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 attacks security forces in Lahij; al Houthis shell Damaj; AQAP says September 30 attack targeted joint intelligence and operations center; al Houthi plot disrupted; prisoners escape in al Bayda

Horn of Africa: African Union calls on UN for additional 6,235 troops; two Somalis die making bomb in Ethiopian capital; two al Shabaab factions clash in Gedo region; Somali forces announce major operations in Gedo and Hiraan region; al Shabaab militants kill three tailors in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) gunmen wearing security uniforms attacked a special security forces camp in al Hawta, Lahij governorate on October 14. The attack killed three soldiers and wounded others.[1]

  • Al Houthis continued shelling Damaj, Sa'ada governorate on October 14. Three students were wounded.[2]

  • AQAP issued a statement on the Shumukh al Islam forum claiming credit for the September 30 attack on the Second Military District headquarters in al Mukalla, Hadramawt, saying the target was a joint U.S.-Yemeni “intelligence and operations room” used for drone strikes. A Yemeni official denied AQAP’s claims and said the base was used to direct anti-piracy operations.[3]

  • A Yemeni official revealed on October 14 that security services arrested a cell of al Houthi militants plotting to attack the Interior Ministry building in Sana'a. The plot was supposed to be carried out last week.[4]

  • Four prisoners escaped an al Bayda prison on October 14 by drilling a tunnel underground. A source said guards were complicit in the escape.[5]

 Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The African Union (AU) endorsed a plan to increase AMISOM forces by an additional 6,235 troops and called on the UN and European Union support for the force increase at the AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on October 10. The AU also agreed to a resolution granting immunity to sitting African heads of state from International Criminal Court (ICC) trial and subsequently demanded the ICC reschedule the November trail for Kenyan President Kenyatta at the summit.[6]

  • Two Somalis living illegally in Ethiopia died while manufacturing a homemade bomb in Addis Ababa on October 14. Ethiopian officials claimed the men were planning to carry out a suicide bombing attack at a crowded football stadium in the city.[7]

  • Al Shabaab militants loyal to al Shabaab’s leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair, also known as Ahmed Abdi Godane, clashed with loyalists of Sheikh Zakariya near Burdhubo district in Gedo region, according to reports on October 14.[8]

  • Officials in Hiraan region and Gedo region announced plans for major upcoming security operations against al Shabaab strongholds within the regions on October 13 and 14.[9] 

  • Suspected al Shabaab militants killed three tailors in Mogadishu’s Yaqshid district after breaking into garment shops on October 13. Somali Prime Minister Shirdon also discussed disarming civilians and increasing operations against al Shabaab with police and intelligence officials in Mogadishu later the same day.[10]

[1] “Three Soldiers Killed and Others Wounded in Armed Attack on Camp in Lahij,” al Watan Ye, October 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Sa'ada: Wounding of Three People in Houthi Shelling on Damaj,” Mareb Press, October 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Yemeni Source Denies Statement by al Qaeda and Confirms that the Second Military District Was a Room for Preventing Piracy in Shipping Lanes,” Hona Hadramout, October 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:       “Al Qaeda September Attack Targeted Joint Yemeni-US Drone Base,” Reuters, October 14, 2013. Available:
[4] “Discovery of Cell that Planned to Attack the Interior Ministry in Sana'a,” al Khabar Now, October 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Escape of Prisoners from Security Administration in al Bayda by Ground Tunnel,” Wefaq Press, October 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Communiqué on the 399th PSC Meeting on the Joint AU-United Nations Review of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Benchmarking Exercise,” African Union, October 10, 2013. Available: “African Union urges ICC to defer Uhuru Kenyatta Case,” BBC, October 12, 2013. Available:   
[7] “Somalis die ‘making bomb’ in Ethiopia,” Al Jazeera, October 14, 2013. Available:
[8] “Shebeb fighters fought inside of them in Gedo region,” Mustaqbal Radio, October 14, 2013. Available:
[9] “Somali Government troops vowed to remove Shebeb from Gedo region,” Mustaqbal Radio, October 14, 2013. Available: “Hiran administration about to launch final assault on Alshabab,” Shabelle, October 13, 2013. Available:
[10] “PM vows to eliminate terror attacks, 3 killed in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, October 13, 2013. Available:
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