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: AQAP gunmen seize villages in Hadramawt; Yemeni government welcomes repatriation of Guantanamo detainees; Yemeni officials believe Red Sea Islands being used to traffic arms by the Iranian-backed al Houthis; Yemeni UN diplomats go on strike; attackers blow up main oil pipeline in Ma’rib governorate; Yemeni Interior Minister meets Finish ambassador; First Armored Division soldiers protest public park in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Ethiopian soldiers clash with al Shabaab in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; landmine targets Ethiopian troops in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; civilians in Ceel Adde, Hiraan region clash with al Shabaab; additional forces sent to Jowhar, Middle Shabelle; Somali and AMISOM forces conduct security operations in Aw Diinle, Bay region; three security guards killed in Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya; two men shot dead in Garissa, Kenya; Kenya allows Somalis to register for asylum again; IGAD begins summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; President Mohamud meets parliamentarians in Mogadishu; Prime Minister Shirdon announces searching of houses in Mogadishu; 50th anniversary of formation of Organization of African Unity celebrated in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Militants affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) seized control of villages surrounding the port city of al Mukalla in the governorate of Hadramawt according to a May 24 AFP report. The report resonated with a warning from the Yemeni Interior Ministry on May 23 that militants affiliated with AQAP calling themselves Ansar al Sharia were attempting to seize Ghayl Ba Wazir, northeast of al Mukalla.[1]
  • The Yemeni government welcomed President Barack Obama’s May 23 speech on U.S. counterterrorism policy. Obama announced an end to the moratorium on prisoner transfers to Yemen and discussed the U.S. drone policy. Officials at the Yemeni Human Rights ministry stated that Yemen will work together with the United States to repatriate the 56 already cleared Yemeni Guantanamo detainees by building rehabilitation centers to support their reintegration.[2]
  • High-ranking Yemeni officials said that they believe that the Yemen Red Sea islands are arms trafficking hubs being used by al Houthis supported by the Iranian government.[3]
  • Yemeni employees at the United Nations in New York, New York have gone on strike over poor management, failure to issue pay and benefits, and Yemeni Ambassador to the UN Jamal Abdullah Salal’s connections to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.[4]
  • Unknown attackers blew up Yemen’s main oil pipeline in Sirwah in central Ma’rib governorate on May 24, halting the flow of crude oil to the Red Sea.[5]
  • AQAP gunmen launched a failed attack on military positions near Tha’alib Mountain, close to Rada’a, al Bayda governorate, on May 24. Two soldiers and three militants were killed in the fighting.[6]
  • Yemeni Interior Minister Abdul Qadir Qahtan met with Finnish Ambassador to Yemen Jarno Syrjälä and discussed enhancing further the security cooperation between the two countries.[7]
  • Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi received more congratulatory cables for the 23rd anniversary of the Yemeni National Unity Day. Congratulations came from Singapore, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Togo and Bahrain.[8]
  • Dozens of Yemeni First Armored Division soldiers protested the recent military restructuring that ordered the transformation of their Military Compound into a public park located in the sixth military region.[9]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Ethiopian troops and al Shabaab fighters clashed in Beledweyne, Hiraan region when Ethiopian soldiers intervened to stop al Shabaab firing on civilians on May 23. About ten were killed in the fighting.[10]
  • A landmine targeting Ethiopian troops collecting water injured between two and three soldiers at the Irid Amin junction in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on May 24. The soldiers discharged their firearms after the explosion, but did not hit anyone. Three suspects were taken into custody.[11]
  • Residents of the area around Ceel Adde, Hiraan region attacked al Shabaab fighters on May 23, killing twelve militants. Al Shabaab gunmen had attacked a village, trying to seize civilian property, and killed civilians on May 22.[12]
