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: Southern Movement protests in Hadramawt; grenade attack in Shabwah; AQAP member surrenders himself to security; leak suggests AQ working to disrupt drone technology; Saudi AQAP suspects on trial in Sana’a; suspected AQAP gunmen kill civilian in al Shihir, Hadramawt; kidnapped Saudi diplomat transferred to another location

Horn of Africa: Omar Hammami announces defection from al Shabaab and al Qaeda; hundreds arrested in Beledweyne, Hiraan; attack on UN buildings in Beledweyne, Hiraan; fire sweeps through Mogadishu; Puntland president and Ethiopian prime minister meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Southern Movement activists protested in several directorates across Hadramawt, including al Mukalla, Ghayl Ba Wazir, and al Qatan on September 4. Central Security Forcesarrested southern activist Badran Ali Ghalib during protests in al Mukalla, Hadramawt. Sources said he was severely beaten with rifle butts before being taken away.[1]
  • A grenade exploded in front of a military pickup in Shabwah governorate on September 4. According to eye witnesses, there were no injuries.[2]
  • A member of Ansar al Sharia who was wanted by Aden security forcessurrendered himself on September 4 and repented for his activities with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Security forces said the individual was involved in AQAP’s war in Abyan.[3]
  • A classified document released to the Washington Post by Edward Snowden of WikiLeaks revealed U.S. intelligence assessments that al Qaeda has been working since 2010 to exploit technological weaknesses to disrupt air attacks by unmanned aircraft. The report revealed that the group formed cells of engineers to tackle the problem.[4]
  • Five Saudis accused of belonging to AQAP went on trial in Sana’a on September 4.[5]
  • Gunmen on a motorbike suspected of belonging to AQAP killed a civilian in al Shihir, Hadramawt on September 3.[6]
  • Saudi newspaper Al Watan al Saudiyya reported that kidnapped Saudi diplomat Abdallah al Khalidi was transferred in late August or early September by AQAP to another location in Yemen. The paper, for al Khalidi’s safety, withheld the name of his new location. The source went on that the move happened after AQAP fighters killed a tribal mediator.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • American al Shabaab member Omar Hammami announced on September 3 that he cut ties with al Shabaab and al Qaeda because of his conflict with al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair “Godane”. He told the VOA Somali Service that he was hiding in either Bay or Bakool region.[8]
  • AMISOM and Somali forces arrested hundreds of suspects in a sweep of Beledweyne, Hiraan region on September 3.[9]
  • Unknown assailants threw two grenades at the UN offices in the Taka Hawa suburb of Beledweyne, Hiraan region on September 4. No injuries were reported after the incident.[10]
  • A large fire that touched several neighborhoods in Mogadishu on September 3 was believed to have been started when an unknown gunman open fired on a gas station in Hodan district.[11]
  • Puntland President Abdirahman Ahmed Farole and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn met in Addis Ababa and discussed Somali security issues on September 3.[12]
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon asked the international community to contribute armed troop transports, fighter helicopters, and other forms of support to AMISOM in an address to the UN Security Council on September 3. He cited the threat of al Shabaab to the success of Somalia as the reason for his appeal.[13]

[1] “Al Mukalla and Other Governorates Witness Civil Disobedience,” Huna Hadramout, September 4, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[1]“Yemeni Security Forces Beat Activist in al Hirak Badran Ali Ghalib in al Sharj, al Mukalla directorate, and Take Him in an Unknown Direction,” Sada Aden, September 4, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Shabwah… Explosion of Grenade in front of Military Pickup,” News Yemen Nat, September 4, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Al Qaeda Element in Yemen Surrenders Himself to Aden Security and Announces his Repentance of Terrorism,” Nashwan News, September 4, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] Craig Whitlock and Barton Gellman, “U.S. documents detail al-Qaeda’s efforts to fight back against drones,” Washington Post, September 3, 2013. Available:
[5] “Court in Sana’a begins trial of five Saudis from al Qaeda,” Saba, September 4, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Civilian killed by bullets of unidentified armed men in town of al Shihir, Hadramawt,” Aden al Ghad, September 3, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Al Qaeda in Yemen kills a mediator and transfers the prisoner al Khalidi,” Nashwa News, September 4, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “SOMALIA: Al Shabab’s Omar Hamami quits from Al Shabab, Al Qaeda,” Raxanreeb, September 4, 2013. Available:
“American Jihadist Omar Hammami ‘defects’ from Al-Shabaab,” Kismaayo, September 3, 2013. Available:
[9] “Security operation conducted in Beled-weyne,” Bar Kulan, September 4, 2013. Available:
[10] “Grenade attacks on UN offices in Beledweyne,” Shabelle Media Network, September 4, 2013. Available:
[11] “Fire razes Mogadishu petrol station,” Bar Kulan, September 3, 2013. Available:
[12] “Prime Minister Hailemariam meets Puntland’s President,” Bar Kulan, September 4, 2013. Available:
“Somalia: Puntland Leader On Visit to Ethiopia,” Garowe Online, September 3, 2013. Available:
[13] “UN chief: Somalia could still fail; calls for more attack helicopters to fight Al-Shabab,” Associated Press, September 3, 2013. Available:
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