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: Security forces thwart al Qaeda prison escape attempt in Aden governorate; al Houthi rebels reportedly reach agreement to import weapons to Sana’a; unidentified assailants sabotage electricity lines in Ma’rib governorate; Yemeni attack helicopter thwarts pipeline bombing attempt in Ma’rib governorate; security forces arrest two suspects in prosecutor’s office raid in Sana’a; Sa’ada residents protest in front of President Hadi’s residence in Sana’a; unidentified assailants bomb civilian bus in Taiz governorate; gunmen kill child in qat market in Taiz governorate; gunmen attempt to kidnap youth activist in Taiz governorate

Horn of Africa: Grenade attack in Bakara market, Mogadishu; Ahlu Sunna militia bans firearms in Dhusamareb, Galgudud region; post-election fighting breaks out in Hargeisa, Wooqoyi Galbeed region; U.S. State Department supports the AU mission in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Security forces thwarted a prison escape attempt in Mansoura city of Aden governorate on December 7. Local sources reported that at least 25 al Qaeda-affiliated prisoners dug a tunnel eight meters in length and were in the final stages of carrying out their escape plan. Local sources added that the tunnel was dug using basic tools. The 25 prisoners were reportedly transferred to an unspecified location as security forces destroy the tunnel.[1]
  • Al Houthi rebels have reportedly reached an agreement with an arms dealer to import weapons into Yemen and transport them to Sana’a. Details regarding the identity of the arms dealer and types of weapons that may be imported are currently unclear.[2]
  • Unidentified assailants sabotaged electrical transmission lines in Ma’rib governorate on December 7. Local sources reported that the assailants targeted transmission lines in the al Saqat region of Wadi Abeidah district. The transmission lines reportedly connect Ma’rib and Sana’a governorate. The attack halted operations at the Ma’rib gas power plant.[3]
  • A Yemeni attack helicopter reportedly thwarted a pipeline bombing attempt on December 7. Local sources reported that the helicopter thwarted an attempt by tribesmen to bomb a pipeline in Wadi Abeidah district of Ma’rib governorate. Local sources added that the tribesmen were digging a hole underneath the pipeline when the helicopter arrived and forced the tribesmen to flee.[4]
  • Security forces arrested two individuals in Sana’a accused of raiding a prosecutor’s office on December 5. Gunmen associated with Yemeni businessman Hamid al Ahmar raided the prosecutor’s office in southern Sana’a in search of files related to terrorism cases.[5]
  • Thousands of residents from Sa’ada governorate reportedly protested in front of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s residence in Sana’a on December 6. The protesters demanded better representation at the upcoming National Dialogue. The protesters took issue with the percentage of al Houthi representation in National Dialogue, stating that smaller communities from Sa’ada governorate are not being represented.[6]
  • Unidentified assailants bombed a civilian bus in Taiz governorate on December 7. Local sources reported that the assailants threw a hand grenade at bus, causing it to explode and kill three civilians. The assailants then fired multiple gun roads at the bus. The assailants were able to flee the scene following the attack.[7]
  • Unidentified gunmen reportedly killed a young child in Taiz governorate on December 6. The gunmen killed the young child near a qat market.[8]
  • Unidentified gunmen assaulted a youth activist in Freedom Square in Taiz governorate on December 6. Local sources reported that the activist, identified as Ibrahim al Yousefi, was assaulted by an unidentified gang riding in two vehicles. Local sources added that the gang members initially attempted to kidnap Yousefi.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A grenade was thrown at Somali soldiers while they were patrolling the Bakara Market in Mogadishu on December 6. Several people were injured in the blast but exact casualty numbers are not known. Arrests were made following the explosion but it is unclear whether the attackers were caught.[10]
  • The Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a militia has banned illegal firearms in Dhusamareb, Galgudud region on December 7. An official from the Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a militia said it will make all gun carriers register their weapons and severe action will be taken against any person found carrying an unregistered gun.[11]
  • Fighting broke out in Hargeisa, Wooqoyi Galbeed region on December 7 following the outcome of the Somaliland elections. Police fought with members of a losing party who were upset by the results. Five people were killed and six others were injured in the skirmish.[12]
  • The U.S. Department of State released a press brief on November 28 praising Somalia and AMISOM’s continued fight against al Shabaab. Members from the African Union (AU) met with members in the U.S. Department of State on November 27 and 28 to discuss economic and political development in Africa. During the meetings, the U.S. government pledged its support to the AU’s mission in Somalia.[13]

[1] “Breaking: Security Source in Aden Reveals Thwarted Escape Attempt by 25 al Qaeda Prisoners from the Central Prison,” Aden al Ghad, December 7, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Houthi Said to Have Signed Deal to Import Weapons in Yemen Capital, Site,” Yemen Post, December 6, 2012. Available:
[3] “New Sabotage Act Affects Electricity in al Saqat Region in Wadi Abeidah and Halts Service at Ma’rib Gas Power Plant,” 26 September, December 7, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Attack Helicopter Thwarts Armed Individuals Attempt at Bombing Oil Pipeline in Ma’rib,” al Masdar Online, December 7, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Capital Security Receives Two People Accused of Raiding Prosecutor’s Office,” 26 September, December 6, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “People of Saada Protest before Hadi’s Residency,” al Sahwa, December 6, 2012. Available:
[7] “Taiz… Gunmen Blow Up Passenger Bus and Kill Three People in al Hoban,” Barakish, December 7, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Taiz: Child Killed by Gunmen,” Mareb Press, December 6, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Taiz: Gunmen Assault Activist Ibrahim al Yousefi and They Attempt to Kidnap Him,” Mareb Press, December 7, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] “Blast Rocks Mogadishu’s Bakara Market,” Radio Mogadishu, December 6, 2012. Available:
[11] “Illegal Weapons Banned in Dusamareb,” Bar Kulan, December 7, 2012. Available:
[12] “One Killed in Post-Election Violence in Somaliland,” Bar Kulan, December 7, 2012. Available:
[13] “US Hails AMISOM Success in Combating al Shabaab Militants,” Bar Kulan, December 7, 2012. Available:
“Remarks with African Union Chairperson Mkosazana Dlamini-Zuma after Their Meeting,” US State Department, November 28, 2012. Available:
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