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: Shelling erupts in Sana’a; Salafists kill three al Houthis in Damaj; Yemeni new unity government formed

Horn of Africa: Kenyan airstrikes destroy al Shabaab camps south of Afmadow; al Shabaab lashes youth in Afgoi; al Shabaab claims responsibility for suicide car bomb attack  

Yemen Security Brief  

  • The Yemeni government and opposition leaders accused each other of firing artillery shells in Sana’a. A spokesman for Yemen’s Interior Ministry accused tribesmen loyal to Hashid tribal confederation leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar of firing artillery shells at government troops in al Hasaba district in north Sana’a. One of those shells reportedly struck the Cabinet building. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Hashid tribal confederation leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar, Abdul Qai al Qaisi, denied the government claim tribesmen targeted the cabinet building, but said that shells fired from the Interior Ministry exploded near Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar’s residence in al Hasaba district.[1]  
  • Salafists killed three al Houthis in an attack in Damaj in Sa’ada governorate, according to an al Houthi statement. Al Houthi leader Abdul Malak al Houthi released a statement saying, "In a step that reveals their malicious intentions, [Sunnis] opened fire on us, killing three people," and "these unprovoked attacks are unjustified and are aimed at igniting a sectarian war in the country."[2]  
  • Yemen’s interim Prime Minister Mohammed Salam Basendwah announced that a new unity government has been formed and said that all names of the cabinet members have been agreed upon. Basendwah said that the new unity government will be announced formally.[3]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief  

  • The Kenyan Air Force executed air raids targeting two al Shabaab camps south of Afmadow in Lower Jubba region. Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir reported that the strikes killed a number of al Shabaab fighters and destroyed technicals. Separately, al Shabaab fighters attacked a Kenyan Navy ship off the coast of Kudha. Five militants are believed to have been killed.[4]  
  • Al Shabaab militants in Afgoi in Lower Shabelle region publicly carried out a sentence of 100 lashes on a 15-year-old girl who became engaged to a man without her parents’ consent. She had reportedly already been engaged to another man.[5]  
  • Al Shabaab’s military spokesman Sheikh Abdi Aziz Abu Mus’ab claimed responsibility for the December 6 suicide car bomb attack near K4 junction. He said, “We were behind the attack and it was successful against our enemy, the civilians heard our warning to avoid military bases of Somali soldiers and Amisom, they did so, we thank them how they abide by our orders.” He also said that the attack was targeting Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops.[6]  
  • Eritrea’s foreign ministry released a statement denying the country’s role in aiding armed groups in Somalia. The statement said, “The sanctions were the result of undisguised United States hostility towards Eritrea. . . . It was an attempt by the U.S. administration to scapegoat Eritrea for its faulty and failed policies in the Horn of Africa.”[7]  

[1]Ahmed al Haj, “Yemen regime, rebels trade shelling accusations,” AP, December 7, 2011. Available:
Mohammed Ghobari, “Government and tribal forces clash in Yemen,” Reuters, December 7, 2011. Available:
[2] “Yemeni Shia rebels says Sunnis killed three,” AFP, December 7, 2011. Available:
[4] Rawlings Otieno, “40 Al Shabaab killed in air strikes,” The Standard, December 6, 2011. Available:
Mohamed Ahmed and Richard Lough, “Suicide Bomber Hits Somali Capital, Dozens Killed in South,” Reuters, December 6, 2011. Available:
Dominic Wabala, “45 Shabaab killed in attack on Afmadhow,” The Star, December 7, 2011. Available:
[5] “Al-Shabaab Flogs a Girl for Allegedly Engaging in an ‘Illegal Engagement’ in Afgooye,” Radio Bar-Kulan, December 7, 2011. Available:“illegal-engagement”-in-afgooye
[6] “Somali rebel group, Shabab claims car bomb attack in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, December 7, 2011. Available:
[7] Aaron Maasho, “Eritrea Blames US for Expanded UN Sanctions,” Reuters, December 7, 2011. Available:
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