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 leader calls for fighters to tolerate different views to build up popular support; AQAP attacks al Houthi shopping center; Yemeni military bombs AQAP bases in Abyan; pro-government and al Houthi protestors demonstrate throughout Yemen; Southern Freedom Brigades release statement claiming credit for operation in Hadramawt

Horn of Africa: U.S. Department of Defense announces al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane died in a September 1 U.S. military operation in Somalia; AMISOM and Somali National Army forces raid al Shabaab camp in Galgudud region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) media arm, al Malahem Media Foundation, released a video statement on September 4 featuring AQAP's leader Nasser al Wahayshi urging AQAP fighters to tolerate different views in controlled areas in order to build up popular support among the population. Separately, AQAP announced the capture of a senior Yemeni military officer, allegedly responsible for several drone strikes in Yemen.[1]
  • Suspected AQAP militants detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Rada'a, al Bayda on September 4, damaging an al Houthi-linked shopping center.[2]
  • Yemeni 111th Mechanized Brigade tanks and soldiers shelled AQAP locations in Ahwar, Abyan on September 4, destroying an unspecified number of vehicles.[3]
  • Thousands of Yemeni citizens demonstrated in Sana’a, Ibb, and Taiz on September 5, expressing solidarity with the Yemeni government and calling for an end to the escalating al Houthi protests. Al Houthis held a rival rally near the Sana’a airport on September 5, calling for the dismissal of the Yemeni government.[4]
  • The Southern Freedom Brigades, a militant group allegedly linked to the Southern Movement, claimed credit for an IED explosion near the Yemeni Economic Corp office in al Mukalla, Hadramawt on September 4.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby announced on September 5 that al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair, died in a September 1 U.S. Special Operations Forces airstrike on an al Shabaab compound in Lower Shabelle region. The White House Office of the Press Secretary also issued a statement on September 5 lauding Godane’s death as a critical step in diminishing the threat posed by al Shabaab and reiterating the U.S.’s continued commitment to supporting its regional counterterrorism partners.[6]
  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) forces raided an al Shabaab camp near Elbur, Galgadud region on September 4. The AMISOM and SNA forces killed two al Shabaab militants and rescued one hostage during the operation. Separately, AMISOM and SNA forces seized Bulo Marer, Lower Shabelle after clashes with al Shabaab militants on September 4.[7]

[1] AQAP Twitter account, September 4, 2014.
AQAP Twitter account, September 4, 2014.
[2] “Against a sectarian backdrop, al Qaeda bombs a shopping center in al Bayda,” Yemen Today, September 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Military gives al Hawtah and Azzan tribal chiefs 4 days to take out al Qaeda militants,” Yemen Today, September 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Tens of thousands demonstrate in several Yemeni cities supporting and criticizing recent al Houthi activities,” al Masdar, September 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] Southern Freedom Brigades Twitter account, September 4, 2014.
[6] "Fierce battle in Bulo-marer between Allied forces and Al-shabab," Goobjoog News, September 5, 2014. Available:
“Statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby on Ahmed Godane,” U.S. Department of Defense Press Operations, September 5, 2014. Available:
Craig Whitlock, “Pentagon confirms al-Shabab leader killed in airstrike in Somalia,” The Washington Post, September 5, 2014. Available:
“Statement by the Press Secretary on the Death of Ahmed Godane,” The White House Office of the Press Secretary, September 5, 2014. Available:
[7] “Somali, AMISOM forces rescue a girl held hostage by Al Shabaab,” Bar Kulan, September 5, 2014. Available:
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