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: Air strike targets AQAP stronghold in al Jubah district, Ma’rib governorate; Yemeni authorities claim that interdicted boat was carrying 20,000 Turkish-made pistols; security forces apprehend two blacklisted Tihami Movement supporters in Sana’a governorate; gunmen kill Yemeni soldier in al Dhaleh, al Dhaleh governorate; local authorities announce month-long security campaign in Ibb, Ibb governorate; residents, soldiers clash in Bayt Bus, Sana’a governorate over land seizures; gunmen, security forces clash in Cairo district, Taiz governorate in land dispute; prominent Southern Movement leader withdraws from National Dialogue Conference (NDC); President Hadi pledges to release jailed Yemeni journalist

Horn of Africa: Suicide bomber drives car full of explosives into vehicles carrying Qatari envoys; Somali troops take Tiyeglow, Bakool; bomb targets church in Arusha, Tanzania; Somali police arrest 25, confiscate munitions in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; grenade attack kills Puntland soldier in Galkayo, Mudug region; Kismayo, Lower Jubba region residents ask for government help in securing city; local administration bans firearms in Balanbale, Galgudud; Intergovernmental Authority on Development releases communiqué on May 3 summit

Yemen Security Brief

  • An al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) stronghold in al Jubah district, Ma’rib governorate was the target of an air strike on May 5. There are conflicting reports about whether it was launched by the U.S. or Yemen. During a meeting with a French foreign ministry official in Sana’a the next day, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi announced that AQAP had failed to establish an “Islamic emirate” in the south.[1]
  • Contrary to previous reports, Yemeni authorities officially announced on May 4 that the fishing boat interdicted in the Mandab Strait was carrying 20,000 Turkish-made pistols.[2]
  • Security forces in Sana’a governorate apprehended two of the 21 Tihami Movement supporters blacklisted by the Interior Ministry last month on May 6. Although President Hadi reversed the Interior Ministry’s decision on April 20, the two suspects were taken to a local jail.[3]
  • Gunmen thought to be affiliated with the Southern Movement shot and killed a Yemeni soldier in al Dhaleh, al Dhaleh governorate on May 6.[4]
  • Local authorities announced that security and military forces were deployed in Ibb, Ibb governorate on May 5 in a joint, month-long campaign to curb arms proliferation.[5]
  • Violent clashes broke out between residents and soldiers loyal to Abdulghani Jameel, the governor of Sana’a, in Bayt Bus, Sana’a governorate on May 6 after Jameel attempted to seize local land.[6]
  • Armed clashes broke out between security forces and gunmen in Cairo district, Taiz governorate on May 5 in a dispute in land dispute.[7]
  • Ahmed bin Farid al Suraimah, a leader of the Southern Movement, withdrew from the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) on May 4, citing a “plot against the southern cause.” Al Suraimah presided over the committee tasked with solving the southern question.[8]
  • President Hadi pledged to release Abdulelah Haider Shaye, a Yemeni journalist who has been in prison since 2010 on terrorism-related charges, during a meeting with a team from the United Nations and journalists on May 6. President Hadi was close to pardoning Shaye in early 2011, but President Barack Obama reportedly intervened to stop the release process.[9] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A suicide bomber drove his car packed with explosives into two vehicles carrying a Qatari delegation at the K4 junction in Mogadishu on May 5. Those in the Qatari delegation were unharmed but at least 11 people, civilians and security forces, were killed in the explosion and 20 more were injured. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombing. Somali and international leaders have strongly condemned the attack. Separately, a roadside bomb detonated in Daynile district ahead of Somalia President’s Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visit to the area.[10] 
  • Somali troops captured Tiyeglow, Bakool region on May 3. Somali soldiers engaged in a gun battle with al Shabaab militants before successfully taking the town. Ten people were killed in the fighting.[11]
  • A bomb targeted a Catholic church in Arusha, Tanzania on May 5 killing at least two people and wounding 30 others. Four Saudi Arabian nationals and two Tanzanians have been arrested in connection with the bombing but the reason behind the attack is not known.[12]
  • Somali police conducted security operations in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on May 5. Twenty-five suspected al Shabaab militants were arrested and an assortment of munitions was recovered.[13]
  • An unknown attacker threw a grenade at a police post in Galkayo, Mudug region on May 3 killing one Puntland soldier. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and no arrests have yet been made.[14]
  • Residents in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region are calling on the Somali government to intervene to prevent rising insecurity in the city. Locals are accusing the Ras Kamboni militia of carrying out acts of violence against citizens.[15]
  • The local administration in Balanbale, Galgudud region banned illegal firearms in the town on May 4, and said extreme action would be taken against those found in possession of illegal guns.[16]
  • The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) released a communiqué on May 3, summarizing the deliberations of the summit convened on that day. IGAD members pledged continued support to Somalia both for both political reconciliation processes and security concerns.[17]     

[1] “Dead and wounded in an air raid on an AQAP stronghold in Ma’rib,” Al Tagheer, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Air strike targets suspected AQAP gathering,” Akhbar al Yom, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemeni President receives the head of the Middle East directorate of the French foreign ministry,” Al Motamar, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Yemen reveals new details about the arms shipment seized in Taiz: Contained 20,000 Turkish pistols,” Al Masdar Online, May 4, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Security in Sana'a caught 2 of the 21 ‘most wanted’ Tihami Movement supporters,” Al Tagheer, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Urgent: Gunmen kill soldier in downtown al Dhaleh,” Barakish, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Security forces deployed in Ibb governorate to prevent arms proliferation,” Al Masdar Online, May 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Urgent: Violent clashes south of the capital Sana’a,” Barakish, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Armed clashes between security forces and gunmen in downtown Taiz,” Mareb Press, May 5, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Yemen separatist quits national dialogue over ‘plot,’” AFP, May 5, 2013. Available:
[9] “Yemeni president pledges to release journalist Abdulelah Haider,” Al Masdar Online, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] “Suicide Bomber Targets Qatari Delegation in Somalia, 8 Dead,” CNN, May 6, 2013. Available:
“Details: Mogadishu Suicide Blast Kills 11 and 20 Others Wounded, Officials Said,” Raxanreeb, May 5, 2013. Available:
“HSMPress1 Tweet: Claims Attack on Qatari Convoy,” HSM Press 1, May 5, 2013. Available:
“President Hassan Sheikh Condemns Today Attacks During His Visit to Daynile District,” Shabelle, May 5, 2013. Available:
“Somalia: UN Special Representative Condemns Suicide Attack in Somalia Capital,” Raxanreeb, May 5, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somalia: Government Forces Capture Tiyeeglow Town in Southern Somalia region,” Raxanreeb, May 4, 2013. Available:
[12] “30 Wounded in Blast at Arusha Church,” Sabahi Online, May 5, 2013. Available:
“Terrorist' Attack on Tanzanian Church Leaves Two Dead” AFP, May 6, 2013. Available at WNC.
[13] “25 Arrested in Beledweyne Over Insecurity,” Bar Kulan, May 5, 2013. Available:
[14] “Grenade Attack Kills Soldier in Galkayo Town,” Bar Kulan, May 4, 2013. Available:
[15] “Residents of Kismayo Cry Over Insecurity,” Shabelle, May 4, 2013. Available:
[16] “Illegal Weapons Banned in Balanbal, Bar Kulan, May 4, 2013. Available:
[17] “Communiqué of the 21st Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of IGAD,” IGAD Office, May 3, 2013. Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Jun '13
May '13
Apr '13