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: Yemeni security forces seize terrain from AQAP in Habban and al Said districts in Shabwah governorate; Yemeni military engineering team clears minefield in Shabwah governorate; unidentified gunmen bomb oil pipeline and attack power lines in Ma’rib; Yemeni security officials announce death of two AQAP militants in Yemeni military offensive

Horn of Africa: unidentified assailants target local Somali government soldiers in Lower Shabelle region; unidentified gunmen ambush Jubbaland security forces in Lower Jubba region; police detain suspected al Shabaab militants in the North Eastern Province of Kenya; U.S. warns of terror threat to Kampala, Uganda

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni security forces have reportedly gained control of a second al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) stronghold near Habban district and Qarn al Sawad village in al Said district in Shabwah governorate on May 6. This announcement follows reports that Yemeni security forces secured the previously AQAP-controlled town of al Mahfad in Abyan governorate on the same day.[1]
  • A team from the Yemeni department of military engineering cleared a minefield planted by suspected AQAP militants near al Said district in Shabwah governorate on May 6. Yemeni security sources speculated that the minefield was intended to disrupt recent operations by Yemeni security forces in the area.[2]
  • Unidentified assailants bombed Yemen’s main oil export pipeline between Ma’rib governorate and Sana’a capital twice on May 6, halting crude oil flows. Separately, unidentified gunmen attacked power lines twice in Ma’rib governorate and forced the closure of a local power plant on May 7.[3]
  • The Yemeni Department of Defense announced the death of two additional AQAP leaders on May 6, who were killed during the Yemeni military’s ongoing operation in Abyan and Shabwah governorates. The leaders were identified as Nasser Atef al Makni, known as “Picasso,” and his brother Ahmed Atef al Makni, also known as "Abu Salem.”[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unidentified assailants threw an unspecified explosive device, likely a grenade, at local Somali government soldiers in Marka in Lower Shabelle region on May 7. The blast injured two soldiers, prompting a security crackdown throughout the town.[5]
  • Unidentified gunmen ambushed Jubbaland security forces in Kismayo in Lower Jubba region on May 7. Two gunmen fired at the patrolling security forces, killing one, before fleeing. Jubbaland security forces conducted search operations in the city after the attack but no arrests have yet been reported.[6]
  • Kenyan police detained four suspected al Shabaab militants in Wajir in the North Eastern Province of Kenya on May 7. The police raided a house in Wajir, seizing a grenade and ammunition, and arrested the four individuals, who are suspected of involvement in a May 1 attack on fuel stations in Wajir County.[7]
  • The U.S. Embassy to Uganda issued a security message to U.S. citizens in Kampala on May 6, citing a specific terror threat to places of worship in the city. The message warned that a “group of attackers” may target churches frequented by Westerners sometime during the months of May and June. Although the security message did not specify the identity of the group, al Shabaab has previously threatened Uganda and carried out attacks in Kampala.[8]

[1] “Yemen: Military Claims Sweep of 2 Qaeda Strongholds in South,” AP, May 6, 2014. Available:
[2] “Army clears minefield in Shabwa,” Saba News, May 6, 2014. Available:
[3] “Yemen's main oil export pipeline blown up,” The Guardian, May 7, 2014. Available:
[4] “The Department of Defense announced the deaths of three of the most prominent leaders of al-Qaeda,” News Yemen, May 6, 2014. Available:
[5] “Bomb blast in Marka wounds 2 soldiers,” Shabelle News, May 7, 2014. Available:
[8] “U.S. warns of plot to attack churches in Ugandan capital,” Reuters, May 7, 2014. Available:
“Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Potential for a Terrorist Attack in Kampala May/June 2014,” U.S. Embassy Kampala, May 6, 2014. Available:
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