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 in Abyan between Ansar al Sharia and Yemeni military; Yemen navy sinks speedboat; Islamists provide updates on Abyan; gunmen ambush soldiers in Shabwah

Horn of Africa: Roadside bomb targeting AMISOM kills Somali woman; al Shabaab reports on drought relief work; al Shabaab fires on aid convoy in Baidoa; TFG announces creation of security force tasked with protecting aid; Ahlu Sunna pledges to rid regions of al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • Intense fighting has continued in Abyan governorate between al Qaeda-linked militants, fighting under the name of Ansar al Sharia, and the Yemeni military. A senior Yemeni security official reported that 25 militants attacked a military base in Dofes on August 26 and that one of the militants was killed. Seven soldiers were reported to have been killed. On August 27, three militants were injured in Zinjibar in clashes with pro-government tribesmen. Fighting on August 28 in Dofes killed a reported 26 militants and ten soldiers, including a colonel. Yemeni military planes also bombed militant strongholds in Zinjibar and Shaqra.[1]
  • The commander of the Yemeni navy, Major General Ruwais Mujawar, reported that naval forces sank a speedboat suspected of carry explosives. Mujawar said that warning shots were fired first, which were ignored.[2]
  • A post on a radical Islamist web forum provided updates on the fighting in Zinjibar. It claimed that Ansar al Sharia militants fought Yemeni forces in Masameer district. Twelve of the militants were killed, along with “an innumerable amount” of Yemeni soldiers. Four tanks were captured, two were destroyed, and another was damaged. A second writer claimed that ten tanks were burned.[3]
  • Gunmen ambushed Yemeni soldiers patrolling oil installations in Ataq in Shabwah governorate. Two soldiers were killed and four others were injured.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A remote-controlled roadside improvised explosive device (IED) killed a woman on August 28 when it was detonated after two AMISOM armored vehicles drove by. The day before, Somali police discovered a car rigged with explosives between K4 junction and Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport, where AMISOM is headquartered. The car bomb reportedly had a remote-controlled detonator linked to a cell phone.[5]
  • Al Shabaab reported that it had distributed money to over one thousand people in Salqali district of Hiraan region. The group also claimed that aid composed of rice, sugar, oil, flour, and dry milk was given to 831 people living in Samiyyah camp in the port city of Kismayo, the capital of Lower Jubba and to people living between Marka and Afgoi in Lower Shabelle region. Al Shabaab’s Drought Relief Team in Jowhar in Middle Shabelle region distributed aid to 800 families. The group also issued a statement on the executions of Abdi Bakal Mu’allim (Abdi Bare-Kullan), Hussein Mohamed Abdullahi, and Ibrahim Mohamed Abdi, who had been convicted of spying for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The three were shot dead in Daynille district of Mogadishu.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants fired on an aid convoy in Baidoa in the Bay region. The group has also demanded that local residents pay zakat to al Shabaab. A worker for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Abdisalam Feleg, was also shot dead in Baidoa.[7]
  • The TFG announced the creation of a Special Forces unit, which will be tasked with ensuring the safety of aid convoys in Mogadishu. Some of the soldiers will also be stationed at refugee camps to prevent armed militias from looting the food aid.[8]
  • Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a chairman Hersi Mohamed Hilowle said that Ahlu Sunna fighters would launch an offensive to rid Mudug, Galgudud, and Hiraan regions of al Shabaab. He noted that his forces have been assisted by the TFG.[9]

[1] Hakim Almasmari, “Seven Troops Killed in al Qaeda Attack in Yemen, Officials Says,” CNN, August 27, 2011. Available:
“26 al-Qaida Militants, 10 Soldiers Killed in Fierce Fighting in Southern Yemen,” AP, August 29, 2011. Available:
“Yemen Violence Kills Soldiers, Militants in South,” Reuters, August 28, 2011. Available:
[2] “Yemen’s Navy Foils Potential Boat Attack – General,” Reuters, August 28, 2011. Available:
[3] “Yemeni Jihadist Reports on Major Clash in Zinjibar,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 26, 2011. Available at SITE.
[4] “Seven Yemen Soldiers ‘Killed by Qaeda Fighters,’” AFP, August 27, 2011. Available:
“Two Soldiers Dead as Sources Say Qaeda Trains Somalis in South Yemen,” Yemen Post, August 27, 2011. Available:
[5] “Bomb Misses AU Force in Mogadishu, Kills Woman,” Reuters, August 28, 2011. Available:
“Somali Police Seize Explosive-Laden Car in Mogadishu,” Reuters, August 27, 2011. Available:
[6] “Shabaab Executes Spies, Continues Aid Distribution,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 26, 2011. Available at SITE.
[7] “Rebels Fire on Relief Trucks in Baidoa, Bay Region,” Radio Bar-Kulan, August 28, 2011. Available:
“Baidoa Elders Condemn the Killing of ICRC Officer in the District,” Radio Bar-Kulan, August 29, 2011. Available:
“Al-Shabaab Orders Baidoa Residents to Surrender Their Zakat,” Radio Bar-Kulan, August 28, 2011. Available:
[8] “Somalia Creates Special Forces to Assure Mogadishu Security,” Shabelle Media Network, August 29, 2011. Available:
[9] “Ahlu Sunna Threatens Purging al Shabaab from Central Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, August 27, 2011. Available:
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