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: Yemeni government orders the release of detained protesters; U.S. welcomes Yemen’s national unity government

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab reports that Kenyan warplane kills child in Gedo; Kenyan and allied forces pledge deeper advance into Somalia; UN seeks $1.5bn in assistance for Somalia; TFG parliament speaker dismissed

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni Interior Minister Abdul Qadir Qahtan ordered on December 13 that protesters detained in connection to the protests in Sana’a calling for the ouster Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to be released. The exact number of detained protesters could not be confirmed, but activists reported that up to 1,400 protesters could be released.[1]
  • The office of U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland issued a press statement officially welcoming the formation of Yemen’s national unity government and commending the efforts of Yemeni Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi and Yemeni interim Prime Minister Mohammed Salam Basendwah for ensuring a peaceful transition of power in Yemen. Also, the U.S. encouraged all parties to work together to ensure a peaceful implementation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative and reaffirmed U.S. commitment to a partnership with the new Yemeni government.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab issued a statement that reported that a Kenyan airstrike killed a child in Bardhere, the capital of Gedo region. Al Shabaab governor of Gedo region, Sheikh Abbas, reported on Radio Andalus that the “anti-aircraft battalion” fired at the Kenyan warplane. A second al Shabaab statement reported that the Islamic judge in Lafole in Lower Shabelle region oversaw the amputation of the right hands of two men convicted of theft.[3]
  • Mohammed Farah, a spokesman for the pro-government Ras Kamboni militia, said that Kenyan and allied troops will move deeper into al Shabaab-controlled territory “by the end of year,” since the rains have stopped.[4]
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon submitted a report on Somalia to the UN Security Council on December 9. He briefed the council on his recent visit, noting, “We finally face a moment of fresh opportunities. We must seize it.” The UN called for $1.5 billion dollars in aid for those suffering from famine in Somalia.[5]
  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan was dismissed in a session of parliament on December 13 for failing to convene a session of parliament in the past two months. Supporters of the speaker protested that procedure was not followed; there were incidents of fist fights in the parliament.[6]

[1]Mohammed Ghobari, “Yemen orders release of detainees held over protests,” Reuters, December 13, 2011. Available:
[2] “Yemeni National Consensus Government,” U.S. Department of State Press Release, December 13, 2011. Available:
[3] “Shabaab Reports Kenyan Warplane Killing Child; Punishes Thieves,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 13, 2011. Available at SITE.
[4] Katharine Houreld, “Kenyan forces pledge further push into Somalia,” AP, December 14, 2011. Available:
[5] Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia, UN Security Council, December 9, 2011. Available:
“We Must Seize Moment of Fresh Opportunities in Somalia, Secretary-General Tells security Council During Briefing on his Recent Visit,” UN Security Council Press Release, December 13, 2011. Available:
Clar Ni Chonghaile, “UN Launches Record $1.5bn Appeal to Combat Somalia Crisis,” The Guardian, December 13, 2011. Available:
[6] “Punches Fly in Chaotic Somali Parliament Session,” AFP, December 13, 2011. Available:
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