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: Five people die in fighting north and east of Zinjibar; explosion at an oil well halts production in Shabwah governorate; U.S. approves amnesty law; four people injured north of Sana’a

Horn of Africa: U.S. man charged with attempting to provide material support to al Shabaab; at least two people killed in combat in Mogadishu; airstrikes in Gedo and Lower Jubba regions kill several al Shabaab militants

Yemen Security Brief

  • Three Yemeni soldiers and two al Qaeda-linked militants died in fighting north and east of Zinjibar in Abyan Governorate. The fighting began the night of January 9 and continued into the next morning.[1]
  • There was an explosion at a Yemeni oil well in Shabwah governorate. The well is operated by Jannah Hunt Oil Company, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Hunt Oil Company, and produces 7,000 to 10,000 barrels per day. This was the latest in a series of attacks against Yemen’s oil industry; there have been several attacks against Yemen’s main pipeline, which carries oil from Ma’rib to Ras Issa on the Red Sea.[2]
  • The U.S. expressed its approval of the amnesty law passed by the Yemeni cabinet on January 8, which would prevent any prosecution of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, “This is part and parcel of giving these guys confidence that their era is over and it’s time for Yemen to be able to move forward towards a democratic future.”[3]
  • Four people, including a child, were injured by sniper fire in Bani Jarmuz in Bani Harith district north of the capital, Sana’a. Local sources reported that pro-Saleh individuals had planted mines on farms to intimidate people and to destroy their property.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Craig Baxam, a convert to Islam and U.S. Army veteran from Laurel, MD, was charged with attempting to provide material support to al Shabaab. Baxam was arrested in Kenya en route to Somalia, where he was trying to join up with al Shabaab. He was arrested upon his return to Maryland on January 6.[5]
  • At least two people were killed and three injured in fighting between Somali government forces, backed by AMISOM troops, and al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu.[6]
  • Late on the night of January 9, Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) launched an airstrike on Gadondhawe in the southern Gedo region of Somalia. According to a Somali spokesman in Gedo region, Colonial Warfa, the airstrike “kill[ed] a dozen al-Shabaab militia.” He admitted, however, that this was not an exact number, which would be forthcoming after the base was captured. Additionally, at least five people were killed and several injured in airstrikes in Somalia’s Lower Jubba region.[7]

[1] “3 Yemeni Soldiers, 2 Al Qaeda Linked Militants Die,” AP, January 10, 2012. Available:
[2] “Explosion Stops Output at Small Yemen Oil Field,” Reuters, January 10, 2012. Available:
[3] “US Defends Draft Amnesty Law for Yemen’s Saleh,” AFP, January 9, 2012. Available:
[4] “4 Wounded, Including in a Child, in Republican Guards’ Sniper Fire in Bani Al-Harith in Sana’a,” al Masdar Online, January 10, 2012. Available:
[5] “Md. Ex-Soldier Charged with Attempting to Join Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab in Somalia,” AP, January 9, 2012. Available:
[6] “2 Killed, 3 Wounded in a Heavy Fighting in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, January 10, 2012. Available:
[7] Mohamed Beerdhige, “Airstrikes Hit Gedo, Lower Juba Regions,” SomaliaReport, January 9, 2012. Available:
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