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 warplanes target AQAP positions in Abyan governorate; unidentified assailants bomb oil well in Hadramawt governorate; civilian killed by 5th Brigade soldiers in Lahij governorate; Saudi border guards clash with Yemeni tribesmen in Sa’ada governorate; an unidentified assailant kills the director of criminal investigations in Dhamar governorate; gunmen kill a Yemeni military policeman in Sana’a; thousands of residents protest on 60th Street in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Bomb-laden car explodes in Mogadishu; IED explodes at a voter registration center in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya; Somali troops are conducting searches in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region; the Italian government voiced concern over growing al Shabaab presence in Puntland

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni warplanes reportedly struck several al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) positions in Mahfad district of Abyan governorate on December 14. Local sources reported that at least six rockets were fired at AQAP positions. Heavily armed groups, suspected of being AQAP militants, have returned to Mahfad district in the past two days according to local sources. Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) members reportedly withdrew from a number of checkpoints on December 14. Local sources added that AQAP militants took control of several PRC checkpoints on December 13.[1]
  • Unidentified assailants reportedly bombed an oil well in Hadramawt governorate on December 13. Local sources reported that an explosion caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) severely damaged an oil pump and internal components of the oil well.[2]
  • Soldiers from the 5th Brigade killed a civilian in Sabir region of Lahij governorate on December 14. Local sources identified the civilian as Jabir Fadhel al Azaybi. Azaybi was reportedly killed in a dispute near the 5th Brigade base. Local sources added that tribesmen have gathered near the 5th Brigade headquarters and tensions remain high in the region.[3]
  • Saudi border guards clashed with Yemeni tribesmen in Munabbih district in Sa’ada governorate on December 13. Saudi border guards were reportedly attempting to build a road when they were confronted by the tribesmen. Local sources have yet to report on the number of casualties.[4]
  • The director of criminal investigations in al Hada district of Dhamar governorate was killed on December 13. Local sources identified the director as Lt. Abdullah al Sarem. Sarem was killed attempting to arrest a wanted individual in Dhamar governorate.[5]
  • An unidentified Yemeni military policeman was killed by gunmen in Sana’a on December 14. One of the gunmen was also killed in a reported shootout between the gunmen and security forces. Security forces are currently pursuing the assailants. Aden al Ghad reported that the gunmen belong to Sheikh Azziz bin Seghir, a member of parliament.[6]
  • Thousands of residents protested near 60th Street in Sana’a on December 14. Local sources reported that residents protested under the banner of “Where are the decisive decisions?” Local sources added that protesters demanded the resignation of Republican Guards commander Brig. Gen. Ahmed Abdullah Saleh and the restructuring of the military before the upcoming Yemeni National Dialogue.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A car filled with explosives blew up on the Makka al Mukarama road in the Waberi district of Mogadishu on December 13. The explosion targeted an AMISOM convoy that was passing by but missed, and no AMISOM soldiers were injured. So far, the bomber and two civilians have been killed in the blast and seven other civilians are wounded. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.[8]
  • An IED planted in a Kenyan voter registration center detonated in the Dadaab Refugee camp in Kenya on December 14. At least one civilian was injured in the explosion. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[9]
  • Somali troops are conducting searches in the town of Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on December 14. At least ten people have been arrested so far. Those found having no ties to the terrorist organization al Shabaab are being released.[10]
  • The Italian government voiced its concern over the creeping al Shabaab presence in Puntland. The Italian ambassador to Somalia, Andrea Mazzella, said the Italian government would continue to support the Puntland forces through security programs.[11]  

[1] "Breaking… Airstrikes on Armed al Qaeda Positions in Mahfad District in Abyan,” Barakish, December 14, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “The Second Explosion in Less than a Month Inside an Oil Well,” Mareb Press, December 14, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “One Person by Gunshots from the 5th Brigade in Lahij Due to a Dispute over a Piece of Land,” Aden al Ghad, December 14, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Saudi Border Guards Building Road to Yemeni Mountain and Tribes Confront Them,” al Watan, December 14, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Martyrdom of Director of Criminal Investigation Division from the Gunshots of a Wanted Individual,” 26 September, December 13, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Sana’a: Martyrdom of Soldier and Death of Armed Gunman and Arrest of 7 People in a Clash with a Gang near Conference Hall,” 26 September, December 14, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
“Soldier and Gunman Killed in Clashes near President Hadi’s House in Sana’a,” Aden al Ghad, December 14, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Yemen: Thousands Participate Friday in ‘Where Are the Decisive Decisions,’” Aden al Ghad, December 14, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Car Bomb Kills Two in Somali Capital,” Reuters, December 14, 2012. Available:
“One Killed in Mogadishu Explosion,” Bar Kulan, December 14, 2012. Available:
[9] “One Injured in Blast at Voter Registration Center in Dadaab,” Bar Kulan, December 14, 2012. Available:
“One Wounded in Bomb Blast at Kenyan Poll Registration Centre,” The Daily Star, December 14, 2012. Available:
[10] “Major Operation Underway in Jowhar,” Bar Kulan, December 14, 2012. Available:
[11] “Italy Concerned Over Growing Al Shabaab Presence in Puntland,” Bar Kulan, December 13, 2012. Available:
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