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: Finnish and Austrian hostages moved to Ma’rib as kidnappers’ demands rise; increased security around French embassy in Sana’a; IED cleared in Taiz governorate; suspect in security official’s death arrested in Dhamar; 20 soldiers with links to AQAP to be tried in Yemen; Baoum convenes council in al Mukalla, Hadramawt; IED targets state employee in Yarim, Ibb; Hadi ends Central Bank strike with threatening letter

Horn of Africa: U.S. government recognizes the Somali government for the first time in over 20 years; Somali journalist shot and killed in Mogadishu; Somali police conduct searches in Dharkenley district and Yaqshid district of Mogadishu; al Shabaab kidnaps Quran teacher in Lower Jubba; protests erupt in Garissa, Kenya; Uganda sends 1,700 new troops to Somalia to cycle out old battle group; 200 Somali police officers leave for 3-month training course in Djibouti

Yemen Security Brief

  • Security officials told the AFP on January 17 that the foreigners abducted on December 21 in Sana’a had been taken from Khawlan district in Sana’a governorate to Ma’rib governorate by “tribesmen linked to Al-Qaeda.” The captors have reportedly raised their demands to the release of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leaders detained in Sana’a, as well as a ransom for the three hostages, who include two Finns and an Austrian.[1]
  • The Yemeni Ministry of the Interior announced that it had increased security for the French embassy in Sana’a by deploying extra men and vehicles beginning on the evening of January 16 as a precaution because of the French campaign in Mali.[2]
  • Police forces found and cleared an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in their pickup truck at the al Najiba checkpoint near al Barh, Taiz governorate on January 18.[3]
  • A suspect in the killing of Deputy Security Director of Dhamar governorate Abdullah al Mushki was arrested by security forces on January 17. The suspect is not from Dhamar city.[4]
  • Al Seyassah, a Kuwaiti newspaper, reported on January 18 that about 20 men from Yemen’s army and security forces, accused of being recruited by AQAP, will be tried in Yemeni courts in the coming days. Three of the men were caught while trying to detonate themselves inside Republican Guard, police and Central Security Forces camps, according to the report.[5]
  • Hassan Baoum, a prominent leader in the Southern Movement and president of the Council of the Peaceful Movement to Liberate the South, chaired a meeting of the council in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on January 17 with local authorities.[6]
  • An improvised explosive device (IED) targeting the home of Yahya Shimhan, director of water and sanitation in Yarim, Ibb governorate, detonated on January 16 without causing any casualties.[7]
  • President Hadi threatened the striking workers of Yemen’s Central Bank on January 14, with arrest and forceful measures, saying Yemen’s economic state did not allow for the increases in salaries that they were demanding. The strike reportedly ended after the letter was issued.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially recognized the Somali government on January 17, the first time the U.S. has recognized a Somali government in over two decades. Secretary Clinton said during the announcement, “Today is a milestone, it is not the end of the journey, but it is an important milestone towards that end.” Earlier in the day Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with U.S. President Barack Obama.[9]
  • A Somali journalist for the Shabelle Media Network was killed by unknown gunmen in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu on January 18 while he was on his way to work. Representatives from the African Union and the British government have condemned the killing.[10]
  • Somali police and security forces conducted searches in the Dharkenley district of Mogadishu on January 17. Somali troops arrested over 700 people but released all but 84 of them. Officials said that all 84 are members of al Shabaab and have launched recent attacks in the city. The Somali National Security and Intelligence Agency also showed weapons taken during security raids in the Yaqshid district on January 17, including AK-47s and anti-aircraft ammunition.[11]
  • Al Shabaab kidnapped a Quran teacher as he was making his way from Dif to Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on January 17. The man was traveling to Kismayo for medical supplies and had been teaching the Quran in Dif for nine years. The reason behind the kidnapping is not known.[12]
  • Protests are erupting in Garissa, Kenya following a mass shooting at a hotel that occurred on January 16. The protesters are stopping traffic and demanding to see Garissa County Commissioner Mohamed Maalim.[13]
  • Ugandan Battle Group Eleven deployed to Mogadishu on January 15 to replace Ugandan Battle Group Nine, which has been in Somalia since December 2011. There are 1,700 new troops now deployed in Somalia.[14]
  • Two hundred Somali police officers traveled to Djibouti on January 17 to undergo a three-month training course run by the AMISOM police contingent.[15]   

[1] “Abducted Finns, Austrian held by Qaeda-linked Yemen tribe,” AFP, January 18, 2013. Available:
[2] “Yemen tightens security around French embassy,” Xinhua, January 18, 2013. Available:
“Yemeni Interior announces increased security measures around the French embassy in Sana’a,” al Masdar Online, January 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Taiz: IED planted in security pickup diffused,” al Gomhoriah, January 18, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Arrest of one of the accused in assassination of deputy director of security in Dhamar,” Barakish Net, January 18, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] Yahya al Sadmi, “Yemen: 20 soldiers on trial for belonging to al Qaeda, including three suicide bombers,” al Seyassah, January 18, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Baoum: the choice of the southern revolution is liberation and independence,” Barakish Net, January 18, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Explosion of IED hear home of director of water and sanitation in Yarim without injuries,” 26 September, January 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] Motasem Abdusalam, “Presidential warning ends Yemen’s central bank strike,” Yemen Times, January 17, 2013. Available:
[9] “US, Somalia Launch New Era of Diplomatic Ties,” AFP, January 17, 2013. Available:
“Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of President Hassan Sheikh Mhamud of Somalia to the White House,” Office of the Press Secretary, January 17, 2013. Available:
[10] “Gunmen Kill Shabelle Journalist in Mogadishu,” Shabelle, January 18, 2013. Available:
“AU Condemns Continuing Trend of Journalist Assassinations,” Bar Kulan, January 18, 2013. Available:
“British Ambassador to Somalia Condemns Murder of Shabelle Journalist,” Shabelle, January 18, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somali Security Forces Round Up More than 700 in Mogadishu,” Shabelle, January 17, 2013. Available:
“Weapons Seized in Mogadishu Crackdown,” Bar Kulan, January 18, 2013. Available:
[12] “Quran Teacher Kidnapped in Lower Jubba,” Bar Kulan, January 18, 2013. Available:
[13] “Protests in Garissa Over Rising Insecurity,” The Star, January 18, 2013. Available:
[14] “More UPDF Soldiers Leave for Somalia,” New Vision, January 18, 2013. Available:
[15] “AMISOM to Train Somali Police in Djibouti,” AMISOM, January 17, 2013. Available:
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