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: Former head of military intelligence survives assassination attempt in Sana’a; popular committee members find three rockets in Mudia, Abyan; Ansar al Sharia executes gay man in Lahij; Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi arraigned in Brooklyn; two soldiers caught planting IED in Hadramawt; al Zindani demands shari’a be the base for legislation; tribesmen release al Houthis in Ibb; casualty count from Sana’a bombing increases

Horn of Africa: Somali government arrests Mogadishu prison warden for aiding al Shabaab escape; al Shabaab reportedly rented shop in Westgate Mall prior to attack; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM bases in Lower Jubba region; AMISOM sweeps houses for al Shabaab in Mogadishu; Jubbaland arrests suspected al Shabaab militants; Somali Government restarts talks with Somaliland; four suspected al Shabaab members in Kenya under surveillance; al Shabaab threatens Kenya via twitter

Yemen Security Brief

  • Brigadier General Majahid Ghashim, the military attaché at the Yemeni embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, survived an assassination attempt in Sana’a on September 27. Ghashim was also the former head of military intelligence. Unknown militants planted an improvised explosive device (IED) near his house in Azal, Sana’a. Explosive experts disarmed the device before it exploded.[1]
  • Popular committee members found three M20 rockets in Mudia district, Abyan on September 27. One was aimed at the village of al Qarn and two were aimed at Mudia city.[2]
  • Gunmen suspected to be members of Ansar al Shari’a executed a man they accused of being homosexual in al Hawta, Lahij governorate on September 27.[3]
  • Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi was arraigned at a federal court in Brooklyn on September 27. Babafemi was charged with traveling to Yemen to train with AQAP, recruiting new members from Nigeria, and helping publish the jihadist magazine Inspire.[4]
  • Locals arrested two Yemeni soldiers who were attempting to plant an explosive device in the car of a southern officer in Tarim, Hadramawt governorate on September 26.[5]
  • Sheikh Abdul Majid al Zindani criticized National Dialogue Conference (NDC) members who support basing the constitution on international conventions. He claimed that President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa had already signed an agreement making shari’a the source of all legislation in Yemen. Al Zindani also suggested that giving a fifth of oil revenues to al Houthis would help resolve long-standing tensions with the al Houthis.[6]
  • Tribesmen in al Radma, Ibb governorate released thirteen al Houthis whom they had captured on August 15.[7]
  • The official news agency Saba reported that there were twenty injured by the double IEDs which detonated in Sana’a on September 26. Initial reports had indicated that there were only four wounded.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali government officials arrested the Mogadishu Central Prison warden along with other police officers for aiding in the escape of a high-level al Shabaab leader from his prison on September 27.[9]
  • Al Shabaab militants rented a shop inside Nairobi’s Westgate Mall weeks prior to the attack, according to reports on September 27. This base provided the attackers access to service elevators, which enabled them to stockpile weapons inside the mall.[10]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants attacked an AMISOM base manned by Kenyan and Somali soldiers in Kolbio, Lower Jubba region on September 27. Casualty figures were not released from either side.[11] 
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Kenyan AMISOM base outside Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on September 27. Casualty figures were not released from either side.[12] 
  • AMISOM forces and Somali police searched houses for al Shabaab militants in Hodan and Daynile districts in Mogadishu on September 27.[13]  
  • Jubbaland security forces detained a unknown number of suspected al Shabaab militants during a security operation in Kismayo city on September 27.[14]
  • Somali federal government officials restarted talks on Somali unity with Somaliland on September 27. Somali President Hassan Mohamud commended the help of the Turkish government in facilitating the talks.[15] 
  • Kenyan security officials placed four men thought to be al Shabaab militants under 24-hour surveillance on September 26. The four are known to have crossed from Somalia into Mombasa and are expected to have ties to the Westgate mall attack.[16] 
  • Al Shabaab threatened Kenya via twitter, saying that the Westgate attack was only “act one” on September 27.[17]

[1] “Head of Military Intelligence Survives Assassination Attempt in Sana’a,” al Watan Ye, September 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2][2] “Popular Committee in Mudia Discovers M20 Rockets Loaded and Directed on Platforms,” Huna Aden, September 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Yemen Gunmen Kill Suspected Homosexual: Police,” AFP, September 27, 2013. Available:
[4] “Nigerian Charged with Aiding al Qaeda’s Yemen Affiliate,” NBC, September 27, 2013. Available:
[5] “Two Yemeni Soldiers Arrested While Installing an IED in the Car of an Officer in Hadramawt,” al Ain Online, September 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “He Said That the Cacophony of Voices Conflict With the Biggest Law of God… Zindani Wages Campaign Against NDC and Calls for Victory of God,” Sada Aden, September 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Zindani Suggests Fifth of Oil Revenues for the House of the Prophet and Confirms the Eligibility of Southerners in the Company,” Barakish, September 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Freeing of 13 al Houthis Arrested by al Radma Tribesmen,” September 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Two Blasts in Sana’a Wound 20 People: Interior Ministry,” Saba, September 26, 2013. Available:
[9] “Prison wardens and other officials of the Mogadishu central prison arrested after a deadly suspect vanished,” Shabelle, September 27, 2013. Available:
[10] “Militants ‘hired Kenyan mall shop,’ BBC, September 27, 2013. Available:
[11] “Armed men attack government military bases and Kenyan bases in the lower Juba region,” Shabelle, September 27, 2013. Available:
[12] “Armed men attack government military bases and Kenyan bases in the lower Juba region,” Shabelle, September 27, 2013. Available:
[13] “Heavy security operations conducted in Mogadishu by the federal police and AMISOM,” Shabelle, September 27, 2013. Available: 
[14] “Scores arrested in Kismayo security sweep,” Bar Kulan, September 27, 2013. Available:
[15] “SFG to continue talks with Somaliland,” Somali Current, September 27, 2013. Available:
[16] “Four Terror Suspects Under Police Radar in Mombasa,” September 26, 2013. Available:
[17] “Shabaab mocks Kenya, threatens more attacks,” Bar Kulan, September 27, 2013. Available:
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