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 forces kill four al Qaeda-linked militants in Abyan; Taiz clashes kill three more people; AQAP leader orders fighters to Damaj in Sa’ada

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab reports capturing a Somali base near Afmadow; al Shabaab announces forthcoming change in name; EU to increase funds to AMISOM; suicide car bomb explodes in Mogadishu; gunmen attack Turkish medical center in Mogadishu; UN Security Council expands sanctions against Eritrea; unknown assailants kill two security officers in Galkayo; al Shabaab arrests twenty people near Jowhar; al Shabaab demands payment from local traders in Burhakaba in Bay region  

Yemen Security Brief  

  • A local official reported that Yemeni security forces shelled positions held by al Qaeda-linked militants, killing four militants near Zinjibar in Abyan governorate. The shelling was reportedly in response to an attack on tribesmen allied with the Yemeni military that wounded two tribesmen.[1]  
  • Clashes between Republican Guard troops and opposition tribesmen killed two tribesmen and wounded five others in al Hasab neighborhood in Taiz on December 5, according to a local medic. An opposition official also reported that Republican Guard troops captured 20 opposition gunmen during the clashes. Also, a shell fired by Yemeni troops struck a bus en route to al Hasab district killing one civilian and wounding several others in Taiz. In Sana’a, clashes erupted overnight between Yemeni troops and tribesmen loyal to Hashid tribal confederation leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar in al Hasaba district in north Sana’a.[2]  
  • A Yemeni jihadist posted a message that said that AQAP leader Nasser al Wahayshi is ordering fighters to Damaj in Sa’ada governorate to fight the al Houthis, on the radical Islamist web forum, Shumukh al Islam, on December 3. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) shari'a official Sheikh Abu Zubair Adil al Abab passed on the message from Wahayshi during a lecture. Abab announced AQAP’s willingness to train fighters to fight the al Houthis and warned the al Houthis saying, “You tried our strength, and the day of al-Ghadir is not far from you.”[3]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief  

  • Al Shabaab released a statement describing an attack it conducted against a Transitional Federal Government (TFG) camp near Afmadow in Lower Jubba region on December 3. The group said that the attack began at 6:00 am and lasted several hours. According to the statement, al Shabaab took complete control of the camp, killing more than eighty “apostates” and capturing 11 “Land Cruisers,” a supply truck, a number of small arms, and several machine guns and mortars. The statement also claimed that a recent airstrike conducted by Kenyan aircraft in the village of al Adde in Gedo region was in retaliation to al Shabaab’s attack. Al Shabaab claimed the strike primarily hit a refugee camp, killing four people and wounding six.[4]  
  • Senior al Shabaab leaders, including deputy leader Mukhtar Robow, spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage, Fuad Qalaf and Hassan Dahir Aweys, as well as clerics from al Shabaab-held areas, met in Baidoa in Bay region. A statement following the meeting announced that the group will be changing its name to Imaarah Islamiyah (Islamic Authority).[5]  
  • The European Union (EU) agreed to send an additional 50 million euros to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton said that the money was intended to be used to combat piracy, assist in development, and to distribute humanitarian aid.[6]  
  • Police questioned the driver of a car in Mogadishu, moving his vehicle to a quieter side street near Mogadishu's K4 junction. The driver then detonated a bomb, killing at least three people.[7]  
  • Locals report that three unknown gunmen attacked a Turkish medical center with grenades in Wadajir district in Mogadishu killing one guard and wounding several other staff and damaging the building.  The center provided medical aid for refugees living in Mogadishu.[8]  
  • The UN Security Council voted to increase sanction against Eritrea for its alleged support of Islamist militants, including al Shabaab. The measure passed with 13 nations in favor. Russia and China abstained. An earlier draft of the resolution would have blocked any foreign investment into Eritrea’s fledgling mining industry as well as stopping taxes on remittances that make up a substantial portion of Eritrea’s income. The current language required that any company involved in mining in Eritrea to “exercise vigilance” and ensure investment money does not contribute to regional instability.[9]
  • Unknown assailants threw two grenades into Puntland’s regional administration headquarters in Galkayo in Mudug region, killing two security officers. The attackers quickly left the scene, but authorities responding to the attack arrested several youths who were in the area.[10]  
  • Al Shabaab militants arrested twenty people in Baroweyne village, 15 km north of Jowhar in Middle Shabelle region, for allegedly “masterminding” a fight that erupted between two rival area clans several days ago.[11]  
  • Mohamed Hassan, a local al Shabaab leader, demanded that traders in Burhakaba in Bay region pay $18,000 within 15 days. Hassan said the money was needed to combat TFG and Ethiopian forces and threatened that those who did not meet the demand would be punished. One of the traders, Ibrahim Hussein, said that it would be difficult for many of the traders to pay that much money.[12]  

[1]Mohammed Ghobari, “Protester shot dead as snipers stay in Taiz, tanks quit,” Reuters, December 5, 2011. Available:
[2] “2 Killed in Clashes between Yemeni Gov't forces, Opposition,” Xinhua, December 6, 2011. Available:
Wissam Keyrouz, “Yemen opposition blames regime for killings,” AFP, December 6, 2011. Available:
[3] “Yemeni Jihadist Reports AQAP Leader Ordering Fighters to Damaj,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 5, 2011. Available at SITE.
[4] “Shabaab Claims Suicide Bombing, Clash; Reports Burning Spoiled Food,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 5, 2011. Available at SITE.
[5] “Al-Shabab changes name to 'Somali Islamic Emirate',” Jowhar Meda, December 6, 2011. Available:
Mohamed Odowa, “Al-Shabaab to Change Name to Imaarah Islamiyah,” SomaliaReport, December 5, 2011. Available:
[6] “The EU provides additional support to security and peace in Somalia,” European Commission, December 5, 2011. Available: 
[7] Richard Lough, “Suicide Bomber HIts Somali Capital,” Reuters, December 6, 2011. Available:
[8] “Gunmen attack a Turkish medical centre in Somali capital,” Shabelle Media Network, December 5, 2011. Available:
[9] Louis Charbonneau, “UN council expands Eritrea sanctions over Somalia,” Reuters, December 5, 2011. Available:
[10] “Two security officers injured in a grenade attacks in Galkayo, Mudug region,” December 6, 2011. Available:
[11] “Al-Shabaab detains 20 people in parts of Middle Shabelle,” Radio Bar-Kulan, December 6, 2011. Available:
[12] “Al-Shabaab compels Bur-hakaba traders to pay money,” Radio Bar-Kulan, December 6, 2011. Available:
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