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: AQAP militants attack Yemeni military camp and Popular Committee leader in Abyan; Yemeni government announces new oil prices in Sana’a; al Houthis block streets and protest in Sana’a; al Houthis seize checkpoints in al Jawf

Horn of Africa: U.S. military spokesman confirm target and provide details of September 1 operation in Lower Shabelle region; AMISOM and Somali National Army forces seize town in Hiraan region; Somali Federal Government announces new amnesty for al Shabaab defectors; suspected al Shabaab militants ambush Puntland media vehicle in Bari region and humanitarian aid vehicles in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked a Yemeni 39th Armored Brigade camp in al Bakha valley in Mahfad, Abyan on September 3, wounding two soldiers. Militants fled the scene and then attacked a convoy of local tribal militia leaders, killing two tribesmen.[1]
  • The Yemeni government approved the lowering of fuel prices as part of an ongoing effort to end the political crisis with the al Houthis on September 3.[2]
  • Al Houthi protestors blocked off a number of main streets during anti-government demonstrations in the capital, Sana’a on September 3.[3]
  • Al Houthi militants seized a number of military and tribal checkpoints along the Ma’rib, al Jawf, and Sana’a administrative border in Majazir, al Jawf on September 2. Anonymous local sources reported that an unspecified number of al Houthi militants have traveled from Sa’ada to reinforce al Houthi encampments in Ma’rib and al Jawf on September 3.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed on September 2 that al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair, was the target of the September 1 U.S. special forces airstrike on an al Shabaab convoy and encampment in Sablale district, Lower Shabelle region. Rear Admiral Kirby stated that effectiveness of the operation remains unclear. An al Shabaab spokesman, Abu Mohamed, reported that the airstrikes killed at least six al Shabaab militants but did not disclose Godane’s status.[5]
  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somalia National Army (SNA) forces seized Jalalaqsi, Hiraan region from al Shabaab on September 3. Local officials confirmed the seizure of the town, reporting that al Shabaab militants withdrew without confrontation. Separately, local officials confirmed that al Shabaab militants retreated from several villages in Galgudud region due to the threat of impending AMISOM and SNA regional operations.[6]
  • The Somali Federal Government announced a new amnesty for al Shabaab defectors on September 3 as AMISOM and SNA forces continue to seize territory from al Shabaab in southern and central Somalia. Somali Interior Minister Khalif Ahmed Ereg declared the amnesty, which grants al Shabaab militants 45 days to surrender to the Somali government, after an extraordinary meeting of the Somali cabinet.[7]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated a landmine and ambushed a Puntland Television and Radio Agency vehicle transporting media director, Abdifatah Nuur Qodah Ashkir, along the Garowe-Boosaaso highway in Bari region on September 2. Ashkir survived the ambush and safely arrived in Boosaso. Separately, suspected al Shabaab militants ambushed several humanitarian aid vehicles near Halgan, Hiraan region on September 2, resulting in prolonged clashes between militants and security forces.[8]

[1] “Two people killed and two soldiers wounded in separate al Qaeda operations in Abyan,” Yemen Today, September 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Council of Minister, heading by the Yemeni President, acknowledges beginning of selling oil at a reduced price,” Saba News, September 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Government recognizes sale of oil deratives at a new price in the domestic market starting tonight,” al Masdar, September 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Al Houthi demonstrations cut off primary streets in capital with escalating steps,” al Masdar, September 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Sources: clashes continue in al Jawf and army explodes al Houthi weapons store,” al Masdar, September 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Islah loses 3 new sites in al Jawf,” Barakish Net, September 2, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemen: al Houthis control villages in Ma’rib and al Jawf and fighters from Sa’ada reinforce those positions,” Aden al Ghad, September 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] Jeffrey Gettleman and Helene Cooper, “Airstike in Somalia by U.S. Forces Targets Shabab Leader,” The New York Times, September 2, 2014. Available:
Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, “Somalia Rebel Leader in Convoy Hit by U.S. Airstrike,” The Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2014. Available:
“Al-Shabaab in Somalia confirms leader was targeted in US drone strikes,” The Guardian, September 2, 2014. Available:
[6] “Government forces seize Jalalaqsi town, Hiran region,” Bar Kulan, September 3, 2014. Available:
“Al Shabaab fighters abandon positions in Galgadud region,” Bar Kulan, September 3, 2014. Available:
[7] “Somalia offers al-Shabab members amnesty,” BBC News, September 3, 2014. Available:
“Somali government announces amnesty for Al Shabaab militants,” Somali Current, September 3, 2014. Available:
[8] “Somalia: New Puntland State TV director targeted in Al Shabaab ambush,” Garowe Online, September 2, 2014. Available:
“Gunmen ambush trucks transporting food aid to Bulo-burde,” Goobjoog News, September 3, 2014. Available:
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