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 cut off road in Ibb; gunmen kill army officer in Sana’a; “8 + 8” committee discusses five-region solution; counter-insurgency forces deployed to Shabwah and Hadramawt; tribal clashes renewed in Taiz; FBI agent to plead guilty to leak accusations

Horn of Africa: Kenyan forces end al Shabaab’s mall siege; President Kenyatta speaks in aftermath of attack; Kenya’s foreign minister claims Americans and a Briton fought with al Shabaab in mall attack; Somali prime minister asks Barclays to reconsider remittance account closing; UN Special Representative Kay asks for additional resources in Somalia; Somali leaders in Minnesota denounce attacks; Somali Federal Government increases security in Mogadishu market; ICC will begin President Kenyatta’s trial on November 12

Yemen Security Brief

  • Gunmen cut off the Sana’a-Taiz road in Sumarah, Ibb governorate on September 24. News Yemen reported that the group was wearing army uniforms.[1]
  • Two gunmen on motorbikes killed an army colonel on Shaoub Street, Sana’a city on September 24. It was the second assassination of a security official in Sana’a within 24 hours.[2]
  • The “8 + 8” subcommittee on the Southern Issue at the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) met on September 23 to discuss a five-region republic. The previous proposals involved a two-region state. In a separate meeting with the NDC deputy secretary general, delegates from al Mahrah and Socotra Island proposed their own regions in a multi-region solution.[3]
  • Clashes were renewed between al Marzouh and al Qaradha villages in Taiz governorate on September 24. Al Qaradha reportedly employed mercenaries who shelled al Marzouh village with heavy weaponry, including B-10 artillery.[4]
  • Yemen deployed 150 soldiers trained in counter-insurgency to Shabwah and Hadramawt in response to the attacks in the governorates on September 20.[5]
  • Former FBI Agent Donald Sachtleben will plead guilty to leaking secrets to the press in 2012. Sachtleben disclosed to Associated Press reporters that the FBI had intercepted a bomb made by Ibrahim al Asiri and was analyzing it in Quantico. Al Asiri is a key figure and the principal bomb maker for in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Kenyan forces ended the four-day standoff with al Shabaab in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on September 24. The forces killed five al Shabaab militants and arrested another eleven, losing six soldiers in the process.[7]
  • According to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, three Westgate Mall floors collapsed and bodies were trapped under the rubble, “including the terrorists.” The president added that 61 died in the attack and another 62 victims remain hospitalized, for which a three-day mourning period is in effect.[8]
  • Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed stated that two or three Americans and one Briton were involved in the al Shabaab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall on September 23.  President Kenyatta was unable to confirm these reports.[9]
  • Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon asked Barclays to review the decision to close remittance accounts to Somalia on September 24. Barclays is set to close all avenues for remittance accounts on September 30.[10]
  • UN Special Representative to Somalia Nicholas Kay called for additional resources for AMISOM to fight al Shabaab on September 24.[11]
  • The St. Paul, Minnesota Somali community imams and leaders condemned the al Shabaab attack in Nairobi on September 23. Twenty-two Somalis from Minnesota have reportedly joined al Shabaab over the last six years and two of the militants involved in the Nairobi attack are allegedly from the Somali community in Minnesota.[12]
  • The Somali Federal Government placed additional security personnel in Mogadishu’s Bakara Market on September 23. The security operation comes days after a grenade attack killed two in the market.[13]
  • International Criminal Court (ICC) denied Kenyan President Kenyatta’s request to postpone his trial until 2014 on September 24. President Kenyatta’s trial date remains November 12, 2013.[14]   

[1] “Armed Groups Cut Off Sana’a Taiz Road in Samara,” News Yemen, September 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Assassination of Army Colonel In Front of Military Hospital,” Al Watan Ye, September 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “8+8 Sub Committee Proposes Five Region Republic to Solve  Southern Issue,” NDC Ye, September 24, 2013. Available:
“Al Mahra and Socotra Want Their Own Regions in Prospective Multi Region Republic,” NDC Ye, September 24, 2013. Available:
[4] “Breaking: Renewed Clashes Between al Marzooh and al Qaradah Villages,” Adash-y, September 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Killed in Clashes Between Tribesmen and al Qaeda in Yemen,” al Jazeera, September 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Former FBI Agent to Plead Guilty in Press Leak,” NY Times, September 23, 2013. Available:
[7] “Attackers defeated in mall siege, Kenya’s president says,” CNN, September 24, 2013. Available:
[8] “Pres. Uhuru Kenyata Declares end of Westgate Mall Siege,” Wavuti, September 24, 2013. Available:
[9] “Americans and Briton ‘among mall attackers,’ says Kenyan foreign minister,” The Guardian, September 23, 2013. Available:
[10] “Somalia Asks Barclays to Review Closing Money-Transfer Account,” Bommberg, September 23, 2013. Available:
[11] “U.N. envoy for Somalia seeks more resources to combat al Shabaab,” Shabelle, September 24, 2013. Available:
[12] “Members of Minnesota’s Somali community condemn deadly attack on Kenya mall,” Star Tribune, September 23, 2013. Available:
[13] “Somalia: Shirdon jets off to Geneva, Federal Govt beefs up security at market in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, September 22, 2013. Available: 
[14] “Nov 12 trial date won’t change, ICC tells Uhuru,” Capital FM, September 24, 2013. Available:
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