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:  Clashes kill sixteen al Qaeda-linked militants and four soldiers outside of Zinjibar; fighting in Sa’ada kills at least 9 people; al Houthi militants storm a school in Amran governorate

Horn of Africa: Roadside bomb kills one person in Mogadishu; bomb explodes in Dadaab refugee camp; 200 Djiboutian troops arrive to Mogadishu; shooting in Garissa, Kenya wounds two people; clashes occur between TFG and al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Sixteen al Qaeda-linked militants and four Yemeni soldiers were killed during continuing combat outside of Zinjibar, according to a Yemeni military official. Seven Yemeni soldiers were wounded and airlifted to a hospital in Sana’a. The fighting outside of Zinjibar has been accompanied by heavy artillery bombardments.[1]
  • At least 9 people were killed during fighting between the Shiite al Houthi rebels and Salafists in the northern governorate of Sa’ada. A Yemeni security official reported from Sa’ada that four al Houthi rebels and five fighters from the Wa'ela tribe were killed and dozens more were injured in western Damaj. “The conflict will continue as long as the rebels try to prevent Sunni tribesmen from delivering aid to the residents of besieged Damaj,” said the official. The official was referring to the al Houthis’ December 18 shelling of the nearby district, in which five people were killed.[2]
  • Separately, a group of al Houthis stormed the Shahid Zubairy secondary school in Shahara, a village in Amran governorate. School instructors were fired upon with machine guns as the al Houthi rebels approached. One of them, Abdullah Yahya, was moderately injured. The militants expelled the students and teachers, keeping the school as a base. The head of teachers in the governorate condemned the attacks, and requested that local authorities take measures to expel the militants from the school. The attack seems to be part of the al Houthis’ strategy to expand their area of operations and influence in Amran, as they have done in Saada and Hajjah governorates.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A roadside bomb in Mogadishu killed one woman and wounded three others. The blast occurred in Dharkenley district.[4]
  • A Kenyan district commissioner reported that a bomb attack occurred in Dadaab refugee camp. The explosion narrowly missed the car of a senior police officer. No injuries have been reported.[5]
  • A Somali government minister reported that 200 Djiboutian troops arrived in Mogadishu to assist African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops. About 10,000 AMISOM troops are currently deployed in the Somali capital; commanders believe they need up to 20,000 to safeguard Mogadishu.[6]
  • Gunmen shot and wounded two barbers in Garissa in north Kenya. Police and eyewitnesses reported that the gunmen stormed the barbershop and shot the victims in the head and chest before fleeing. The attack was believed to be carried out by al Shabaab sympathizers.[7]
  • Overnight clashes between Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops and al Shabaab militants ensued near the capital. Residents confirmed the deaths of four al Shabaab militants and one civilian. Six other civilians were wounded during the attack.[8]

[1] “Yemeni Official: Clashes in Country’s South Kill 16 Al-Qaida-Linked Militants and Four Soldiers”, AP, December 20, 2011. Available:
[2] “9 Killed in Sectarian Conflict in Yemen”, Xinhua, December 20, 2011. Available:
[3] Kamal Al Salami, “Instructor Injured in Houthi Fire After They Broke Into a Secondary School in Amran and Expelled the Students and Teachers”, Al-Sahwa, December 19, 2011. Available:
[4] “Blast in Mogadishu-Somalia Kills a Woman, Injures 3 others,” Mareeg Online, December 20, 2011. Available:,-injuries-3-others&sid=22265&tirsan=3
[5] “Second Bomb Attack in 2 Days in Kenyan Refugee Camp Narrowly Misses Senior Kenyan Policeman,” AP, December 20, 2011. Available:
[6] “Tiny State of Djibouti Sends Somalia 200 Troops,” AP, December 20, 2011. Available:
[7] Cyrus Ombati, “Explosion in Dadaab, Two Shot in Garissa,” The Standard, December 20, 2011. Available:,%20two%20shot%20in%20Garissa
[8] “Blast in Mogadishu-Somalia Kills a Woman, Injures 3 others,” Mareeg Online, December 20, 2011. Available:,-injuries-3-others&sid=22265&tirsan=3
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