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: Lawder two-day death toll climbs to 127 and al Qaeda-linked militants attack an army outpost near the Shabwah-Ma’rib border; suspected al Qaeda-linked gunmen kill soldier in Aden; Republican Guard commander Ahmed Saleh voices support for President Hadi; Yemeni government to closely monitor two detainees held by the U.S. military in Afghanistan if repatriated

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims responsibility for a roadside bomb that kills at least 12 people in Baidoa; al Shabaab claims AMISOM has lost its initiative and promising more attacks in Mogadishu; TFG soldiers exchange fire in Mogadishu; al Shabaab reportedly withdraws from Mahas town Gedo region; TFG and KDF soldiers clash with al Shabaab militants near Bardhere in Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Details have emerged following yesterday’s clashes in Lawder. Yemeni officials reported that the two-day death toll has risen to 127 people. This figure includes 56 militants, four soldiers, and three tribesmen who were killed overnight and early April 10. The militants claimed they seized arms and ammunition, four tanks, and anti-aircraft weaponry. The officials added that al Qaeda-linked militants attacked an army outpost in Abar in Ma’rib governorate, killing at least eight soldiers and five militants. Four soldiers were also wounded in the attack.[1]
  • A security official reported that suspected al Qaeda-linked gunmen shot and killed a soldier in al Mansoura district in Aden on the morning of April 9.[2]
  • Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son and leader of the Republican Guard Ahmed Saleh announced in a statement that he would stand by current Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi just as he stood behind his father. The statement comes amid a series of dismissals by President Hadi of ex-regime loyalists in high positions of power.[3]
  • The Yemeni government has agreed to closely monitor Amin al Bakri and Fadi al Maqaleh, two detainees held by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, if they are repatriated. The detainees’ attorneys asked the Pentagon to approve the transfer on April 9.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A Baidoa police officer reported a roadside bomb detonated in a vegetable market in Baidoa on April 9. At least 12 people were killed and 30 others wounded in the explosion. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. In response to the attack, Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali stated, “What they did was contrary to Islam and our culture ... We are committed to clear [al Shabaab] out of the country.”[5]
  • Al Shabaab’s press office released a statement in English on its affiliated websites on April 7. The message highlights al Shabaab’s capabilities of conducting significant attacks in Mogadishu, including the recent suicide bombing at Mogadishu’s National Theater on April 4 and mortar attacks on the Presidential Palace. The statement also criticizes African Union Mission in Somalia’s (AMISOM) efforts to capture Mogadishu’s Daynile district. The statement’s final paragraph promises future attacks in the Somali capital: “Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen remains fully resolved in its pursuit of the African invaders and their apostate allies in Mogadishu and will employ every available avenue in the fulfilment [sic] of its objectives.”[6]
  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers reportedly exchanged fire in Taleh village in Mogadishu’s Hodan district following a disagreement. One police officer was killed by the gunfire. Separate clashes near Mogadishu’s KM-4 junction killed one civilian and wounded another.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants reportedly withdrew from Mahas town in Hiraan region to Moqokori village, about 40 kilometers south of Mahas. Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a fighters are believed to be en route to Mahas town.[8]
  • According to Mohamed Sayyid Aden, a Somali MP, clashes between al Shabaab militants and TFG and Kenyan troops killed 40 militants and two soldiers in Mudale near Bardhere in Gedo region. Five soldiers were also injured in the clashes. Eyewitnesses claimed that Kenyan jets bombed two rebel-held bases.[9]    

[1] Hani Mohammed, “Death Toll in Yemeni Clashes Rises to 127,” AP, April 10, 2012. Available:
“Islamist Attack on Yemen Army Checkpoint Kills 13,” Reuters, April 10, 2012. Available:
[2] “Soldier Shot Dead in Aden,” Yemen Post, April 9, 2012. Available:
[3] “Saleh’s Son Shows Support for President Hadi,” Yemen Post, April 9, 2012. Available:
[4] Peter Finn, “Yemeni Officials Offer Guarantees for Repatriation of Detainees,” The Washington Post, April 9, 2012. Available:
[5] Abdi Guled, “Blast in South Central Somalia Kills At Least 12,” AP, April 9, 2012. Available:
[6] “Shabaab Boasts of Strength in Mogadishu, Says AMISOM Lost ‘Initiative,’” SITE Intelligence Group, April 9, 2012. Available at SITE.
Tweets by HSM Press Office, April 7, 2012. Available:
[7] “Government Soldiers Exchange Gunfire in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, April 10, 2012. Available:
[8] “Al-Shabaab Pulls out of Mahas Town, Hiran Region,” Bar Kulan, April 10, 2012. Available:
[9] “Deadly Fight Erupts on the Outskirt of Bardera Town,” Bar Kulan, April 10, 2012. Available:
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