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 withdraw from Kataf; al Houthis use truck-mounted multiple rocket launcher on Damaj; Salafists impose siege on Sa’ada; Yemeni army shells mountains in al Bayda; popular committee leader survives assassination attempt in Abyan; Salafists and al Houthis sign secret truce; Yemeni military in Sa’ada remains neutral

Horn of Africa: Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of supporting al Shabaab; a landmine kills two in Galgudud region; courts force Barclays Bank to keep money transfers to Somalia open; UNSOM congratulates Somali and Jubbaland officials on reconciliation conference

Yemen Security Brief

  • Salafist fighters inflicted heavy losses on al Houthis, forcing them to withdraw from Kataf, Sa’ada governorate on November 6.[1]
  • Al Houthis used the BM-21 Grad launch vehicle for the first time to launch rockets on Damaj, Sa’ada governorate on November 7. The BM-21 is a truck-mounted multiple rocket launcher that can fire forty 122mm rockets in twenty seconds.[2]
  • Salafist militias from Islah and the Muslim Brotherhood set up a checkpoint in Haradh, Hajjah governorate to prevent food and fuel from reaching Sa’ada. They have also set up blockades in al Salmat and Khalaq, al Jawf governorate and on other main roads leading to Sa’ada.[3]
  • The Yemeni army shelled suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) hiding places in the mountain range between Lawder and Mukayras, al Bayda governorate on November 7. Yemen fighter planes also reportedly launched raids on AQAP sites near Mahfad, Abyan governorate.[4]
  • A popular committee leader from the al Haythmi family survived an assassination attempt in Mawdiya, Abyan governorate on November 7. AQAP militants planted an improvised explosive device (IED) in his family’s shop, but no one was injured by the explosion.[5]
  • Saada Online reported that it had seen a secret agreement drafted to end the fighting between al Houthis and Salafists in Sa’ada. Both sides signed the document.[6]
  • A Yemeni Defense Ministry official said that all military units stationed in Sa’ada remain neutral. He said the military is working to end the conflict without supporting any party and their main mission is operating ambulances and evacuating wounded from both sides to hospitals.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Ethiopian officials accused the Eritrean government of supporting al Shabaab on November 7.[8]
  • A landmine killed two civilians driving through Marergur, Galgudud region on November 7.[9]
  • Somali money transfer service Dahabshiil won an injunction preventing Barclays Bank from ending its remittance services from the UK to Somalia on November 5. Barclays planned to end money transfers to Somalia over fears of financing al Shabaab.[10]
  • The Special Representative of the Chairperson of UNSOM congratulated the Somali Federal Government and Jubba Administration for a successful Jubba Reconciliation Conference in Mogadishu on November 7.[11]

[1] “Al Houthis Falter in Front of Damaj Supporters,” Mareb Press, November 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Breaking:  First Time al Houthis Shell Damaj With Grad Rockets,” Hour News, November 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“9k51 BM-21 Grad (Hail),” FAS, June 19, 1999. Available:
[3] “Al houthis Under Seige,” Khabar Agency, November 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “The Army Bombs Mountain Range Between Mukayras and Lawder and Air Raids on Lawder,” Barakish, November 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Leader of Popular Committee in Mawdiya Survives Assassination Attempt,” Khabar Agency, November 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Saada Online: Published Documents of Presidential Mechanisms to Solve the Conflict  in Damaj and Signatures of the Parties,” Saada Online, November 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Ministry of Defense: Armed Forces in Sa’ada are Neutral and Do Not Support Any Part,” Honahadhrmout, November 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Ethiopia accuses neighboring Eritrea of supporting al Shabaab,” Bar Kulan, November 7, 2013. Available:
[9] “Landmine explosion kills two in Galgadud,” Bar Kulan, November 7, 2013. Available:
[10] “Somali remittances granted reprieve,” BBC, November 5, 2013. Available:
[11] “Annadif welcomes the conclusion of Jubba conference,” Bar Kulan, November 7, 2013. Available:
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