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: Ansar al Sharia releases statement on withdrawal from Yemeni town; air force uprising spreads to seven Yemeni governorates; more than 300 families displaced due to Hajjah fighting

Horn of Africa: At least 10 people killed in fighting between al Shabaab militants and TFG and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a forces; al Shabaab releases audio will of Beledweyne suicide bombing “martyr”; security crackdown in Beledweyne led by TFG and Ethiopian soldiers; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a arrests at least 10 al Shabaab suspects in Gedo region; residents of Mogadishu’s Dharkenley district flee shelling

Yemen Security Brief

  • Ansar al Sharia released a statement on January 25 about its withdrawal from Rada’a. Because its conditions had been met, it held up its end of the bargain and left the town. In the statement, Ansar al Sharia said that its members did not want any privilege for themselves, but were fighting “corruption and the corrupters” and trying to establish shari’a.[1]
  • The Yemen Air Force’s uprising against the leadership of Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar, the half-brother of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, has spread to seven governorates: Taiz, Lahij, Hadramawt, Aden, Hudaydah, Ma’rib, and Sana’a. Officers and airmen at the Hudaydah air base closed the airspace of that governorate as well as closing Hudaydah Airport to all military and civilian flights. They forced the landing of two planes which had been ordered to take off by the base’s commander, who was trying to prove that the protests were having no effect. A few brigades are holding sit-ins until Ahmar resigns. Sources say that soldiers were threatened that if they did not stop their protesting, they would be handed over to al Qaeda. Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi asked al Ahmar to step aside, but the air force commander reportedly replied, “I will not leave it [Daylami air base] unless I am dead.”[2]
  • More than 300 families have been displaced from the Kashar district of Hajjah governorate as a result of fighting between al Houthi rebels and tribesmen. The elderly, women, and children comprise the majority of the displaced persons, who lack food, water, and shelter.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • At least 10 people were killed and 13 others wounded in combat between al Shabaab and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces accompanied by men from Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a. Fighting broke out after al Shabaab militants attacked TFG and Ahlu Sunna bases near Luq district in Somalia’s Gedo region on January 25.[4]
  • Al Shabaab’s al Kata’ib Media released an audio will of Muhammad Abdi Hassan, the perpetrator of the suicide bombing in Beledweyne on January 24.[5]
  • There was an intense security crackdown in Beledweyne led by TFG and Ethiopian soldiers on January 25, following the vehicle-borne suicide bombing against an Ethiopian base the day before. Twelve people, accused of having a part in the bombing, were killed during the crackdown and more than 25 others have been arrested. TFG officer Ahmed Hassan Duulay reported that TFG and Ethiopian troops had destroyed “more than three bases that the terrorists used to plan their operations.” He also stated that TFG forces were able to intercept a van carrying explosive materials.[6]
  • At least ten people suspected to be al Shabaab fighters were arrested by Ahlu Sunna in Beled Hawo in Gedo region.[7]
  • Residents of Kahda village, in Mogadishu’s Dharkenley district, have fled their homes due to constant shelling of the area by both TFG and al Shabaab forces.[8]

[1] “New Statement from Ansar al Shariah in Yemen: ‘Statement #3: On Rada’ and the Withdrawal’,” Jihadology, January 25, 2012. Available:
[2] “Air Force Uprising Spreads to 7 Governorates, and al Ahmar Refuses Hadi’s Decision and Says that He Will Only Leave Daylami Base Dead,” Mareb Press, January 25, 2012. Available:
[3] “Hajjah: More Than 300 Families Displaced in Kashar and Ahim Suffer Difficult Conditions,” Al Sahwa, January 26, 2012. Available:
[4] Abdikafar Hosh, “Heavy Fighting Kills 10 in Gedo, Residents Flee,” Somalia Report, January 25, 2012. Available:
[5] “al-Katai’ib Media Presents New Audio Message from Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin: ‘Martyr Will of Muhammad ‘Abdi Hasan, the Ethiopian Baladweyne Bomber,” Jihadology, January 26, 2012. Available:
[6] Aweys Cadde, “Crackdown in Beledweyne,” Somalia Report, January 25, 2012. Available:
[7] “Ahlu Sunna Arrested 10 Al-Shabab Suspects in Gedo Region,” Shabelle Media Network, January 26, 2012. Available:
[8] “Mass Displacement Begins in Somali Capital,” Shabelle Media Network, January 26, 2012. Available:
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