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 security forces fire on Southern Movement demonstrators in Aden, killing at least two; President Hadi issues decree restructuring Interior Ministry; Yemeni security forces arrest prominent cleric associated with Southern Movement in Aden; UN Sanctions Committee experts to visit Sana’a regarding weapons smuggling ship; tribal mediators announce success in truce involving expulsion of Ansar al Sharia militants from Rada’a, al Bayda governorate; former President Saleh fails to secure release of Saudi government hostage; youth clash with store owners in Dis, Hadramawt governorate and Central Security Forces intervene; security forces fire on protesters in al Makhadir, Ibb governorate

Horn of Africa: Unknown gunmen shoot and kill seven at a mosque in Malele, Kenya; grenade attack targets Bakara Market, Mogadishu; Somali military executes three soldiers in Mogadishu; Somaliland forces arrest 54 suspected al Shabaab militants in Hargeisa, Woqooyi Galbeed region; Botswana forces arrest 28 suspected al Shabaab militants in Francistown and Dukwi; Hizbul Islam leader says they are not responsible for the February 15 killing of a sheikh in Garowe, Nugaal region; Ugandan government opens an embassy in Mogadishu; USAID promises Somalia $20 million for health and education program support

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni security forces, reportedly from the Republican Guard, Special Forces, and a conventional battalion fired on Southern Movement demonstrators in Aden on February 21, killing at least two and injuring dozens more. Two security officials were also reportedly injured by gunfire. The Southern Movement and Islah parties were holding parallel demonstrations in Aden on the first anniversary of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s accession to power.[1]
  • President Hadi issued a decree formally announcing the restructuring of the Yemeni Interior Ministry on February 21. The plan will broadly decentralize power in the ministry, including the appointment of a deputy and three agents subordinate to the interior minister, renaming the Central Security Force and the Rescue Police Force, and the creation of a powerful Public Administration for Planning and Organization.[2]
  • Yemeni security forces arrested Sheikh Hussein bin Sha’in, a prominent cleric affiliated with the Southern Movement on February 19 in Aden.[3]
  • A group of experts from the UN Sanctions Committee will visit Sana’a on February 22 to follow up on the Yemeni investigation into weapons seized on January 23 from a ship in the Arabian Sea.[4]
  • Tribal mediators announced success in talks between the Yemeni government and the al Dhahab brothers in Rada’a district, al Bayda governorate, according to a source in al Masdar Online on February 21. The compromise included the expelling of all al Qaeda-linked militants from the area, including Nabil and Qaid al Dhahab. The tribal sources also claimed that the three hostages purportedly being held in the region were “a government accusation, and nothing more.”[5]
  • Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh failed to secure the release of kidnapped Saudi diplomat Abdullah al Khalidi in negotiations with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to a February 20 report in Mareb Press.[6]
  • Youth clashed with store owners in Dis, al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on February 20, requiring the intervention of Central Security Forces. No injuries were reported.[7]
  • Security forces fired on students demonstrating in al Makhadir, Ibb governorate, killing two and wounding two on February 21. The students were demanding that local authorities arrest and prosecute another individual accused of shooting at the students at an earlier date.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unknown gunmen shot and killed seven people at a mosque in Malele, Kenya, near the Dadaab refugee camps, on February 21. Two women were shot outside the mosque and five men were shot inside. Several people were claimed missing after the attack. The shooters burned down nearby buildings. Some sources are reporting 20 gunmen were involved. The reason behind the attack is unknown and no group has claimed responsibility.[9]
  • A grenade attack targeted the Bakara Market in Mogadishu on February 19. A Somali security officer and five civilians were injured in the explosion. A suspected member of al Shabaab was arrested and is being held in connection with the blast.[10]
  • The Somali military executed three of its own soldiers in Mogadishu on February 21. One soldier was convicted of killing a Somali police officer in Mogadishu and the other two were convicted of killing an internally displaced person in Mogadishu.[11]
  • Somaliland forces conducted security operations in Hargeisa, Woqooyi Galbeed region on February 18 and 19. Reportedly, 54 people suspected of having links to al Shabaab were arrested during the operation. A firefight broke out during one raid but casualties have not been reported.[12]
  • Botswana security agents arrested 28 people suspected of having links to al Shabaab in Francistown and Dukwi on February 20. Several of those arrested have confessed to being illegal immigrants and others have said that they are tied to al Shabaab.[13]
  • Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, leader of the Islamist group Hizbul Islam, announced on February 18 that his organization was not involved in the February 15 killing of a sheikh in Garowe, Nugaal region.[14]
  • The Ugandan government opened an embassy in Mogadishu on February 20 and the new ambassador will be arriving in the Somali capital city in the next couple of days.[15]
  • The chief administrator for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) arrived in Mogadishu on February 21 to hold meetings with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. USAID promised Somalia $20 million to support health and education programs in the country.[16]               

[1] “Clashes in Aden – Two Separatists are Killed,” Yemen Post, February 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Republican Guard Participates in Suppressing Movement Supporters in Aden,” Aden Life, February 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemeni forces fire on Aden demonstrators,” BBC, February 21, 2013. Available:
Fawaz al-Hadairi, “Yemen police ‘kill four’ at Aden rally,” AFP, February 21, 2013. Available:
[2] “Republican Decision on Components of the Organizational Structure of the Interior Ministry,” Saba News, February 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Technical and Security Delegation to Yemen Includes Security Council Experts to Follow Up on Investigations Iranian Weapons Ship,” al Masdar Online, February 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Success in Mediation Between the Government and al Qaeda Militants in Rada’a and Arrangements for a Festival on Friday,” al Masdar Online, February 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “After His Pledges to the Riyadh Government, Former President Fails in Negotiations to Release Saudi Diplomat Kidnapped by al Qaeda,” Mareb Press, February 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Youth in Dis Attacking Store Owners,” Akhbar al Yom, February 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Two Students Killed and Two Others Wounded by Security Personnel in al Makhadir, Ibb,” al Motamar Net, February 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “At Least Seven Killed in Liboi Mosque Attack,” Daily Standard, February 21, 2013. Available:
 “Gunmen Kill Seven in Garissa,” Hiiraan Online, February 21, 2013. Available:
[10] “Bakara Market Grenade Attack Injures 6,” Sabahi Online, February 20, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somalia Executed Three Soldiers in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, February 21, 2013. Available:
[12] “Somaliland: 54 Terror Suspects Netted in Security Operation,” Somaliland Press, February 20, 2013. Available:
[13] “Botswana Arrests 28 Terrorism Suspects,” Africa Review, February 20, 2013. Available:
[14] “Aweys Denies Role in Killing Puntland Sheikh,” Sabahi Online, February 20, 2013. Available:
[15] “Uganda Opens Embassy in Mogadishu,” The Independent, February 20, 2013. Available:
[16] “USAID Chief Visits Mogadishu, Says US is Committed,” Bar Kulan, February 21, 2013. Available:
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