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: Senior al Houthi leaders will reportedly hold meeting in Sa’ada governorate; jihadist forum user identifies two AQAP militants killed in a recent targeted airstrike; tribal negotiations take place in Ma’rib governorate following clashes; gunmen attempt to raid Yemeni Central Bank in Sana’a; security forces recover the body of kidnapped security official in Hadramawt governorate; members of the 314th Brigade expel their commander in Sana’a; clashes in Aden leave one person dead and several others wounded; Yemeni soldiers arrest security official in Abyan governorate; Central Security Forces open fire on civilians in Hadramawt governorate; Yemeni Coast Guard forces open fire on fishermen off the coasts of Hadramawt governorate;  security forces thwart prison escape attempt in Dhamar governorate

Horn of Africa: Somali police arrest 15 in Mogadishu, Banadir region; al Shabaab officer found in Elbur, Galgudud region; Muslim Youth Center releases celebratory message on its English-language blog; grenade attack occurs in Mandera, Kenya; Somali government gives al Shabaab militants 100 days to surrender; Somali government delegation visits Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; security leaders meet in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; Somali government representatives meet with Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a leaders in Galgudud region; Somali Parliament rejects 2013 government budget

Yemen Security Brief

  • A local Yemeni news source citing a Saudi newspaper reported on December 27 that senior al Houthi leaders are planning a massive meeting in Sa’ada governorate. Al Houthi leaders from all over Yemen and tribesmen loyal to al Houthis will participate in the meeting. The Yemeni new source added that al Houthi leaders, who had previously been working in secret, will appear for the first time in the meeting. Tribal leaders from Sana’a, Amran, Hajjah, Dhamar, Ibb, al Mahwit, al Jawf, Taiz, and Ma’rib governorates will participate in the meeting. Al Houthi leaders will reportedly work to appoint military commanders to various governorates to help recruit tribal leaders for their cause, as well recruit youths to carry out future military operations.[1]
  • A jihadist forum user identified two al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants who were killed in a targeted airstrike on December 24. The two AQAP militants, identified as Abdullah Bawazir and Nabil al Khalidi, were killed along with three other unidentified AQAP militants in Hadramawt governorate on December 24. The jihadist forum user added that both Bawazir and Khalidi escaped from a prison in al Mukalla city of Hadramawt governorate in June 2011.[2]
  • Local sources reported on December 27 that tribal negotiations are taking place in Ma’rib governorate. The negotiations come after a series of clashes in Wadi Habab region on December 25 between Yemeni military forces and local tribesmen. Local sources added that at least 16 people were killed in the clashes, including 12 military soldiers. Unconfirmed reports from local a Yemeni source indicated that clashes were ongoing as of December 27.[3]
  • Unidentified gunmen attempted to raid the Yemeni Central Bank in Sana’a on December 26. The gunmen were reportedly riding in two vehicles at the time of the raid. One Yemeni soldier was wounded in the attempted raid.[4] 
  • Security forces recovered the body of a kidnapped Yemeni security officer in Hadramawt governorate on December 27. Lt. Col. Nemiri al Awdi, who was the Deputy Director of Traffic in al Qatan district in Hadramawt governorate, was kidnapped by suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants on November 29. Awdi’s body was found mutilated, with several bullet shots in the chest, his eyes gouged out, and his ears dismembered.[5]
  • Several officers and soldiers of the 314th Brigade expelled their commander Mohammad Khalil from his headquarters in Sana’a on December 27. The officers and soldiers accused Khalil of corruption.[6]
  • Clashes in Aden governorate left at least one person killed and 14 people wounded on December 25. Security forces reportedly clashed with local residents in Dar Saad district following the demolition of fences that were built without valid permits. At least one person was killed and eight more were wounded in the clashes. In a separate event, unidentified assailants ambushed members of the 39th Brigade in Dar Saad district. Local sources reported that six members of the 39th Brigade were wounded in the attack.[7]
  • Local Yemeni soldiers protested and arrested a security official in Zinjibar city in Abyan governorate on December 26. Local sources reported that the soldiers blockaded a Public Security Administration building, prohibiting Col. Fadhel al Shihri from exiting the building. The soldiers are reportedly protesting due to salary cuts by the Public Security Administration.[8]
  • Yemeni Central Security Forces (CSF) soldiers reportedly opened fire on a civilian vehicle at a checkpoint near al Mukalla city in Hadramawt governorate on December 26.[9]
  • Yemeni Coast Guard forces opened fire on a group of fishermen off the coasts of Hadramawt governorate on December 26. One fisherman, identified as al Barak al Zuwaydi, was killed by the Yemeni Coast Guard.[10]
  • Security forces thwarted a prison escape attempt in Dhamar governorate on December 27. A prisoner who is currently on death row was caught by security forces and returned to the prison.[11]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali police conducted security operations in Mogadishu, Banadir region on December 27. The searches were concentrated in the Hamar Weyne, Waberi, Hoban and Dharkenley districts of the city. Fifteen suspects were arrested during the operation. Additionally, six AK-47’s, two pistols, and two cars were also confiscated during the raids.[12]
  • A grenade attack occurred in Mandera, Kenya on December 27. The grenade was thrown at a night club filled with non-locals who were out celebrating Boxing Day. Bar Kulan reported one civilian injury and Radio Mustaqbal reported eight civilian and Kenyan troop deaths. No arrests have yet been made and the reason behind the attack is not known.[13]
  • The Kenya-based Muslim Youth Center posted a message to its English-language blog on December 26, celebrating its accomplishments in 2012. The message praised those young people who joined the jihad in East Africa. The message also declared triumph in making Kenya a “legal war zone,” and said it will continue to recruit young people to its efforts in Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, and Mali.[14]
  • An al Shabaab officer was found dead in Elbur, Galgudud region on December 26. Sheikh Hassan Abu Hudeyfa was killed after a disagreement with other al Shabaab militants over how much money would be taken from local villages.[15]
  • Somali Interior Minister, Abdikarin Hussein Guled, has given al Shabaab militants 100 days to surrender to Somali or AMISOM troops. If al Shabaab soldiers surrender within 100 days they will be allowed to reintegrate into society without any repercussions.[16]
  • A group of representatives from the Somali government will arrive in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on December 27. The delegation will contain Justice Minister, Abdullahi Ebyan, Defense Minister Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi, Interior Minister Abdikarin Hussein Guled and Information Minister Abdullahi Alimoge Hirsi. The Somali government representatives will meet with leaders in Kismayo to discuss security in the city.[17]
  • A meeting between security leaders in the Hiraan region was held in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on December 27. During the meeting it was decided that security operations should be held in all parts of Beledweyne. Additionally, Somali troops will soon begin training offered by African Union forces in the region.[18]
  • A delegation from the Somali government will arrive in the central Somali region of Galgudud on December 27. The government representatives will meet with leaders from the Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a militia, who are currently controlling the region. Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a has said they are fully part of the Somali government and are welcoming the Somali government delegation warmly.[19]  
  • The Somali Parliament rejected the 2013 government budget put forth by the Somali Cabinet. Of the 154 parliament members in attendance, 54 voted yes, 70 voted no, and 30 abstained. The Somali Cabinet has 30 days to return an amended budget.[20]  

