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 court sentences arms smugglers; AQAP issues statement mourning Pakistani Taliban leader’s death; mediation delegation arrives in Sa’ada; al Houthis deny sectarian nature of Sa’ada conflict

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks hotel in Mogadishu; al Shabaab factions clash in Lower Shabelle region; UN approves increase in AMISOM troop mandate as Ethiopia pledges to join AMISOM; al Shabaab attacks prison in Puntland

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Yemeni court sentenced nine Yemenis to jail for smuggling weapons aboard the Iranian ship Jihan 1. The sentences ranged from one year to ten years. The Jihan was captured smuggling advanced weaponry such as surface-to-air missiles in January 2013.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) issued a statement on Jihadi forums on November 10 mourning the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, the former leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone strike on November 1. The AQAP statement called for Pakistani Muslims to fight against “American transgression.”[2]
  • A large mediation delegation sent by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in Sa’ada on November 11 to mediate a ceasefire between the Salafists and al Houthis. It is the largest delegation sent since the beginning of the conflict.[3]
  • The foreign relations official for Ansar Allah, Hassan al Hamran, said that the conflict in Kataf and Damaj is not sectarian in nature. He said the al Houthis do not want to eliminate the Salafist school Dar al Hadith or fight the Salafists. Al Hamran said the conflict is against militias of tribal leader Hussein al Ahmar who reportedly brought 7,000 foreign fighters to the region.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab targeted Mohamed Aden Kofi, the Banadir chief of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), with a car bomb at the Hotel Makka al Mukarama in Mogadishu on November 8. Kofi escaped, but four people were killed, including a former Somali ambassador. Fifteen people were also wounded.  Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack on November 9.[5]
  • The UN Security Council passed a resolution authorizing an additional 4,000 troops under the AMISOM mandate. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that Ethiopian troops will join AMISOM forces fighting al Shabaab in Somalia.[6]
  • Two rival al Shabaab factions clashed in Bulo Marer town, Lower Shabelle region on November 11. At least ten al Shabaab militants, including a senior figure named Jiinow, were killed.[7]
  • Approximately twenty suspected al Shabaab militants attacked a prison in Puntland, Somalia on November 8. The guards repelled the attack, but two guards were injured.[8]

[1] “Yemen Sentences Nine to Jail for Arms Smuggling,” Reuters, November 12, 2013. Available:
[2] “AQAP Gives Condolences for Death of Hakimulla Mehsud,” SITE, November 11, 2013. Available at SITE.
[3] “Large Mediation Committee from President Saleh Arrived in Damaj to Solve the Conflict Between al Houthis and Salafists,” Barakish, November 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Houthi Leader: 7,000 Foreign Fighters in Damaj and Islah Statement Fuels Sectarianism,” Barakish, November 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “AL Shabaab Claimed Maka A-Mukaram Hotel Attack,” Dalsan Radio, November 9, 2013. Available:
“Al Shabaab Hotel Bombing Will Not Hamper Progress: Somali Leaders,” Sabahi Online, November 11, 2013. Available:
[6] “UN Approves More Troops for AU Force in Somalia,” Voice of America, November 12, 2013. Available:
“Ethiopian Troops to Join AMISOM,” Shabelle, November 9, 2013. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Ten Killed in al Shabaab Militant Clash,” Garowe Online, November 11, 2013. Available:
[8] “Militants Attack Somalia Prison, 3 Guards Killed,” Shabelle, November 9, 2013. Available:
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