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: Al Houthis shell Damaj; Salafists repel al Houthi attack in Sa’ada; gunmen attack security forces in al Dhaleh; rival security forces clash in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Kenyan forces bomb al Shabaab camp in Hurguun, Bay region as AMISOM renews operations in southern Somalia; al Shabaab fires mortars at president’s plane; Somali police disrupt al Shabaab bombing attack; Somali military court sentences two al Shabaab militants

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthis used tanks and Katyusha rockets to shell Damaj on November 1. Soldiers wearing Ninth Brigade uniforms reportedly accompanied the attack. Salafist leader Yahya bin Ali al Hajawri said that Salafists would rather die than surrender Damaj to al Houthis. The ICRC has called for an immediate ceasefire in Damaj as the death toll reaches 40 killed over the past three days.[1]
  • Al Houthis attacked Salafist tribesmen in Kataf, Sa’ada governorate on October 31. Eight al Houthis and two tribesmen were killed. The tribesmen recaptured Mount Jabara and seized weapons caches.[2]
  • Unknown gunmen attacked a special security forces site overlooking the entrance to al Dhaleh city on October 31. Casualties were not reported. The security director said AQAP was not likely to be behind this attack. He suspected that a criminal group that brokers state land was responsible.[3]
  • Members of the Rescue Police and Central Security Forces clashed in Quhazah, Sana’a governorate on October 31. Two people were wounded.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Kenyan AMISOM forces carried out an aerial bombing operation that destroyed an al Shabaab camp and killed a number of militants in Hurguun, Bay region on October 31.[5] The attack occurred after AMISOM announced renewed operations against al Shabaab in Middle Jubba, Lower Jubba, and Bay regions of Somalia on October 31.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants fired mortars at the Somali President’s plane as it landed in Kismayo on October 31.[7]
  • Somali police forces thwarted an al Shabaab bombing attack targeting civilians in Beled Hawo, Gedo region on November 1.[8] 
  • A Somali military court sentenced two al Shabaab militants to 15 years in prison on October 31.[9]

[1] “Eye Witness: Sweep of State Tanks and People in Army Uniforms,” al Ahale Net, October 31, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Breaking: News about Participation of the Ninth Brigade with al Houthis in Storming Damaj,” Hour News, November 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemen: ICRC Calls for Immediate Humanitarian Ceasefire in Dammaj,” ICRC Press Release, November 1, 2013. Available:
“Shi’ite Rebels Attack North Yemen Town, Death Toll Rises,” Reuters, November 1, 2013. Available:
“First Comment to the al Houthis and al Hajawri on Developments of Coming Attacks in Damaj… al Hajawri Confirms Readiness to Die in Damaj and al Houthi Confirms Their Readiness for Peace Agreement,” al Ain Online, November 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Eight al Houthis Killed in Kitaf and Two Tribesmen and Others Retake al Jabara and Seize Weapons,” Hour News, November 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Armed Clashes Between Unknown Gunmen and Security Forces in Dhaleh,” al Khabar Now, October 31, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Clashes between Rescue Police and Central Security at the Entrance to South Sana’a,” Yemen Live, October 31, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Kenyan warplanes bomb al Shabaab strongholds in Somalia,” Reuters, October 31, 2013. Available:
[6] “AMISOM resumes military operations against al Shabaab,” AMISOM, October 31, 2013. Available:
[7] “Somali President’s plane targeted by al Shabaab in Kismayo,” Dalsan Radio, October 31, 2013. Available:
[8] “Security forces thwart an explosion attempt in Beled Hawo,” Bar Kulan, November 1, 2013. Available:
[9] “Somali Military court sentences al Shabaab fighters,” Bar Kulan, November 1, 2013. Available:
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