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 attack checkpoint in al Bayda; governor and military commander survive assassination attempt in al Bayda; IEDs target security forces in al Bayda; Salafist cleric announces new fronts of jihad against al Houthis; the White Widow may have been influenced by Anwar al Awlaki

Horn of Africa: Suspected U.S. drone strike kills two al Shabaab militants in Middle Jubba region; al Shabaab attacks Somali National Army in Agfoi, Lower Shabelle region; Somali government forces storm independent media Radio Shabelle headquarters in Mogadishu; Somali government opens development office; UN Deputy Secretary General visits Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Unknown gunmen attacked an army checkpoint in al Bayda governorate on October 27. The militants used rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) in the attack. Three soldiers were killed and four others were injured.[1]
  • The governor of al Bayda and the commander of the Seventh Military Region survived an assassination attempt during a visit to the military camp in Mukayras, al Bayda governorate on October 27. Soldiers from the camp shot at the governor’s car because he arrested one of their colleagues for killing an AQAP suspect.[2]
  • An improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in al Rada’a, al Bayda governorate on October 28. The attack targeted a military pickup truck and wounded three soldiers. Another IED believed to be planted by AQAP killed one soldier and wounded another in al Bayda city on October 26.[3]
  • Sheikh Muqabal Hadi al Wada’ei, one of the most prominent Salafist sheikhs in Yemen, announced three new fronts of jihad against al Houthis in Sa’ada. He also announced the creation of armed checkpoints to cut off military supplies to the al Houthis. Three northern tribes announced their readiness to fight against the al Houthis.[4]
  • Samantha Lewthwaite, also known as the White Widow, claimed to have visited Yemen and may have been influenced by radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A suspected U.S. drone strike killed two al Shabaab militants driving a car outside Jilib town, Middle Jubba region on October 28. Initial witness reports indicate the target was Ibrahim Ali Abdi, also known as Anta Anta, who is the leader of al Shabaab’s suicide missions.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed Somali National Army forces at a checkpoint outside Afgoi town, Lower Shabelle region on October 26.[7] 
  • Somali government forces stormed and assumed control of independent media outlet Radio Shabelle’s headquarters in Mogadishu on October 26. Somali authorities confiscated radio equipment and said the building is government property. [8]  
  • UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson met with the Somali President and expressed the UN’s commitment to stability in Somalia on a visit to Mogadishu on October 27.[9]
  • The Somali Federal Government opened the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility (SDRF) to implement transparent development with “New Deal” international donors, on October 28.[10] 

[1] “Clashes in al Bayda Claim Three Soldiers’ Life,” Yemen Post, October 27, 2013. Available:
[2] “Breaking: Governor of al Bayda and Commander of the Seventh Military Region Survive Assassination Attempt,” Barakish, October 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Three Wounded in Explosion Targeting Security Patrol in Rada’a, al Bayda Governorate This Afternoon,” Hadrmout Press, October 28, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Soldier Killed and Another Wounded in IED Explosion at Checkpoint in al Bayda,” Barakish, October 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Announcement of Jihad in Three Fronts Against al Houthis and Three Tribes Announce Their Readiness to Fight With the Salafists against the Shias,” Aden Post, October 28, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite ‘radicalized by top al Qaeda recruiter in Yemen,’” Belfast Telegraph, October 28, 2013. Available:
[6] “Drone strike kills at least two in Somalia: residents,” Reuters, October 28, 2013. Available:
“Drone Strike Kills al-Shabab Militant in Somalia,” VOA, October 28, 2013. Available:
[7] “Somali government clashes with al Shabaab in Lower Shabelle region,” Shabelle, October 16, 2013. Available:
[8] “Government forces raid, ransack prominent independent media outlets,” Shabelle, October 27, 2013. Available: “Somali police force radio station off air,” BBC, October 26, 2013. Available:
[9] “Deputy UN Chief visits Somalia to show solidarity with people, gov’’t – UN,” Bar Kulan, October 27, 2013. Available:
[10] “Somali PM launched Development and Reconstruction Facility,” Bar Kulan, October 28, 2013. Available:
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