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: Attack on government vehicle in Aden, killing one security officer; AQAP remains determined to recruit Western Muslims; Yemen’s military committee announces a plan to evacuate soldiers from Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Seven people killed in al Shabaab – KDF clashes in southern Somalia; UNDP office in Mogadishu attacked; al Shabaab claims victory in battle; al Shabaab launches an assault on TFG and AMISOM bases in Mogadishu; reported airstrike kills at least ten al Shabaab militants and destroys two of their camps; al Shabaab names a new leader in Kenya who, in a video produced by al Shabaab’s media wing, calls for Muslims to join the global jihad

Yemen Security Brief

  • An attack on a Yemeni government vehicle in Aden killed one political security officer. Seven others were wounded in the attack, which was carried out using heavy artillery. Yemeni security officials blame al Qaeda.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) remains determined to recruit Westerners, according to an FBI/Homeland Security Intelligence Bulletin. They believe that a video tape released last month, which both served as a eulogy to Anwar al Awlaki, the Yemeni-American AQAP figurehead, and featured him posthumously, could radicalize Western Muslims.[2]
  • Yemen’s military committee, charged with the de-militarization of Yemen’s cities, announced after a meeting that after 48 hours, they would begin to implement an evacuation plan for soldiers currently deployed in Sana’a. Additionally, armed tribal elements that have entered the capital would have to return to their villages.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Review

  • The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) announced that they had killed six al Shabaab militants in fighting in Taabta, a town in Somalia’s Lower Jubba region near the Kenya border. One Kenyan soldier was killed in the clash.[4]
  • Unknown assailants hurled grenades at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Mogadishu. At least one person was injured in the attack. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.[5]
  • Al Shabaab leaders claimed a victory over Kenyan and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers in Somalia’s Lower Jubba region on January 10.  TFG sources deny the al Shabaab claim. At least one person was killed and three injured in the fighting.[6]
  • Al Shabaab launched an assault on TFG and AMISOM bases in Mogadishu on January 10, in fierce fighting that killed several people. Al Shabaab claimed victory; in the words of a spokesman: “The Mujahideen destroyed the enemy and killed tens of them.”[7] 
  • According to local eyewitnesses, at least ten al Shabaab fighters were killed, and two of their main camps destroyed, in airstrikes near Hosingow Village, in Somalia’s southern Lower Jubba Region.[8]
  • Al Shabaab reportedly named Sheikh Ahmed Iman Ali as its new leader in Kenya on January 10. Ali has been instrumental in sending Kenyan youth to fight for al Shabaab in Somalia. In 2008, he formed the Muslim Youth Center (MYC). Ali commands a loyal following of between 200-500 fighters, most of them Kenyans. Analysts are worried that this is indicative of a terrorist attack in the near future, about which the British Foreign Office has already issued a warning.[9] Al Shabaab’s media wing, al Kata’ib Foundation, released a video of Ali, in which he urges Muslims in Kenya and elsewhere to join the jihad. He says, “[If] you are unable to reach the land of jihad, the land of ribat, like the land of Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Algeria, or Iraq, if you are unable to reach these lands which have established the banner of tawheed and the Shariah of Allah (SWT), then raise your sword against the enemy that is closest to you…The kaafirs are coming to kill our Muslim brothers. They are coming to finish off our Muslim brothers. You must feel that this is your brother being killed and not put your nationality as a priority before you religion - this will lead you to disbelief.”[10]

[1]Hakim Almasmari, “Attack In Yemen Kills Security Officer, Wounds 7,” CNN, January 11, 2012. Available:
[2] Catherine Herridge, “Al Qaeda in Yemen Targets More American Recruits,” Fox News, January 11, 2012. Available:
[3] “The Military Committee Sets a 48-Hour Deadline to Begin Evacuating Remaining Armed Elements in Sana’a,” al Masdar Online, January 11, 2012. Available:
[4] Chrispinus Omar, Christine Lagat, and Stephen Ingati, “Kenyan Troops Kill Six Al-Shabaab Fighters in Southern Somalia,” Xinhua, January 11, 2012. Available:
[5] “Somalia: UNDP Compound in Mogadishu Attacked,” Raxanreeb Radio, January 11, 2012. Available:
[6] “Al-Shabab Claim Victory Over Fighting with Kenyan Somalia Troops,” Mareeg Online, January 10, 2012. Available:
[7] Aweys Cadde, “Al-Shabaab Attacks TFG and AMISOM Bases,” Somalia Report, January 10, 2012. Available:
[8] Aweys Cadde, “Al-Shabaab Attacks TFG and AMISOM Bases,” Somalia Report, January 10, 2012. Available:
[9] Jay Bahadur, “Al-Shabaab Names Kenyan Leader,” SomaliaReport, January 10, 2012. Available:
[10] “Shabaab Video Shows MYC Leader Inciting for Violence in Kenya,” SITE Intelligence Group, January 10, 2012. Available at SITE.
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