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: Military official sent to solve crisis in 102nd Brigade in Bani Hushaysh, Sana’a governorate; gunmen kidnap two South African nationals in Taiz; IED targets military truck in Wadi Ayn, Hadramawt; IED targets military truck in Shihar, Hadramawt; gunmen attack electrical lines in Damashqa, Ma’rib; reported drone strike kills two in Rada’a, al Bayda; suspected AQAP gunmen assassinate special forces officer in al Qatar, Hadramawt; gunmen attack security administration building in al Faqih, al Hudaydah; clashes erupt between Islah Party and Southern Movement supporters in Sheikh Othman, Aden

Horn of Africa: Suspect in May 22 British soldier killing has ties to al Shabaab; al Shabaab militants launch heavy artillery attacks on Kismayo airport, Lower Jubba region; IGAD announces support for Somali government in Jubbaland administration dispute; Somali prime minister does not accept Jubbaland presidential declarations, Somali president accuses Kenyan troops of misconduct; Kenyan and Burundian governments announce support for Somali government in Jubbaland political disputes; Jubbaland administration warns Somali government against intervention; al Shabaab conducts attacks in Garissa, Kenya; Somali troops conduct security operations in Adair district, Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM bases outside Dhobley, Lower Jubba region; explosion targets Ethiopian troops in Baidoa, Bay region; Kenyan police kill al Shabaab terror suspect in Mombasa, Kenya; al Shabaab militants attack Somali troops outside Jowhar, Middle Shabelle; unknown gunmen shoot and kill Somali solider in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab posts response to British soldier killing on Twitter; al Shabaab releases video of alleged spy confessing; al Shabaab officials says all al Shabaab fighters who oppose leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair should be killed

Yemen Security Brief

  • The leader of the Reservist Forces, Ali Ali al Jaifi, visited the 102nd Brigade on May 26 in al Jumayma in Bani Hushaysh, Sana’a governorate after brigade members expelled their commander over delays in salary payments. Jaifi appointed Brigadier General Hamid al Tawiti the new brigade commander.[1]
  • Gunmen kidnapped two South African nationals in Taiz city on May 27. Yemeni Member of Parliament Abd al Hamid al Batra reportedly told the press that his men took the foreigners for leverage in a land dispute with the government.[2]
  • An improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a military vehicle accompanying gas trucks wounded two soldiers of the 37th Armored Brigade and an officer in Houra, Wadi al Ayn, Hadramawt governorate on May 27.[3]
  • An IED targeting a military truck killed two policemen in al Shihr, Hadramawt governorate on May 25 according to a Xinhua report.[4]
  • Gunmen attacked electrical wires in al Damashqa, Ma’rib governorate on May 27, causing blackouts in Sana’a and other cities.[5]
  • The Associated Press reported that an air strike, believed to be an American drone, killed two suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) members in Rada’a, al Bayda governorate on May 27.[6]
  • Suspected AQAP gunmen shot and killed Captain Majed Muttair of Yemen’s Special Forces in al Qatar, Hadramawt on May 26.[7]
  • Gunmen attacked a security administration building in the al Faqih district of al Hudaydah on May 24, stealing a number of weapons and freeing prisoners held on criminal charges. One civilian was killed in the crossfire.[8]
  • Clashes reportedly broke out between Islah Party and Southern Movement supporters in the Sheikh Othman district of Aden city on May 25 after an Islah event supporting national unity.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • One of the two main suspects in the May 22 killing of a British soldier in London, England had ties to the Somali terrorist organization al Shabaab. Michael Adebolajo was arrested in Kenya in 2010 while attempting to cross the border into Somali to join al Shabaab.[10]
  • Al Shabaab militants launched a heavy artillery attack on the airport in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on May 27. Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi was with a Somali government delegation at the airport during the attack. Somali troops returned fire and al Shabaab militants fled.[11]
  • The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) announced after a summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 24, that it would side with the Somali government in the ongoing dispute over the Jubbaland administration.[12]
  • Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon reiterated a previous statement that the Somali government would not accept any of the Jubbaland administrations so far announced. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud accused the Kenyan Army, operating under AMISOM, of refusing to provide security to a visiting Somali government delegation.[13]
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced during the IGAD meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 24 that there would be cooperation between the Kenyan and Somali governments on the Jubbaland administration question. Kenyatta said he supports the Somali government’s plan for regional administrations. The government of Burundi also said it supported the Somali government’s plan to create regional administrations.[14]
  • A spokesman for a new Jubbaland administration warned the Somali government against intervening in the political process, saying they would be willing to go to war if Somali troops enter Jubbaland.[15]
  • Al Shabaab militants carried out two attacks against Kenyan police in Garissa, Kenya on May 25. The attacks targeted a police camp and a border patrol police camp in the town. Two officers were killed and three civilians were killed. At least two Kenyan police officials were abducted in the attack. Kenyan troops are currently tracking down the kidnapped officers.[16] 
  • Somali troops conducted security operations in Wadajir district, Mogadishu on May 27 and arrested several suspected al Shabaab militants.[17]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked an AMISOM base outside Dhobley, Lower Jubba region on May 26. Casualties are reported but exact numbers are not known.[18]
  • An explosion in Baidoa, Bay region targeted Ethiopian troops on May 25. At least 15 civilians were reportedly injured and Ethiopian gunfire was heard following the blast.[19]
  • Kenyan police killed a suspected al Shabaab militant and Muslim cleric in Mombasa, Kenya on May 26. Khalid Ahmed trained with al Shabaab in Somalia before returning to Kenya. Several officers were reportedly injured during a shootout with the victim.[20]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked Somali troops outside Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on May 27. Casualties from the incident are not known.[21]
  • Unknown gunmen shot and killed a Somali soldier in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region on May 28. The shooters fled the scene and no group has claimed responsibility.[22]
  • Al Shabaab released Twitter posts commenting on the May 22 murder of a British soldier in London, England. Al Shabaab said the act was “inevitable” due to the British government’s “atrocities against Islam.”[23]
  • Al Shabaab released a video on May 21 showing the confession of an alleged spy. In the video the suspected spy, Ishaq Omar Hassan, confessed to helping kill Bilal al Berjawi and Abu Uhud al Masri. According to Hassan, a relative and a CIA handler paid him to put tracking devices on the cars of the deceased, who were later killed in drone strikes.[24]
  • Al Shabaab senior official Sheikh Hassan Hussein Aden announced that any al Shabaab militant going against leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair should be killed.[25]   

