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: Local al Qaeda leader killed in al Bayda; five officials killed by unknown assailants in al Bayda; one soldier wounded and five injured in car bomb in Ma’rib; Saleh orders his picture to be removed from public places and be replaced by pictures of Hadi; one al Qaeda-linked militant killed and eight soldiers wounded in fighting in Zinjibar

Horn of Africa: Somalis protest against al Shabaab in Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants attack TFG chairman’s home in Mogadishu; UNSC will vote on increasing AMISOM force size next week; al Shabaab dedicates latest video detailing a raid in Elwaq in September 2011 to Anwar al Awlaki

Yemen Security Brief

  • Tareq al Dhahab, the senior Ansar al Sharia leader whose forces seized the town of Rada’a in January and subsequently withdrew, was killed in a family feud by his half-brother, Hizam. At least sixteen others were killed in a gunfight immediately after his death, including, according to tribal sources, Hizam, his brother Majid, and his nephew Ahmed Ali Ahmed Nasser, as well as another brother, who supported Tareq, Ahmed bin Ahmed Nasser. The incident occurred in al Dhahab’s hometown, the village of al Manaseh in al Bayda governorate. According to a local tribal leader, Hizam killed his half-brother because he had “repeatedly warned him not to align himself with the [I]slamists, however his brother was obstinate and did not pay heed to his warnings and advice. That's why he had to kill him before he is killed by the authorities.” A member of the al Qaifa tribe, Basil Al Salami, stated, “We will cleanse Al Masaneh of Al Qaeda …”[1]
  • An election official, an army officer, and three other officials were killed by unknown gunmen in the town of al Bayda on February 15. Although no group has claimed responsibility, it is believed to be the work of either al Qaeda-linked militants or southern separatists.[2]
  • On February 15, in Ma’rib governorate, one soldier was killed and five more wounded when a booby-trapped car bomb was detonated at an army checkpoint. Yemeni security officials believe it be the work of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[3]
  • Outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh has ordered that his picture be removed from all government institutions and public squares throughout Yemen, and be replaced with pictures of current Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi.[4]
  • An al Qaeda-linked militant was killed in clashes with Yemeni troops in Zinjibar. Eight Yemeni soldiers were also wounded in the fighting.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Hundreds of Somalis reportedly protested against al Shabaab in Mogadishu near the presidential palace chanting, “Down with al-Qaeda! Down with al-Shabaab!” Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed addressed the crowd and said, “This country is for Somalis and not for foreign fighters like al-Qaeda - we do not tolerate their violence any longer.”[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants allegedly attacked the home of TFG Chairman Muhudin Hassan Jurus in Mogadishu’s Yaqshid district overnight. His security forces repelled the attack and killed one militant.[7]
  • A senior Western diplomat reported that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will vote on a resolution to increase African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troop size from 12,000 to over 17,000. He stated, “We're planning to put the text into blue on Friday and vote it on Wednesday [February 22].”[8]
  • Al Shabaab’s media wing, al Kata’ib Media Foundation, released a video on jihadist forums on February 15 showing a raid against Kenyan-supported militia elements in Elwaq in Gedo region on September 11, 2011. The production was dedicated to the deceased Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al Awlaki and featured video excerpts from some of his speeches.[9]

[1] Ahmed al Haj, “Senior al-Qaida Leader in Yemen Killed,” AP, February 16, 2012. Available:
“Al-Qaeda Leader in Southeastern Yemen Killed by Elder Brother,” Yemen Post, February 16, 2012. Available:
Nour Merza, “Al-Qaeda Leader Killing Sparks Deadly Clashes: Officials,” Reuters, February 16, 2012. Available:
“Qaeda Leader Killing Sparks Deadly Clashes in Yemen,” AFP, February 16, 2012. Available:
“‘Al Dhahab’ Battle in Rada’a Ends After Seventeen Were Killed Including Tareq and Three of His Brothers,” al Masdar Online, February 16, 2012. Available:
[2] Ahmed al Haj, “Yemeni Security: 5 Officials Shot Dead,” AP, February 15, 2012. Available:
[3] Ahmed al Haj, “Yemeni Security: Soldier Killed in Car Bomb Blast,” AP, February 15, 2012. Available:
[4] “Saleh Orders to Remove His Photos from State’s Bodies and Public Squares,” SABA News, February 15, 2012. Available:
[5] Ahmed al Haj, “Senior al-Qaida Leader in Yemen Killed,” AP, February 16, 2012. Available:
[6] “Somalis Rally Against al-Qaeda Allies,” AFP, February 16, 2012. Available:
[7] Hashim Barre, “Al-Shabaab Militants Attack TFG Chairman,” Somalia Report, February 16, 2012. Available:
[8] Patrick Worsnip, “UN Move to Boost AU Somalia Force Seen by Next Week,” Reuters, February 15, 2012. Available:
[9] “Shabaab Video Focuses on September 2011 Raid in El-Wak,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 15, 2012. Available at SITE.
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