Affiliated Revenge near Jowhar Town,” Bar Kulan, May 23, 2013. Available:
[11] “Ethiopian Government Denies Jubbaland Involvement,” Bar Kulan, May 23, 2013. Available:
[12] “ICRC Delegation Visits Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, May 23, 2013. Available:
[13] “AMISOM Spokesman Refutes Casualty Numbers, Outlines Long-Term Plans,” Sabahi Online, May 22, 2013. Available:
[14] “Somalia: Puntland Court Issues Death Sentences for Islamic Mufti Killers,” Garowe Online, May 23, 2013. Available:
[15] “PM Welcomes Progress in Parliament and Outlines Road Ahead on Jubabland and Somaliland,” Shabelle, May 23, 2013. Available:
[16] “AU Celebrates 50th Anniversary in Addis Ababa,” Bar Kulan, May 23, 2013. Available:
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