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: Two people killed during Aden protests

Horn of Africa: Somali aid worker and his driver killed in an RPG attack; Briton held on terrorism charges in Kenya reportedly providing information on al Shabaab; Somali pirates attack Spanish naval ship; al Shabaab fires two officials in Kismayo; al Shabaab militants display hostages taken in raid on police camp in northeast Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • Two people were killed and over a dozen injured during protests in the southern port city Aden. Yemeni police fired bullets and tear gas into the crowd, which was condemning the amnesty law that would protect President Ali Abdullah Saleh from prosecution. The protesters are demanding that he be put on trial.[1]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A Somali aid worker and his driver were killed January 12 in a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack in Dhusamareb district as they were delivering food. It is not clear who carried out the attack; the area is under the control of the Sufi group Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a, but there are other armed groups as well.[2]
  • A 29-year-old Briton being held in Kenya on terrorism charges, Jermaine Grant, has reportedly been providing Kenyan authorities with significant information on al Shabaab. Grant was arrested in Mombasa last month on charges of possessing explosives material.[3]
  • Spanish authorities report that Somali pirates attacked one of their naval ships, the Patino, off the coast of Somalia. In the ensuing gunfight, one pirate was killed. Six of the assailants were arrested after a helicopter chase. The Spanish Defense Ministry believes that the pirates mistook their naval ship for a freighter.[4]
  • Al Shabaab reportedly fired two of its officials in Kismayo, Sheikh Hassan Yaqub Ali, their governor of the city, and Sheikh Abdinasir, in charge of dawa there. The reason given for the firings was to “reshuffle our administrations in the country due to the ongoing wars.” No mention was made of who would replace the officials. Local sources believe that the two men were fired to make way for more charismatic individuals who would draw more jihadists to the fight. The decision has reportedly created tension within al Shabaab, whose leaders have disagreed over it.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants publicly displayed three Kenyan hostages in Bardhere district in Gedo, in southern Somalia. The Kenyans were kidnapped in an al Shabaab assault in Gerille, in northeast Kenya. According to an eyewitness: “They called all people to assemble and view the people that they had kidnapped in Kenya as well as the car [they had stolen], shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’…Hundreds of people gathered and they told the people first to be thankful and give praises to Allah, who granted the Mujahideen success in seizing the three Kenyans.”[6]

[1] “Security Breaks Up Southern Yemen Protest, Kill 2,” AP, January 13, 2012. Available:
[2] “Gunmen Kill Somali Aid Worker, Driver: Sources,” AFP, January 12, 2012. Available:
[3] James Meikle, “Briton Arrested in Kenya ‘Providing Information’ on al-Shabaab,” The Guardian, January 13, 2012. Available:
[4] “Pirates Attack Spanish Navy Ship Off Somalia,” AP, January 13, 2012. Available:
[5] “Al-Shabaab Sacks Two Kismayo Officials,” SomaliaReport, January 13, 2012. Available:
[6] Shiine Omar, “Al-Shabaab Fighters Display Kenyan Hostages,” SomaliaReport, January 13, 2012. Available:
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