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 authorities reportedly seize a ship transporting Iranian arms to Hajjah governorate; al Houthis storm al Islah’s Sa’ada headquarters; electoral committee office attacked in Lahij, wounding at least three people 

Horn of Africa: TFG launches offensive against al Shabaab in Gedo region; AMISOM and TFG attack and seize key posts on road to Afgoi; three Somali Islamic political parties unite to form al Daljir

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni authorities seized a ship allegedly laden with Iranian arms on February 14. The Saudi newspaper al Watan reported that the ship was intercepted off of al Hudaydah on its way to Midi, in Hajjah governorate.  Local sources have corroborated the report. The ship was allegedly carrying a variety of weapons, including mortars and anti-armor weapons, hidden in containers. Both al Watan and local sources indicated that the weapons were intended for the al Houthi rebels.[1]
  • Al Houthi militants broke into the al Islah (Reform) party headquarters in Sa’ada and tore up campaign posters of the sole candidate in the February 21 presidential elections, Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi. The posters urged Yemenis to participate in the elections. The al Houthis put up posters of their own throughout Sa’ada city, warning against such participation, referring to the elections as an American conspiracy against the revolution and “a betrayal of the blood of the martyrs.”[2] 
  • Unknown assailants attacked the office of the electoral committee in Lahij with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), wounding at least three people. A local police officer reported that after the initial attack, the assailants fired heavy machine guns for more than half an hour, although no casualties are reported from this latter incident. It is believed that the separatist Southern Movement is behind the attack. Local sources in Hadramawt have reported similar attacks at electoral committee offices in their governorate.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) official Ibrahim Farah reported that TFG launched an attack on al Shabaab militants in Gedo region. Fourteen militants were killed in the attack.[4]
  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and TFG troops attacked and seized key posts on the road linking Mogadishu to al Shabaab-held Afgoi on February 14. There was a brief exchange of gunfire, but a TFG security official reported that al Shabaab militants “were defeated and ran away.” AMISOM and TFG were reportedly using tanks and artillery to attack the rebel-held posts. One civilian was reportedly killed and others were injured.[5]
  • The three largest Islamic political parties in Somalia, al Islah, al Iqtisam, and Ala Sheikh, united to form al Daljir. The new party will participate in the elections scheduled for August 2012. Sources close to al Iqtisam reported that 70 members from the three parties are “vowing to regain power in the TFG.”[6]

[1] “A Ship Transporting Iranian Weapons to Yemen Seized,” Al Watan, February 14, 2012. Available:
“Local Sources in al Hudaydah Say the Seized Ship Carrying Iranian Weapons Was On Its Way to Midi to Support the Houthis,” Mareb Press, February 15, 2012. Available:
[2] “Houthi Gunmen Storm Al Islah Headquarters in Sa’ada and Tear Down Election Campaign Posters in the City,” al Masdar Online, February 15, 2012. Available:
[3] “3 Injured as Gunmen Attack Polling Station in Southern Yemen,” Xinhua, February 15, 2012. Available:
[4] “Official: 14 Al-shabab Fighters killed in Southwestern Somalia Attack,” Shabelle Media Network, February 15, 2012. Available:
[5] “AU Troops Attack Shebab Positions in Mogadishu,” AFP, February 14, 2012. Available:
“Somalia Government Claims Victory Over Mogadishu Battle,” Shabelle Media Network, February 15, 2012. Available:
[6] “New Political Party Formed in Somalia,” Somalia Report, Jowhar Online, Hiiraan Online, February 14, 2012. Available:
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