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: Sana’a court sentences ten AQAP militants; Abyani Popular Committees apprehend Syrian AQAP leader in Zinjibar district, Abyan governorate; chief of military police in Ma’rib governorate clashes with soldiers from the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade in Ma’rib, Ma’rib governorate; tribal militants kidnap two Egyptians in Abyan governorate; protests at Air Force base in Sana’a governorate turn violent; gunmen close post office in al Bayda, al Bayda governorate; fuel tanks explode at al Anad Air Force base in Lahij governorate; private secretary of the Yemeni minister of state kidnapped in Sana’a; security suspects detained, weapons seized during crackdown in Ibb, Ibb governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack Dhobley, Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair releases audio message; al Shabaab militants kill two in Buulo Sheekh, Lower Shabelle region; unknown attackers throw grenades at police post in Galkayo, Mudug region; Ugandan officials announce capture of al Shabaab militants; main roads closed in Mogadishu; Somalia Conference begins in London, England

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Specialized Criminal Division in Sana’a sentenced ten members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to jail on May 7.[1]
  • The popular committees in Abyan reportedly apprehended a Syrian AQAP leader in Zinjibar district, Abyan governorate on May 6.[2] 
  • Col. Saeed al Nu’aimi, chief of military police in Ma’rib governorate, exchanged fire with soldiers from the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade on May 6 at a security checkpoint on the outskirts of Ma’rib, Ma’rib governorate. Al Nu’aimi objected to being frisked, and his bodyguards were prevented from entering the city, which led to the gunfight.  At least three people were wounded.[3]
  • Militants from the al Bin Dahan tribe kidnapped two Egyptian nationals in Abyan governorate on May 6. The militants are hoping to pressure the government to arrest a tribesman accused of killing one of the al Bin Dahan.[4]
  • Members of the Air Force police protested at the Yemeni Air Force and Air Defense headquarters at Daylami base in Sana’a governorate on May 7, demanding better salaries. The protests turned violent, however, after the police clashed with the chief of staff and his guards, which prompted security forces and military police to surround the premises. Four people were wounded.[5]
  • Gunmen forcibly closed the post office in al Bayda, al Bayda governorate on May 7, demanding that local authorities apprehend the militants who killed a postal official in an armed ambush and looting on April 30.[6]
  • Jet fuel tanks exploded at al Anad Air Force base in Lahij governorate on May 6.[7]
  • Mohammed Ali al Washli, the private secretary of the Yemeni Minister of State, was kidnapped by gunmen in Sana’a on May 6.[8]
  • Yemeni forces detained five security suspects and seized twenty weapons in Ibb, Ibb governorate on May 6 as a part of the ongoing security crackdown.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked the town of Dhobley, Lower Jubba region on May 7. Al Shabaab fighters took over part of the town before being repelled by Somali and AMISOM troops. Casualty numbers from the incident are not known.[10]
  • Al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair “Godane” released an audio message on May 4. The message called for continued attacks against government and AMISOM forces and described the May 7 London conference on Somalia as a “conspiracy.”[11]
  • Al Shabaab militants killed an ex-politician and his grandson in Buulo Sheekh, Lower Shabelle region on May 5. The two men were shot in their homes and their bodies were tortured and burned. The reason behind the attack is not known.[12]
  • Unknown attackers threw grenades at a police post in Galkayo, Mudug region on May 7, injuring five Puntland soldiers. One of those injured is the deputy regional police commander. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and no arrests have been made.[13]
  • Ugandan officials announced on May 6 that Ugandan police arrested al Shabaab militants intending to carry out attacks in the country. Officials would not release the number of militants arrested but said that they are being interrogated.[14]
  • Several main roads in Mogadishu were closed on May 7 in order to increase security in the city.[15]
  • The Somalia conference in London, England began on May 7 with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcoming the international community. Somalia is looking to garner greater international support and aid to create solid infrastructure in the country. Leaders from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Turkey, along with other countries and international organizations, are in attendance.[16]       

[1] “Ten al-Qaeda elements sentenced to 3-4 years in jail,” SABA, May 7, 2013. Available:
[2] “AQAP leader with Syrian citizenship arrested in Abyan,” Barakish, May 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Clashes between the Ma’rib military police commander and a checkpoint, leaving several injured,” Barakish, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Tribesmen in Abyan kidnap Egyptian engineers,” Al Masdar Online, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Clashes at Daylami Air Force base leave four wounded, military police surround the Air Force headquarters in Sana’a with armored vehicles,” Akhbar al Sa’ah, May 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Gunmen close the post office in al Bayda, demanding the arrest of the killers of a local official,” Al Masdar Online, May 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Explosions shake al Anad Air Force base,” Mareb Press, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Gunmen kidnap the Minister of State’s secretary in central Sana’a,” Barakish, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Ibb: 5 security suspects detained, 20 firearms seized,” Mareb Press, May 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] “Al Shabaab Ambushes Dhobley Town,” Bar Kulan, May 7, 2013. Available:
[11] “Shabaab Leader Calls for Attacks, Speaks on London Conference,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 6, 2013. Available at SITE.
[12] “Somalia: Al Shabaab Assassinates Retired Somali Politician in Lower Shabelle Region,” Raxanreeb, May 7, 2013. Available:
[13] “Five soldiers Injured in Galkayo Explosion,” Bar Kulan, May 7, 2013. Available:
[14] “Police Arrest Suspected al Shabaab Terrorists,” Daily Monitor, May 7, 2013. Available:
[15] “Some Main Roads in Mogadishu Closed for Security Reasons,” Shabelle, May 7, 2013. Available:
[16] “David Cameron and Mohamud Hail ‘Progress’ in Somalia,” BBC, May 7, 2013. Available:
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