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: AQAP promises revenge on al Houthis; commander of the Fourth Military Region survives assassination attempt; security forces shoot southern protestors; al Houthis shoot civilians in Damaj

Horn of Africa: Pro-Shabaab magazine releases Westgate attack issue; Somalia agrees to repatriate 500,000 Somali refugees in Kenya; tensions continue between Somali President and Prime Minister; Puntland general announces intention to run for president

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni journalist Abdul Razzaq al Jamal posted an Arabic-language transcript of an unreleased al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) video to his Facebook page on November 12. The video, entitled “A Word About the Aggression on Damaj,” featured AQAP religious official Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari. He noted that the killing of a Muslim is “the greatest of great sins.” Nadhari noted that the the al Houthis’ attack on the Salafist school, Dar al Hadith, was criminal, that AQAP would stand by its Sunni brothers in Damaj and other areas such as Kitaf, Amran, Hajjah, al Jawf and Ibb, and that the Yemeni government’s lack of response betrayed the people. AQAP promised that the al Houthis’ “crimes against the Sunni people” would be met with punishment.[1]
  • The Commander of the Fourth Military Region, Muhammad Mahmoud al Subaihi, survived an assassination attempt in Mansoura, Aden governorate on November 13. Gunmen fired on his car and managed to kill one of al Subaihi’s body guards. Al Subaihi has been the target of previous AQAP assassination attempts.[2]
  • Southerners protested in Aden and other southern governorates on November 13. Security forces shot at protestors in Cairo and Mansoura cities, wounding four people.[3]
  • The al Houthis shot an elderly man going to the mosque to pray in Damaj, Sa’ada governorate on November 13. An al Houthi sniper also killed a 10-year-old boy in Damaj on November 12.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A pro-al Shabaab magazine, “Gaidi Mtaani” (Terrorism Street), published its fourth issue focusing on the Westgate attack on November 11. The issue includes articles discussing the Westgate attack, as well as a translation of al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair’s warning to Kenya.[5]
  • Kenya and Somali signed an agreement to repatriate approximately 500,000 Somali refugees living in Kenya over the next three years, on November 11.[6]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud reportedly requested that Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon step down over disagreements on the constitution. PM Shirdon has refused, according to reports.[7]
  • The head of Puntland’s armed forces, General Abdullahi Ali Mire, declared his intention to run in Puntland’s 2014 presidential elections.[8]

[1] “AQAP Official Pledges Revenge Against Houthis for Violence in Dammaj,” SITE, November 12, 2013. Available at SITE.
“Al Qaeda in Yemen Vows Revenge for Shi’ite Rebel Attacks on Salafis,” Reuters, November 13, 2013. Available:
[2] “Assassination Attempt on Commander of the Fourth Military Region,” Yemen Saeed, November 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Aden: Violence by the Authorities Fells Four Demonstrators and Paralyzes the Movement in Different Governorates,” Sada Aden, November 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Al Houthis Kill Elderly Man in Damaj Today,” Saada Online, November 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Shabaab Supporters Focus on Westgate in 4th Issue of ‘Gaidi Mtaani,’” SITE, November 12, 2013. Available at SITE.
[6] “Half a Million Somali Refugees in Kenya to Return Home Over Three Years,” All Africa, November 11, 2013. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Prime Minister Asked to Step Down,” Garowe Online, November 12, 2013. Available:
[8] “Puntland Security Chief Shows Interest in Upcoming Presidential Polls,” Radio Risaala, November 13, 2013. Available:
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