[1] “Commander of the reservist forces visits the 102nd brigade to solve the issue and appoint Brigadier General al Tawiti its commander,” al Masdar Online, May 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Police: Lawmaker Holds 2 Foreigners In Yemen City,” Associated Press, May 27, 2013. Available:
[3] “Soldier and two soldiers wounded in terrorist explosion that targeted military technical  in Houra in Hadramawt Valley this evening,” 26 September, May 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Hadramawt…soldiers wounded in explosion targeting their technical in Hadramawt,” Mareb Press, May 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Explosion targets military technical in Wadi al Ayn in Hadramawt causing casualties,” Barakish Net, May 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Roadside bomb kills 2 policemen in southeast Yemen,” Xinhua, May 26, 2013. Available:
[5] “Armed men challenge Hadi and attack power lines,” al Masdar Online, May 28, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Suspected US drone kills 2 in Yemen,” Associated Press, May 27, 2013. Available:
[7] “Gunmen kill regional special forces commander in Yemen,” Reuters, May 26, 2013. Available:
[8] “Death of person and burning of military truck in attack by militants on security administrative building in al Faqih, al Hudaydah,” al Masdar Online, May 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Violent clashes between Southern Movement activists and members of the Islah Party in Aden,” Barakish Net, May 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[11] “Heavy Bombardments Rock the Kismayu Airport,” Shabelle, May 28, 2013. Available:
[12] “Communiqué of the 22nd IGAD Extra-ordinary Summit of Heads of States,” IGAD, May 24, 2013. Available:
[13] “Prime Minister Shirdon: We Will Not Accept Administrations That Are Not All Inclusive and Unbalanced,” Shabelle, May 27, 2013. Available:
“Somali President Says Kenyan Peacekeepers ‘Misbehaved,’” Shabelle, May 27, 2013. Available:
[14] Uhuru Kenyatta: We Will Support the Federal Government on the Formation of Regional Administrations,” Shabelle, May 25, 2013. Available:
“Burundi Vows to Give Support to the Federal Government on the Formation of Administrations,” Shabelle, May 27, 2013. Available:
[15] “Jubbaland Administration Warns Somali Federal Government,” Bar Kulan, May 25, 2013. Available:
[16] “Five Killed in Attack on Garissa AP Camp,” Kenyan Star, May 27, 2013. Available:
“Military Joins Search for Missing Officers,” May 27, 2013. Available:
[17] “Mogadishu-Several Arrested During Security Operations,” Shabelle, May 27, 2013. Available:
[18] “Heavy Fighting between AMISOM Troops and al Shabaab in Dhobley,” Shabelle, May 26, 2013. Available:
[19] “Explosions Target Ethiopian Troops in Baidoa,” Shabelle, May 25, 2013. Available:
[20] “Kenya Police Kill Wanted Terrorist Who Plotted Attack in Country, Had Links with al Shabaab,” Washington Post, May 26, 2013. Available:
[21] “Details on Fighting the Occurred Outskirts of Jowhar,” Radio Mustaqbal, May 27, 2012. Available:
[22] “Gunmen Kill Government Soldier Afgoye District,” Radio Mustaqbal, May 28, 2013. Available:
[23] “Shabaab Comments on London Attack, Calls Such Incidents “Inevitable,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 23, 2013. Available at SITE.
[24] “Shabaab Video of Spy’s Confession for Role in Killing of Berjawi, Abu Uhud,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 24, 2013. Available at SITE.
[25] “Sheikh Hasaan: Leaders against Godane Should Be Executed,” Bar Kulan, May 28, 2013. Available:
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