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: FBI Director meets with President Hadi in Sana’a; unknown gunmen attack military checkpoint in Aden; armed tribesmen attack Ansar al Sharia twice near Lawder; Madad News Agency praises Ansar al Sharia “martyrs”; General People’s Congress discusses selection of new leader

Horn of Africa: Two Somali MPs reportedly detained by Ethiopian forces in Baidoa; TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed announces his decision to run in the August 2012 presidential elections; MYC leader releases video on the importance of unity in Islam

Yemen Security Brief

  • FBI Director Robert Mueller traveled to Sana’a on April 24, where he met with Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Mueller pledged to support Hadi’s government “with full force” in the face of al Qaeda and its affiliates in Yemen.[1]
  • Unknown gunmen attacked a military checkpoint in Aden on April 24 with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). There were subsequent clashes, but no casualty figures were reported.[2]
  • Armed tribesmen attacked Ansar al Sharia checkpoints near Lawder, in Abyan governorate, with hand grenades and machine guns. Three militants and one tribesman were killed. In another incident, tribesmen ambushed an Ansar al Sharia vehicle on the road connecting the villages of Umm ‘Ayn and Amsara with Lawder, killing eight militants. The tribesmen seized weapons and munitions. Both attacks occurred on April 24.[3]
  • Madad News Agency posted a report on an Ansar al Sharia militant, killed by a suspected U.S. drone strike, on its Facebook page on April 23. The “martyr,” Abu Musab al Masri, was killed in Shabwah on April 17. An Egyptian, al Masri had attempted to fight U.S. forces in Iraq but was jailed by the Egyptian government. After he was released, he participated in the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power. The report also praised another martyr, Abu Usama al Sa’awani, who led operations against the Yemeni Republican Guard in Lawder before being killed.[4] 
  • In its meeting on April 24, the General People’s Congress (GPC) discussed the selection of Abdul Kareem al Eryani, the second deputy of GPC, as the new head of the party, a Yemeni online newspaper reported. Eryani would be installed at the 8th party congress, which is currently being planned. Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president of Yemen, has been head of the GPC since its formation in 1982. The party’s by-laws mandate that the party chief must also be president of the country, but President Hadi turned down the position.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Two Somali MPs were reportedly arrested by Ethiopian forces in Baidoa. Sheikh Adan Mohammed Nur, the former parliamentary speaker, and Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade, the former Minister of Transportation, were allegedly airlifted to a jail near the Ethiopian border for opposing the creation of a regional state.[6]
  • RBC Radio reported that the current interim president of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has announced his decision to run for presidency in the upcoming elections in August 2012: “I want to declare that, if you allow me I will be a presidential candidate in the coming August.”[7]
  • The Kenyan Muslim Youth Center (MYC) released a video through its media arm, al Kata’ib Media Foundation, featuring MYC leader Ahmad Iman Ali on jihadist forums on April 24. In the video, Ali praises al Shabaab for joining al Qaeda and explains that Islam commands Muslims to unite. Ali added, “Just ask yourselves, when the Americans decided to burn the Qur'an and use it for target practice, to whom does the Qur'an belong to? And what principles does the Qur'an uphold? It upholds the principles of Islam, and it is for the Muslims. So you must understand that it is Islam and the Muslims that are being fought against.”[8]    

[1] “FBI Chief in Yemen as Drone Kills AQAP Leader,” Reuters, April 24, 2012. Available:
[2] “Unknown Gunmen Attack Military Checkpoint in Aden,” Al Masdar Online, April 24, 2012. Available:
[3] “Tribal Sources: Tribal Combatants Carry out Commando Raid on al Qaeda Position and Ambush Another Killing 8 Militants,” Al Masdar Online, April 24, 2012. Available:
[4] “Madad News Reports Egyptian Fighter Slain in Yemen,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 24, 2012. Available at SITE.
[5] “Al-Eryani to Replace Saleh as Head of GPC, Website,” Yemen Post, April 25, 2012. Available:
[6] “Ethiopian Forces in Baidoa Town Detain Two Somali MPs,” Shabelle Media Network, April 25, 2012. Available:
[7] “Somalia: President Sharif – I Am a Presidential Candidate,” Raxanreeb, April 25, 2012. Available:
[8] “MYC Chief Lectures on Unity in Shabaab Video,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 24, 2012. Available at SITE.
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