[1] “Leaders and Cadres of the People’s Congress Join al Houthis; Saudi Newspaper Reveals al Houthi Plot to Contain Yemeni Regions and Mechanisms for Expanding Those That Rely on Them,” Mareb Press, December 27, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Jihadist Identifies Slain AQAP Fighters as al Mukalla Prison Escapees,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 26, 2012. Available at SITE.
[3] “Leaders Seek Agreement after 16 Die in Ongoing Ma’rib Clashes,” Yemen Times, December 27, 2012. Available:
[4] “Gunmen Attempt to Storm Central Bank of Yemen,” al Sahwa, December 26, 2012. Available:
[5] “Yemen Police Officer’s Body Found Mutilated: Security,” The Daily Star, December 27, 2012. Available:
[6] “Officers and Soldiers of the 314th Brigade Expel Their Commander ‘Mohammad Khalil,’ Accusing Him of Corruption,” al Sahwa, December 27, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “One Person Killed and Eight Wounded, Including Soldiers During an Operation to Demolish Walls in Aden and Secretary General of the Southern Mobility Movement Expresses His Regret,” Aden Online, December 25, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Security Soldiers in Zinjibar Arrest Security Leader,” Aden al Ghad, December 26, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Central Security Forces Soldiers at Abdullah Ghurayb in Hadramawt Practice Terrorism against Civilians,” Aden al Ghad, December 26, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] “One Civilian Wounded by Yemeni Soldier Gunfire in al Mukalla,” Aden al Ghad, December 26, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[11] “Dhamar Security Thwarts Attempt by Death Row Inmate to Escape from Prison,” 26 September, December 27, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[12] “Security Operation Conducted in Mogadishu, 15 Arrested,” Bar Kulan, December 27, 2012. Available:
[13] “One Injured in Mandera Blast,” Bar Kulan, December 27, 2012. Available:
“Blast Killed 8 and Left Many More Injured in Mandera, Kenya,” Radio Mustaqbal, December 27, 2012. Available:
[14] “MYC Celebrates  ‘Great Triumphs’ in 2012,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 26, 2012. Available at SITE.
[15] “Dead al Shabaab Officer Found in El Bur,” Radio Mustaqbal, December 26, 2012. Available:
[16] “Somalia Sets 100 Days for al Shabaab Militants to Surrender,” Shabelle, December 26, 2012. Available:
[17] “Somali Government Delegation Arrive in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, December 27, 2012. Available:
[18] “Security Meeting Held in Beledweyne,” Bar Kulan, December 27, 2012. Available:
[19] “Government Delegation to Visit Central Region,” Bar Kulan, December 27, 2012. Available:
[20] Parliament Rejects 2013 Government Budget,” Bar Kulan, December 27, 2012. Available:
“Somali Parliament Sends proposed Budget Back to Government,” December 27, 2012. Available:
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