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: Suspected AQAP militants detonate IED near Yemeni soldiers in Shabwah; AQAP releases propaganda video on YouTube; President Hadi announces new Minister of Defense in Sana’a; U.S. sells Yemen UAVs; Russian Foreign Ministry urges citizens to leave Yemen

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants detonate VBIED in Bay region; Puntland security forces arrest suspected al Shabaab militants in Bari region; al Shabaab executes four alleged spies in Lower Shabelle region; unidentified gunmen assassinate local cleric in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) near a military patrol in Azzan, Shabwah on September 30, wounding four soldiers. Separately, AQAP confirmed on September 27 that leader Abdulaziz al Omari, a Saudi citizen responsible for AQAP’s Twitter campaign, was killed in a September 26 airstrike in al Jawf.[1]
  • AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem Media Foundation, released a video on September 29 in which Nasser Bin Ali al Ansi, an AQAP religious official, criticized the Israeli military’s activities in the Gaza Strip and encouraged all Jihadi groups to mend their differences. Al Ansi also condemned airstrikes conducted by the United States and vowed Ansar al Sharia will continue to attack al Houthis in Yemen.[2]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi announced that Major General Mahmoud al Subaihi will be the new Minister of Defense in Sana’a on September 30. Al Subaihi previously served as the commander of the fourth military region in Aden.[3]
  • The U.S. Department of Defense announced on September 29 an 11 million U.S. dollar contract to sell Yemen a system of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to be used for surveillance and reconnaissance.[4]
  • The Russian Foreign Minister issued a statement on September 29, urging Russian citizens to leave Yemen due to political instability.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in Baidoa, Bay region on September 29. The target of the blast and the extent of casualties remain unknown.[6]
  • Puntland security forces arrested more than twenty suspected al Shabaab militants during a security operation in Boosaaso, Bari region on September 30.[7]
  • Al Shabaab publicly executed four men accused of spying for the Somali Federal Government in Barawe, Lower Shabelle region on September 30.[8] 
  • Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a local Muslim cleric in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on September 30. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, al Shabaab militants have previously conducted targeted killings against clerics in the area.[9]

[1] “Explosion targeting a military patrol in Azzan,” Barakish, September 30, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“AQAP Twitter-warrior killed in latest US drone strike in Yemen,” Long War Journal, September 29, 2014. Available:
[2] Al Malahem Media Foundation video released to YouTube, September 29, 2014.
[3] “Agency: Major Subaihi receives a ‘defense’ as the first minister in the new government,” al Montasaf, September 30, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Yemen to acquire ScanEagle UAGs,” Janes, September 29, 2014. Available:
[5] “Russians Urged to Leave Yemen,” Telesur, September 29, 2014. Available:
[6] “SOMALIA: Car explosion leaves unconfirmed casualties in Bay region,” RBC Radio, September 29, 2014. Available:
[7] “Puntland Police Arrest Tens During Sweeps in Bossaso,” Dalsan Radio, September 30, 2014. Available:
[8] SOMALIA: Al Shabab executes four teenagers in Barawe for ‘spying’,” RBC Radio, September 30, 2014. Available:
[9] “SOMALIA: Well known local cleric assassinated in Beledweyn town,” RBC Radio, September 30, 2014. Available:
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