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: Security forces raid Islah headquarters in Taiz; two bombs explode in Sana’a; Southern Movement denies Islamic emirate in Habban, Shabwah; security forces seize forged ballots in Aden; al Houthis shoot tribesmen in al Jawf; Friends of Yemen meet in New York; Yemeni activist detained in the UK

Horn of Africa: AMISOM forces capture Baya Adde town in Lower Shabelle region; suspected al Shabaab militants kill two police and injure two others in Mandera, Kenya, then kill one civilian and injure three in Wajir town, Kenya; al Shabaab kill two in Mogadishu and three in Kismayo; al Shabaab leader Godane threatens war with Kenya; forensic teams begin recovery operations in Westgate mall in Nairobi; U.S. military relocates drone program in Djibouti; convicted militant confesses game reserves’ strategic use; Kenyan lobbying group wants Somali refugees sent home

Yemen Security Brief

  • Security and military forces raided the Islah headquarters is Taiz on September 26. According to Islah sources, the police arrested seven party members.[1]
  • Two bombs exploded on Rabat Street in Sana’a city on September 26, wounding at least four people. The second bomb exploded after dozens of people had gathered around the site of the first explosion.[2]
  • The Southern Movement in Habban, Shabwah governorate denied rumors that Ansar al Sharia gunmen had distributed fliers calling for an Islamic emirate in the directorate. They said it was a government lie intended to “prolong the occupation of the South.”[3]
  • Security forces seized a shipment of 55,000 counterfeit election ballots at the entrance to Aden on September 26. The ballots were being transported in a car owned by General People’s Congress (GPC) leaders in Abyan.[4]
  • Al Houthi gunmen at a checkpoint killed one person and wounded two in al Jawf on September 25 because they belonged to the al Shawlan tribe.[5]
  • The Friends of Yemen conference met in New York on September 25. Participants renewed their support for unity and non-interference in Yemen’s internal affairs. They also stressed the importance of economic growth, meeting the demands of the Yemeni people, and holding elections on time. Great Britain called on Friends of Yemen member states to stop paying kidnapping ransoms. The Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East stated that AQAP earned $20 million in the past two years from ransom payments.[6]
  • UK Border Agency officials detained Yemeni human rights activist and National Dialogue Conference (NDC) member Baraa Shiban at Gatwick airport on September 23. Authorities detained him under the Terrorism Act.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • AMISOM forces captured Baya Adde town, Lower Shabelle region from al Shabaab control on September 25. AMISOM killed three al Shabaab militants in the process.[8] 
  • Al Shabaab militants killed two Kenyan police officers and wounded two others in Mandera, Kenya on September 26. The unknown attackers also burned eleven police vehicles and shot rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at the police station.[9]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants killed one civilian, injured three others, and engaged police in a shootout outside a church in Wajir town, Kenya on September 25. The gunmen also threw two grenades as they fled in a vehicle.[10]
  • Al Shabaab militants killed two civilians in Yaqshid and Wadajir districts of Mogadishu on September 25.[11]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants killed two civilians and a Jubbaland police officer with pistols in Kismayo city on September 26.[12]
  • Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane confirmed that the group carried out the attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi and threatened Kenya to prepare for a “long-lasting war” on September 26. Godane stated the attack was retaliation for Kenya's invasion of southern Somalia in 2011.[13] 
  • Kenyan and international forensic teams switched from rescue operations to recovery operations inside Westgate Mall on September 26. The Kenyan Red Cross said that 61 remain missing. The forensic experts also found and cleared undetonated grenades in Westgate Mall on September 26.[14]
  • The U.S. military temporarily relocated its base for drone operations from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti to an undisclosed region of the country. The on-going relocation process is meant to address worries from the Djibouti government over the risk of an accident involving drones and commercial aircraft.[15]   
  • Convicted al Shabaab militant Elgiva Bwire Oliacha, also known as Mohammed Seif, told police that he used Kenya's Kitui game reserve to transport weapons and hide on September 23. The statement raised concerns that al Shabaab uses game reserves as safe havens.[16]
  • A lobbying group pressured the Kenyan government to remove all Somali refugee camps from Kenya on September 25.[17]  

[1] “Forces from the Army and Security Storm Islah Headquarters in Taiz and Loot its Contents,” al Mashhad al Yemeni, September 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Four Wounded in Two Explosions on Rabat Street in Sana’a,” Mareb Press, September 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Shabwah: Hirak Denies al Qaeda Announcement that Habban is an Islamic Emirate,” Sada Aden, September 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Breaking: Aden Security Checkpoint Seizes 55,000 Forged Election Ballots Belonging to Followers of Saleh in Abyan Governorate,” Huna Aden, September 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Three Killed and Wounded  at the Hands of al Houthi Gunmen in al Jawf,” al Khabar Now, September 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Friends of Yemen Renew Support for Unity and Holding Elections on Their Appointed Date,” HSHD, September 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Friends of Yemen Reject the Payment of Ransoms to Terrorists,” Gov UK, September 25, 2013. Available:
[7] “UK Border Authorities are Intimidating Human Rights Workers,” The Guardian, September 24, 2013. Available:
[8] “Somalia: Allied forces seize new town from militants, killings occur in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, September 25, 2013. Available:
[9] “Al-Shabab carries out fresh attack in Kenya,” Al Jazeera, September 26, 2013. Available:  
[10] “One killed, four injured in Wajir attack, North Eastern Kenya,” Standard Media, September 25, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somalia: Allied forces seize new town from militants, killings occur in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, September 25, 2013. Available:
[12] “Three killed in Kismayo’s separate attacks,” Bar Kulan, September 26, 2013. Available:
[13] “Al-Shabab leader vows ‘long war’ against Kenya,” Al Jazeera, September 25, 2013. Available:
[14] “Kenya Siege: Nairobi shopping mall searched for bodies,” BBC, September 26, 2013. Available:; “Bomb Experts Recover Undetonated Grenades from the Mall Featured,” Shabelle, September 26, 2013. Available: 
[15] “US moves drone fleet from Camp Lemmonier to ease Djibouti’s saftey concerns,” Washington Post, September 24, 2013. Available:
[16] “Convicted al-Shabaab member says Kitui game reserve provides terrorist haven,” Sabahi Online, September 24, 2013. Available:
[17] “Lobby group wants all refugee camps closed,” the Star, September 25, 2013. Available:
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