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: Gunmen kill security officer in Sana’a; Yemeni Air Force targets AQAP in Abyan; AQAP prisoners riot in Sana’a; customs officials cooperated with AQAP in al Hudaydah; President Hadi refuses to negotiate with AQAP

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab kills two and wounds fourteen in grenade attack; Ghana plans to send 90 police officers to Somalia; Kenyan intelligence reports al Shabaab presence in Garissa; BBC uncovers names of 47 Britons linked to al Shabaab; Kenyan police continue to interrogate Westgate suspects

Yemen Security Brief

  • Motorcycle-mounted gunmen shot and killed a colonel in the political security office in Sana’a on October 24.[1]
  • The Yemeni Air Force launched strikes against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Ansar al Sharia militants in Ahwar, Abyan governorate on October 24. Jalal Bala’idi, the former Emir of Abyan, was suspected to be among the militants. Casualty figures were not reported.[2]
  • A Yemeni official said that approximately 300 AQAP prisoners in Sana’a rioted on October 22 and tried to escape. Guards prevented the prisoners from escaping but had not fully regained control of the situation on October 23.[3]
  • Official documents revealed that Yemeni customs officials allowed AQAP to import cars without valid vehicle identification numbers (VIN). The VIN is the only way to trace a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) to its owner. Officials estimated that customs officials at the port of al Hudaydah let in 700 cars without VINs in one year.[4]
  • A senior government official said that President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi met with a senior religious figure associated with AQAP on October 19. The religious figure listed several demands, including holding a dialogue with AQAP and intervening in Sa’ada to protect Salafist students in Damaj from al Houthis. President Hadi rejected the demands.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants killed a civilian and a soldier and wounded 14 others after throwing a grenade at a Somali National Army security barrier in Janale town, Lower Shabelle region on October 24.[6]
  • Ghana announced plans to send 90 police officers to support AMISOM counterparts in Somalia, on October 24.[7]
  • An October 23 report by the Kenyan National Intelligence Service (NIS) divulged that al Shabaab controls up to two-thirds of Garissa County and that the group’s intelligence wing, Amniyat, uses Garissa as a major base of operations.[8]
  • BBC News released the names of at least 47 Britons who have links to al Shabaab on October 23. The names were discovered after researching public records and court cases.[9]
  • Kenyan police announced on October 23 the ongoing interrogation and detention without charge of eight suspects tied to the Westgate attack.[10]

[1] “Gunman Empties Thirty Shots into Body of Political Security Officer,” al Khabar Now, October 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Yemeni Warplanes Launch Air Raids Against Terrorist Gatherings in Abyan,” Wefaq Press, October 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Yemen Foils al Qaeda Prison Break,” al Jazeera, October 23, 2013. Available:
[4] “(Al Qaeda and the VIN) Documents Indicate Involvement of Customs Officials in Providing Quality Facilities that Threaten National Security,” Hour News, October 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Unannounced Disagreement Between Hadi and Religious Leaders Demanding Dialogue With al Qaeda,” Barakish, October 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Heavy explosion rocks Janale town,” Shabelle, October 24, 2013. Available:
[7] “Ghana to send 90 police officers to Somalia,” Bar Kulan, October 24, 2013. Available:
[8] “Kenyan intelligence report reveals troubling al-Shabaab presence in Garisas,” Sabahi, October 23, 2013. Available:
[9] “British links to al-Shabab revealed,” BBC, October 23, 2013. Available:
[10] “8 suspects still held over Westgate terror – Kimaiyo,” Capital, October 23, 2013. Available:
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