  • Additional government forces were deployed near Jowhar, Middle Shabelle, according to a statement from a local administration spokesman on May 24. A civilian was killed in the area in suspected clan-related violence on May 22.[13]
  • Somali National Army and AMISOM troops conducted security operations in Aw Diinle, Bay region from May 22 to May 24.[14]
  • Gunmen killed three security guards and wounded four others at the Dadaab refugee camp near the Ifo shopping center on May 22.[15]
  • Assailants shot dead two men in Garissa, Kenya on May 24 near a police building. One of the men was thought to be a security guard.[16]
  • Kenya began again to allow Somalis to register for asylum on May 8 according to a statement from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on May 23. The last period of registration was in November 2012.[17]
  • President Sheikh Mohamud met with parliamentarians and delivered a speech encouraging the government to work for unity in Mogadishu on May 24.[18]
  • The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 24. President Mohamud attended.[19]
  • Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon told the press that Somali security forces would be conducting house to house searches in Mogadishu in the coming days on May 24.[20]
  • President Mohamud and representatives of AMISOM celebrated the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity in Mogadishu on May 23.[21]     

[1] “Al-Qaeda seizes territory in Yemen's Hadramawt,” The Daily Star, May 24 2013, Available:
“The Interior Ministry warns of control of al Qaeda over village in Hadramawt and the group’s growing activity in the area,” al Masdar Online, May 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“The Yemeni Interior Ministry: al Qaeda plot to declare Ghayl Ba Wazir Islamist Emirate,” Aden al Ghad, May 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2]  “Press Release,” Yemen Post, May 23 2013, Available:
“Gitmo detainees could be heading home to Yemen soon,” Yemen Post, May 24 2013, Available:
[3] “Yemen islands turned into trafficking hub,” Yemen Post, May 23 2013, Available:
“Yemen Seeks Maritime Arms Smuggling Crackdown,” Ashaq Al-Awsat, May 23, 2013. Available:
[4] “Yemeni diplomats at UN go on strike,” al Jazeera, May 23, 2013. Available:
[5] “Yemen's main oil pipeline attacked, pumping stopped,” Reuters, May 24 2013, Available:
[6] Ahmed al-Haj, “3 al-Qaida members, 2 soldiers dead in Yemen clash,” Associated Press, May 24, 2013. Available:
[7] “Interior Minister meets Finnish diplomat,” Yemen News Agency, May 24 2013, Available:
[8] “President Hadi congratulated on National Day,” Yemen News Agency, May 24 2013, Available:
“Foreign leaders congratulate President Hadi on National Day,” Yemen News Agency, May 24 2013, Available:
[9] “Soldiers protest new park,” Samar al-Ariqi, Yemen Times, May 23 2013, Available:
[10] “Ten dead in Somalia after al-Shabaab clash with Ethiopian troops,” UPI, May 23, 2013. Available:
“10 reported dead after Beledweyne fighting,” Shabelle Media Network, May 23, 2013. Available:
[11] “Land mine attacks hit Ethiopian troops.,” Shabelle Media Network, May 24, 2013. Available:
“Two Ethiopian soldiers wounded in Beledweyne explosion,” Bar Kulan, May 24, 2013. Available:
[12] “12 Al-Shabaab militants killed in Cel-Ade areas,” Bar Kulan, May 24, 2013. Available:
“Deadly battles in central Somalia between Al Shabaab and nomads,” Garowe Online, May 24, 2013. Available:
[13] “Troops deployed to the tension sparked areas,” Bar Kulan, May 24, 2013. Available:
[14] “Security operations in Aw-Dinle still ongoing,” Bar Kulan, May 24, 2013. Available:
[15] Cyrus Ombati, “Three watchmen killed, four injured in Ifo refugee camp in Daadab,” Standard Digital, May 24, 2013. Available:
“Gunmen kill five near Daadab camp,” KBC, May 24, 2013. Available:
[16] “Gunmen kill five near Daadab camp,” KBC, May 24, 2013. Available:
[17] “Kenya reopens registration of asylum seekers,” Xinhua Net, May 23, 2013. Available:
[18] “President Hassan calls for unity within the government,” Shabelle Media Network, May 24, 2013. Available:
[19] “IGAD foreign ministers summit opens in Addis Ababa,” Bar Kulan, May 24, 2013. Available:
[20] “PM Shirdon: We will conduct house to house security search in Mogadishu.,” Shabelle Media Network, May 24, 2013. Available:
[21] “AMISOM celebrates 50th Anniversary of the OAU,” Somalia Media Monitoring, May 23, 2013. Available:
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