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: unidentified assailants open fire on Saudi embassy guards in Sana’a; suspected AQAP militants clash with Yemeni security forces near presidential palace in Sana’a capital; IED detonates in bus in Sana’a capital; AQAP militants ambush Yemeni Defense Minister convoy between Abyan and Shabwah governorates

Horn of Africa: Malaysian police arrest suspected al Shabaab militant in Selangor, Malaysia; al Shabaab factions clash in Middle Jubba region; Puntland security forces ambush al Shabaab militants in Bari region; al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM base in Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Unidentified assailants purportedly opened fire on guards outside the Saudi embassy in Sana’a capital on May 8. Further details regarding the incident remain unclear.[1]
  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants clashed with Yemeni security forces guarding the presidential palace in Sana’a capital on May 8. After receiving a tip about potential AQAP activity, Yemeni security forces detained a suspicious vehicle and urged the militants inside to surrender. After the militants refused, an exchange of fire ensued, killing at least four militants.[2]
  • An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in a bus in Sana’a capital on May 9, wounding 11 Yemeni police officers.[3]
  • AQAP militants ambushed Yemeni Defense Minister Major General Mohammed Nasser Ahmed’s motorcade while driving from Abyan to Shabwah governorate on May 9. Defense Minister Ahmed was returning from a visit to recently-seized AQAP territory now controlled by Yemeni security forces. Officials reported that three militants were killed, and two were wounded and captured by Yemeni security forces. Three additional Yemeni soldiers were killed in the clash.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Malaysian police detained a suspected al Shabaab militant in Bukit Aman in Malaysia’s Selangor state on May 8. The suspect, an unnamed 34-year-old East African man, was arrested by a Malaysian counterterrorism unit after Interpol issued an alert regarding the suspect’s connections to al Shabaab. The suspect is believed to have travelled to Malaysia from East Africa after al Shabaab’s September 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. A Malaysian police official stated that the suspect’s activity in the country is under investigation in order to determine the extent of a possible al Shabaab network in Malaysia.[5]
  • Two factions within al Shabaab clashed in Sakow in Middle Jubba region on May 8. Although it is unclear what provoked the recent infighting, the factions, one supporting al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and the other loyal to deputy leader Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, have clashed over internal disputes in the past. Two militants were reportedly killed in the fighting, prompting senior leaders to mediate between the factions.[6]
  • Puntland security forces ambushed al Shabaab militants in the Galgala Mountains near Boosaaso in Bari region on May 8. The security forces conducted the operation after receiving intelligence that militants were receiving a supply vehicle in the area. Two al Shabaab militants were killed and two more captured during the operation.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked an AMISOM base in Marka in Lower Shabelle region on May 8. The ensuing confrontation between the militants and AMISOM forces resulted in an unspecified number of casualties. Separately, suspected al Shabaab militants attacked a police station near Dadaab in the North Eastern Province of Kenya on May 8. The militants injured one officer before the Kenyan police repelled the attack.[8]

[1] Jalal al Jabiri, “Yemen forces kill Al-Qaeda 'kidnap leader' in night raid,” AFP, May 9, 2014. Available:
[2] “Yemeni special troops kill 4 al-Qaida suspects in Sanna,” Xinhua, May 9, 2014. Available:
[3] Jalal al Jabiri, “Yemen forces kill Al-Qaeda 'kidnap leader' in night raid,” AFP, May 9, 2014. Available:
[4] “Al-Qaida militants ambush defense minister convoy,” AP, May 9, 2014. Available:
[5] Kalbana Perimbanayagam, “Suspected terrorist arrested in special ops in Selangor,” New Straits Times, May 8, 2014. Available:
Celine Fernandez, “Malaysian Police Capture East African Terrorist Suspect on Interpol List,” The Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2014. Available:
Farik Zolkepli, “Police nab member of Somalia terror group,” The Star Online, May 9, 2014. Available:
[6] “2 killed in Al Shabaab infighting in Middle Jubba region,” Bar Kulan, May 9, 2014. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Two al-Shabab militants killed in Puntland forces Raid,” Horseed Media, May 8, 2014. Available:
[8] “Officer injured in attack on Kulan AP camp,” Daily Nation, May 8, 2014. Available:
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