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: Release of Saudi deputy consul stalled; protesting Second Mountain Infantry Brigade soldiers transferred; captured Swiss teacher’s release postponed; Hadi travels to Saudi Arabia; military committee asks Hadi to handle extrajudicial arrests; U.S. businessman flees to Yemen from the UAE

Horn of Africa: Ugandan military helicopters missing in Kenya; Kenyan military prepares for operation in Kismayo; Kenyan police arrest three Tanzanians; al Shabaab attacks Somali army base in Elasha Biyaha; gunman kills Somali Media Relations Director of the Interior Ministry; Ugandan police officers deploy to Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • The release of Abdullah al Khalidi, the Saudi deputy consul who was captured in Aden last March, was stalled on August 12 when the negotiators for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said they needed more time to talk over the deal. Southern tribal leader Tariq al Fadhli falsely announced Khalidi’s release on August 12. An anonymous tribal source indicated that the negotiators were on the verge of a deal, but that talks stalled when Saudi Arabia asked for a lower ransom. The Yemeni government denied reports that President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s son Jalal Hadi was involved in the negotiations.[1]
  • Ali Said Obaid, spokesman for the Yemeni military committee, announced that the approximately 150 to 200 soldiers from the Second Mountain Infantry Brigade who left their posts in Lawder to protest their reassignment to the Southern Military Zone have been transferred to Republican Guard camp 48 on August 11.[2]
  • The release of AQAP prisoner Sylvia Abrahat, a Swiss teacher who was captured in al Hudaydah in March 2012, was delayed when her captors raised their demands on August 12, according to an official at the Yemeni Ministry of the Interior. She also appeared in a video appeal on August 12.[3]
  • President Hadi made his second visit to Saudi Arabia to attend the Islamic Summit in Mecca on August 13.[4]
  • The Yemeni military committee demanded that President Hadi immediately deal with the prisoners arrested during the 2011 period of political unrest on August 11.[5]
  • American businessman Zack Shahin, who posted a $1.4 million bail in Dubai last May, escaped into Yemen from the UAE and was detained in Sana’a. He fled after receiving threats to his life, according to his lawyers. Shahin, the former CEO of Deyaar, a Dubai real estate development firm, was jailed in 2008 for embezzlement.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A Ugandan military spokesman reported that three Ugandan MI-24 helicopters went missing after being deployed toward Kismayo to support a ground offensive against al Shabaab in the Somali port city. It is believed that the helicopters crashed in the Mount Kenya region in central Kenya. There are conflicting reports over how many helicopters left Entebbe on August 12. The most reliable reports say that four helicopters left, but only one helicopter, a MI-17 transport helicopter, landed at the Kenyan base in Garissa. Another says that five helicopters departed Entebbe and that one crash-landed, one landed in Wajir in Kenya, and the other three were missing.[7]  
  • Kenya’s Daily Nation reports that Kenya is preparing for an offensive against al Shabaab in Kismayo. The offensive, slated to begin on August 8, was delayed after a meeting between regional army commanders on July 23 in Addis Ababa. Aerial surveillance of Kismayo has already begun. According to reports, four battalions of Ugandan and Burundian troops will support the offensive, as well as Ethiopian assets.[8]  
  • Kenyan police arrested three Tanzanians in Lamu County in north Kenya on August 9. The Tanzanians, suspected of having ties to al Shabaab, entered the country on July 20.[9]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali army base in Elasha Biyaha, about 11 miles south of Mogadishu, on August 11, according to reports.[10]
  • A gunman killed Yusuf Ali Osman, who had been working as the Media Relations Director in Somalia’s Ministry of Information, on August 12 in Mogadishu’s Dharkenley district. Somali Minister of Information Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed noted that Osman had served his country for 30 years in a statement. UN Special Representative for Somalia Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga issued a statement condemning Osman’s death.[11]
  • About 140 Ugandan police officers have been deployed to Mogadishu under Formed Police Units (FPUs) to protect Somali political leaders ahead of the August 20 election. The FPUs will work with local Somali police to ensure the personal security of the candidates.[12]       

[1] Mohammed Mukhashaf, “Plans to free seized Saudi envoy fall through: source,” Reuters, August 12, 2012. Available:
Mohammed al-Kibsi, “Saudi new condition fails diplomat release, tribal mediator,” Yemen Observer, August 12, 2012. Available:
[2] “The military council contains the protests of the Second Brigade in camp 48 of the Republican Guard,” al Masdar Online, August 11, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemen Official: Al-Qaeda cancel release of Swiss Teacher,” Yemen Post, August 12, 2012. Available:
[4] “President Hadi leaves for Saudi Arabia,” al Masdar Online, August 13, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Military Committee Orders Immediate Measures over Extrajudicial Arrests in Yemen,” Yemen Post, August 11, 2012. Available:
[6] Mohammed Ghobari, “Bailed U.S. businessman fled to Yemen after threats –lawyers,” Reuters, August 13, 2012. Available:
[7] Nicholas Bariyo, “Three Ugandan Military Helicopters Missing,” Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2012. Available:
“Bad Weather Hampers Ugandan Helicopter Crash Rescue,” Reuters, August 13, 2012. Available:
Jeffrey Gettleman, “Ugandan Copters en Route to Battle Shabab, Disappear Over Kenya,” New York Times, August 13, 2012. Available:
“Uganda Search For Missing Helicopters in Kenya,” BBC, August 13, 2012. Available:
[8] Alex Atuhaire, “Troops Gear up for Kismayu Assault,” Daily Nation, August 13, 2012. Available:
[9] Zahra Rashid, “Three Seized Over Links to Terror Group,” Daily Nation, August 12, 2012. Available:
[10] “Al Shabab Attacks Somali Army Base Outside Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, August 11, 2012. Available:
[11] “Two Journalists Killed in Somalia,” Associated Press, August 13, 2012. Available:
“Somali Government Condemns Assassination of the MIPT Manager in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, August 12, 2012. Available:
Augustine Mahiga, “UN Special Representative for Somalia statement on assassination of Somali Official,” UN Political Office for Somalia, August 12, 2012. Available:
[12] Steve Mbogo, “Ugandan Police Unit to Protect Somali Leaders,” East African, August 11, 2012. Available:
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