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: Kidnapped aid workers’ release delayed; five al Qaeda-linked militants killed in Zinjibar; a Pentagon-appointed lawyer for a Guantanamo prisoner seeks to question President Saleh while in the U.S. over USS Cole bombing

Horn of Africa: Britain appoints ambassador to Somalia amid William Hague’s visit to Mogadishu; Kenyan and Ras Kamboni troops seize the town of Badhadhe in Lower Jubba; Kenyan and TFG troops clash with al Shabaab militants in Dhobley; al Shabaab claim responsibility for a landmine targeting TFG and AMISOM in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • The release of the six hostages kidnapped on January 31 in Mahwit has been delayed. The defense ministry originally reported that the hostages were released and the Energy Minister Saleh Samee was quoted as saying, “they are in good health.” As a result of negotiations, a detained tribesman was to be released. A tribal source reported that the delay occurred when the kidnappers made a last-minute demand for the tribesman to be handed over to them first.[1]
  • A Yemeni military official reported that four al Qaeda-linked militants were killed and five were wounded in a Yemeni army attack on a convoy in Zinjibar on February 1. There were three cars in the convoy, and only two were attacked. In a separate incident, the same military source reported that a militant was killed by a sniper in Zinjibar.[2]
  • Navy Lt. Commander Stephen Reyes, the Pentagon-appointed lawyer for Guantanamo detainee Abd al Nashiri, asked a judge to be able to question President Ali Abdullah Saleh with regards to information he may have on the USS Cole bombing in 2000.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Britain has appointed Matt Baugh to ambassador to Somalia. He will serve as the first ambassador to Somalia in 21 years. Baugh will remain in neighboring Kenya in Nairobi until the security situation stabilizes in Somalia. The details emerged while British Foreign Secretary William Hague visited Mogadishu to meet with Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. Hague announced that the UK would help Somalia during the course of political transition in the country.[4]
  • Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) troops, along with Ras Kamboni brigades, seized the al Shabaab stronghold Badhadhe in Lower Jubba region. Ras Kamboni spokesman Abdinasir Serar reported that the town has been completely seized and that they are heading to other towns in the region, including Afmadow.[5]
  • A local resident reported that al Shabaab militants clashed with TFG and KDF troops overnight in Dhobley in Lower Jubba region near the Kenyan border. TFG official Mohamed Dahir Farah stated that 10 militants and three Kenyan soldiers were killed.[6]
  • On February 1, a landmine targeting African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and TFG military convoys exploded in Dharkenley district in Mogadishu, resulting in an unidentified number of deaths and injuries. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.[7]

[1] “Kidnappers Delay Release of Aid Workers Held in Yemen,” Reuters, February 2, 2012. Available:
“Kidnapped Aid Workers Released in Yemen, 5 Militants Dead,” Reuters, February 2, 2012. Available:,0,4762201.story
[2] “Kidnapped Aid Workers Released in Yemen, 5 Militants Dead,” Reuters, February 2, 2012. Available:,0,4762201.story
[3] “Yemen President Could Face Questions in Gitmo Case,” AP, February 1, 2012. Available:
[4] David Smith, “UK Appoints First Ambassador to Somalia in 21 Years,” The Guardian, February 2, 2012. Available:
[5] “Kenyan Troops Seize a Key Town in Southwestern Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, February 2, 2012. Available:
[6] Mohamed Odowa, “Eight Killed in Overnight Attack in Lower Jubba,” Somalia Report, February 2, 2012. Available:
[7] “Explosion Rocks at TFG, AU Military Convoy in Somali Capital,” Shabelle Media Network, February 1, 2012. Available:
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