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: Suspected AQAP militants attack two military checkpoints in Lahij governorate; al Houthis accused of killing two women in al Shahel district in Hajjah

Horn of Africa: Ahlu Sunna administration rejects elected Somali parliament; Ethiopian and Somaliland forces deploy to respective borders; interim TFG president meets with international community

Yemen Security Brief

  • Suspected AQAP militants attacked two military checkpoints in the southern governorate of Lahij. Subsequent firefights continued for several hours between Yemeni forces and the militants. Yemeni troops did not suffer any casualties. A local security official reported that the armed militants used assault rifles and improvised hand grenades to attack the checkpoints. Military brigades stationed in Lahij are now on high alert, following these attacks and the natural gas pipeline attack in Shabwah governorate early Tuesday morning.[1] 
  • Several local sources from Hajjah governorate in northern Yemen reported Tuesday that al Houthi rebels killed two women in the district of al Shahel in Hajjah governorate. The reason for the killings is unclear; however, sources in the region reported that the women were protesting at a local school. Violent clashes erupted from the incident between the girls’ family and the armed al Houthi assailants. Local sources confirmed that government security forces did not respond to the incident, even as armed al Houthi reinforcements from neighboring regions came to fight.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a administration rejected the newly elected Somali parliament because the group was not involved during the election process. According to an interview with Bar Kulan, the group’s chairman Omar Sheikh Abdikadir accused the presidential candidates of being selfish and neglecting the interests of all Somalis.[3]
  • The Ethiopian military has deployed troops to a number of key locations along its border with Somaliland preemptively. The government seeks to discourage the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) from challenging its authority after the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Eye witnesses reported observing roughly 4,000 heavily armed troops crossing Jigjiga on their way to the border. In response, Somaliland has placed its forces on high alert and deployed along the border with Ethiopia. Somaliland claims rebels may act soon and attempt to destabilize the region.[4]
  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and acting speaker General Musse Hassan Abdille met with the international community on August 22 during a closed-door meeting in Mogadishu. Participants from the European Union, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Turkey, UK, and U.S., discussed the country’s newly elected parliament and the ongoing transition process. In further comments, White House spokesman Jay Carney stated that it would not accept any political interference in the founding of a permanent government in Somalia.[5]      



[1]  “Gunmen Attack Two Military Checkpoints in Yemen,” Xinhua, August 21, 2012. Available:
[2] “Breaking News: Armed al Houthis Kill Two Women in al Sahel Resulting in Clashes,” Hajjah Today, August 21, 2012. Available:
“Two Women Killed in Hajjah by al Houthis,” News Yemen, August 21, 2012. Available:
[3] “Ahlu Sunna Rejects the New Somali Parliament,” Bar Kulan, August 22, 2012.
[4] “Somaliland: Ethiopian Forces Troops Mass on Border,” Somaliland Press, August 22, 2012. Available:
[5] “Somali President and PM Meet with International Community Partners,” Mareeg Online, August 22, 2012.
“Statement by the Press Secretary on Somalia’s New Federal Parliament,” White House Press Statement, August 20, 2012. Available:
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