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: Post on radical Islamist forum describes events in Yemen; demilitarization of capital begins; fighting is ongoing in Abyan governorate; UN warns four million people to be affected in 2012

Horn of Africa: Roadside bomb kills Kenyan policeman in Dadaab refugee camp; gunman kills prominent Somali journalist in Mogadishu; fighting in Abudwaq kills five people; Iran sends new shipment of humanitarian aid; biography of al Shabaab militant given on web forum

Yemen Security Brief

  • A post on the radical Islamist al Fida’ web forum, which was attributed to an al Qaeda-linked fighter in Abyan governorate, is the second in a series called “Jihadist Diary of Abyan.” The post described the shelling of Azzan in Shabwah governorate. The writer reported staying in Mudia in Abyan governorate and then traveling north to Sa’ada to recruit fighters to combat the al Houthi rebels.[1]
  • The demilitarization of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, began on December 17 according to a plan announced by Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi. Armored bulldozers reportedly removed barriers and checkpoints along 60 Street in the capital. Defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar announced on December 18 that he supported the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) deal. He had met with representatives from the EU, the GCC, and the permanent members of the UN Security Council.[2]
  • Fighting has been ongoing in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate. Military and medical officials reported that four Yemeni soldiers and two al Qaeda-linked militants were killed on December 18. At least six soldiers were injured in the fighting. Fighting on December 17 killed at least ten people according to senior Yemeni security officials. Four armored vehicles were destroyed and at least three soldiers and seven al Qaeda-linked militants were killed.[3]
  • The UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee warned that four million people in Yemen will be affected by Yemen’s political and economic crisis in 2012. Over half of the people are predicted to be “severely food insecure.” Months of unrest have limited access to food and basic goods; the security situation has inhibited humanitarian aid agencies’ access to affected populations.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A roadside bomb in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya killed a police officer and injured two others. A Kenyan official reported that al Shabaab is suspected to be behind the attacks.[5]
  • A man dressed in the uniform of a Somali government soldier shot dead a prominent journalist, Abdisalan Sheik Hassan, on December 18 in Mogadishu. He had received death threats prior to the shooting.[6]
  • Fighting in Abudwaq in Galgudud region between Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a and a militia loyal to a Somali member of parliament killed at least five people.[7]
  • Iran’s Press TV reported that Iran has sent a 540-ton consignment of humanitarian aid to Somalia.[8]
  • A post on the radical Islamist web forum Shumukh al Islam gave a biography of Abdullah Abdul Rahman Janaqow, who was an al Shabaab militant. According to the post, Janaqow fought against Ethiopian troops with al Shabaab and was part of a mortar team. The biography also describes how Janaqow targeted his relative, who had announced the Mogadishu security plan, with a car bomb. He also drove car bombs to their destination and then detonated them remotely. Janaqow was killed when he was in the hospital in retaliation for his assassination of his relative.[9]

[1] “AQAP Fighter Gives Account of Incidents in Abyan, Shabwa,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 16, 2011. Available at SITE.
[2] “Yemeni General Backs Peace Deal, 10 Militants Killed,” Reuters, December 18, 2011. Available:
“Warring Yemen Forces Quit Sanaa, 2 Troops Die in South,” Reuters, December 17, 2011. Available:
[3] Ahmed al Haj, “Yemen: 4 Soldiers Killed in Clashes with Militants,” AP, December 18, 2011. Available:
Hakim Almasmari, “Clashes Leave 10 Dead in Yemen,” CNN, December 17, 2011. Available:
[4] Lynne Nahhas, “Yemen Crisis to Hit 4 mn People in 2012: UN,” AFP, December 18, 2011. Available:
[5] “Kenya Refugee Camp Explosion Kills Policeman,” AFP, December 19, 2011. Available:
“Kenyan Policeman Killed in Dadaab Blast Near Somalia,” BBC, December 19, 2011. Available:
[6] “Man in Soldier Uniform Kills Somali Journalist,” AP, December 18, 2011. Available:
[7] “Fighting in Central Somalia Kils 5, Injuries Others,” Mareeg Online, December 18, 2011. Available:
[8] “Iran Sends Major Aid Shipment to Somalia,” Press TV, December 19, 2011. Available:
[9] “Jihadist Gives Biography of Slain Shabaab Fighter,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 16, 2011. Available at SITE.
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