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: Conflicting information about status of Second Military District headquarters in Hadramawt; al Houthis kill soldiers in Sa’ada governorate; security officer assassinated in Hadramawt governorate;clashes in Shabwah; Saudi source says Yemeni security forces foiled plot against Yemeni president; the New York Times reports that leaks damaged U.S. intelligence collection; U.S. Ambassador gives farewell address

Horn of Africa: Somali forces make mass arrests in Mogadishu; Barclays extends remittance deadline to October 16; Kenyan president affirmed Kenyan forces will remain in Somalia; purported Westgate mastermind flees to Somalia; Kenyan Parliamentary Defense Committee pushes to close Somali refugee camps in Kenya; gunmen kill Somali refugees in Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • There are conflicting reports about whether the Second Military District headquarters in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate has been secured. Sources reported on September 30 that Yemeni security forces had freed the hostages. However, the AFP reported on October 1 that gunmen still held hostages on the third floor of the headquarters building.[1]
  • Al Houthi gunmen killed two soldiers and wounded two more at a checkpoint in Kahlan, Sa’ada governorate on September 30. They killed one of the soldiers because he was listening to music on his phone. [2]
  • Gunmen riding a motorcycle shot and killed a criminal investigation division (CID) officer in Shihr, Hadramawt governorate on September 30.[3]
  • Saudi Arabia’s Okaz newspaper reported that Yemeni authorities foiled a plot to overthrow President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The plot was scheduled for September 26 and was reportedly led by officers from the central security service. The source claimed that the Rabat Street bombing on September 26 was supposed to be a diversion to carry out the coup.[4]
  • The New York Times reported on September 29 that U.S. officials claimed leaked information about an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) plot in August damaged intelligence collection. AQAP operatives reportedly stopped using communication lines that the U.S. government was monitoring after it was revealed that the U.S. intercepted messages between AQAP leader Nasser al Wahayshi and al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri. [5]
  • Local sources reported the sound of heavy gunfire and explosions in al Nashima, Shabwah governorate on October 1. No further details were reported at press time, but the sources anticipated that the government would report an AQAP attack.[6]
  • U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein gave a farewell address in Yemen on September 28. He praised the efforts at the national dialogue conference (NDC) and the improvement in Yemeni-U.S. relations during his tenure.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali police arrested dozens during a security sweep in Shibis, Karan, and Heliwa districts of Mogadishu on October 1. Officials claimed to have arrested members of al Shabaab during the operation.[8] 
  • Barclays Bank extended its deadline for closing remittance accounts from the UK to Somalia to October 16, on October 1. Barclays claims that remittances fund al Shabaab, while a recent UN Study found that over forty percent of Somalia’s population receives remittances.[9]
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that Kenya Defense Forces “will not return until order is restored” in Somalia, on October 1. President Kenyatta’s proclamation came during an inter-faith prayer ceremony for the victims of the Westgate attack.[10] 
  • The reported Westgate attack mastermind, Abu Sandheere, fled from Kenya to Somalia during the mall siege, according to sources on October 1. Sandheere is a Kenyan man in his fifties.[11] 
  • Head of Kenyan Parliament’s Defense Committee Ndung’u Gethenji called for the closing of all Somali refugee camps in Kenya, on September 30. The statement is a response to the Westgate attacks, saying that the camps are used as training environments. Over 500,000 Somali refugees live in Kenya.[12] 
  • Gunmen shot and killed five Somali refugees in the UN sponsored Ifo refugee camp in the Dadaab complex in Kenya on September 29. Gunmen also wounded five Somalis by throwing a grenade into the Dagahaley refugee camp in Kenya during a different attack on the same day.[13]

[1] “Conflicting News on the End of the al Qaeda Siege on Military in Yemen,” al Jazeera, October 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Killing of Two Soldiers and Wounding of Two More by Bullets from al Houthi Gunmen in Sa’ada,” Mareb Press, September 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Assassination of Officer in CID in Shahir,” Barakish, October 1, 2013 [Arbaic]. Available:
[4] “Yemen: Coup Foiled and it’s Leaders Seized,” Okaz, September 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Qaeda Plot Leak Has Undermined U.S. Intelligence,” New York Times, September 30, 2013. Available:
[6] “Violent Clashes in al Nashima, Shabwah, Between Army Factions and Extremist Gunmen,” Sada Aden, October 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “U.S. Ambassador’s Farewell: ‘Yemen Will Always Occupy a Special Place in my Heart,’” U.S. Embassy Sana’a Press Release, September 28, 2013. Available:
[8] “Early Security Operations Conducted in some suburbs of Mogadishu,” Shabelle, October 1, 2013. Available:
[9] “Barclays’ reprieve for Dahabshiil welcomed by Ofxam,” BBC, October 1, 2013. Available:
[10] “Kenyan president vows to keep troops in Somalia,” Shabelle, October 1, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somalia: Westgate attack mastermind flees to Somalia, Says Kenya media,” Raxanreeb, October 1, 2013. Available:
[12] “Westgate attack: MPs to call for refugee camps to close,” BBC, September 30, 2013. Available:   
[13] “Somalia: Five killed in Kenya refugee camps,” Raxanreeb, September 30, 2013. Available:
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