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: Fighting continues for the third day in Lawder in Abyan governorate; armed group fires RPGs at oil pipeline in Shabwah; Madad News Agency releases 15th news publication featuring Ansar al Sharia’s media official criticizing media outlets and urging jihadists to utilize social media

Horn of Africa: TFG and Kenyan troops clash with al Shabaab between Kolbio and Qoqani in Lower Jubba; al Shabaab attacks a police station in Mogadishu’s Dharkenley district; al Shabaab releases 12 communiqués detailing attacks and the opening of a cattle market near Afgoi; President Obama extends national emergency with respect to Somalia for another year

Yemen Security Brief

  • Military officials confirmed that fighting continued for the third day in Lawder in Abyan governorate. The fresh clashes between the Yemeni army, backed by armed tribesmen, and al Qaeda-linked militants killed 28 militants and three tribesmen. Six tribesmen were also wounded in the attack. Al Masdar Online reported airstrikes in the area and the death of an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader, Ahmed Daradish.[1]
  • Witnesses reported that suspected al Qaeda-linked militants struck an oil pipeline in Shabwah governorate with at least three rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). No injuries have been reported.[2]
  • Ansar al Sharia’s media outlet Madad News Agency released its fifteenth news publication on jihadist forums on April 9. In the issue, Ansar al Sharia’s media official criticizes the bias media outlets share when reporting on jihadist activities. He also commended jihadist media outlets for their coverage and urged others to utilize social networks. The issue notes AQAP’s claim for the murder of Joel Shrum, a U.S. citizen killed in Taiz on March 18. Finally, Madad reports on Ansar al Sharia’s community service projects in Abyan and Shabwah governorates, including dedicating a week to preaching and deploying groups to ensure safety while practicing Islam.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Lt. Colonel Farah Dahir reported that al Shabaab attempted to block and attack Kenyan and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops moving between Kolbio and Qoqani in Lower Jubba region. Dahir claimed that Kenyan and TFG troops repulsed the attack and inflicted heavy losses on al Shabaab.[4]
  • Police chief Mohammed Abdirahman Qasim reported that al Shabaab militants launched an overnight attack on a police station in Dharkenley district in Mogadishu. Qasim added, “We repulsed them from the area and now the situation has returned to normal. There were no fatalities our side, but with they [sic] suffered casualties during the attack at West-station in [Dharkenley] district.”[5]
  • President Obama extended the national emergency with respect to Somalia for another year. In a statement, Obama said, “Because the situation with respect to Somalia continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, the national emergency declared on April 12, 2010, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond April 12, 2012.”[6]
  • Al Shabaab’s media wing al Kata’ib Media Foundation released four communiqués on April 8 and eight communiqués on April 6 on jihadist forums. In the communiqués, Al Shabaab announced that it opened a cattle market in Lafole district: “The decision to open this market followed a request from the district merchants who were affected by the foreign plans that targeted the cattle market, especially the Turkish plan.” The communiqués also detail multiple attacks against African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), TFG, Kenyan, and Ethiopian targets, including several improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in Baidoa.[7]    

[1] Ahmed al Haj, “Third Day of Yemen Fighting in South Kills 31,” AP, April 11, 2012. Available:
“45 al Qaeda Militants Killed and Air Raids in Abyan Governorate,” Al Masdar Online, April 11, 2012. Available:
[2] “AQAP Tied to Yemeni Oil Pipeline Attack,” UPI, April 11, 2012. Available:
[3] “Madad Reports Ansar al-Shariah Official Criticizing Media, Praising Jihadists,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 10, 2012. Available at SITE.
[4] “Details Emerge From Fighting Against Militants in Southern Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, April 11, 2012. Available:
[5] “Armed Groups Assault on Somali Police Station in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, April 11, 2012. Available:
[6] “U.S. Extends Emergency for Somalia,” UPI, April 10, 2012. Available:
[7] “Shabaab Opens Cattle Market, Claims Several Attacks,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 10, 2012. Available at SITE.
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