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: Fighting continues in Zinjibar; Yemenis protest demanding the release of detained activists

Horn of Africa: Kenyan airstrikes reportedly kill over 50 al Shabaab militants in Garbaharey and three militants in Kudha; TFG, KDF, AMISOM, and ASWJ clash with al Shabaab near Afmadow and Mogadishu; Kenyan police confiscate nine primers in Ifo camp in Dadaab; al Shabaab releases new statement describing the Ethiopian seizure of Beledweyne; Ethiopian troops to hand over newly seized territories to AMISOM troops

Yemen Security Brief

  • Clashes continued in the eastern and northern outskirts of Zinjibar in Abyan governorate killing six al Qaeda-linked militants and four Yemeni soldiers. Eight militants and 10 soldiers were wounded in the battle. A military source stated that heavy artillery was used and that Yemeni troops were backed by warplanes.[1]
  • Tens of thousands of Yemenis protested on Friday demanding the release of detained activists. The protests were organized to take place in 18 cities across the country.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir reported that “KDF [Kenyan Defense Forces] jets pound Al Shabaab camp south of [Garbaharey], over 50 Al Shabaab killed…” He also reported that 60 al Shabaab militants were wounded in the strike and over 10 vehicles were destroyed.[3]
  • An eyewitness reported that a Kenyan airstrike on Kudha near Kismayo killed three al Shabaab militants and injured 10 others. The target of the air raid was reportedly al Shabaab boats.[4]
  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops, backed by Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) and KDF troops, clashed with al Shabaab militants near Lower Jubba region and in Mogadishu. Chief Commander of Ras Kamboni militia Sheikh Mohammed Khalid reported fighting in Hayo village near Afmadow killing eight al Shabaab militants and three soldiers. Three more soldiers were injured in the battle. Clashes between al Shabaab militants and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and TFG troops near Daynile district in Mogadishu killed three people and injured two others.[5]
  • Kenyan police seized explosive equipment in Ifo camp in Dadaab refugee camp near the Somali border. Kenyan police chief Leo Nyongesa said, “We have a breakthrough. Nine primers that are used to ignite hand grenades or explosives were recovered in today’s operation.” Two other women were arrested with the belief that they know who stored the equipment there.[6]
  • Al Shabaab’s media wing al Kata’ib Media Foundation released a new statement on January 5 detailing the recent seizure of Beledweyne by Ethiopian troops. The statement says that 3000 Ethiopian troops stormed Beledweyne with 12 tanks, 40 military vehicles, and several rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). The statement dubs the event as the “Christian occupation of Beledweyne.”[7]
  • The African Union’s (AU) Peace and Security Council met on January 5 and is prepared to ask the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to raise the number of AMISOM troops to 17,731. The new figure includes the absorption of Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) troops. In the same meeting, AU’s Peace and Security Council decided to replace Ethiopian troops with AMISOM troops in any newly seized areas, including Beledweyne.[8]

[1] “10 Dead as Yemen Troops, Qaeda Suspects Clash,” AFP, January 5, 2012. Available:
[2] “Yemeni Protesters Ask Release of Activists,” AFP, January 6, 2012. Available:
[4] Aweys Cadde, “Airstrikes Continue in Southern Somalia,” Somalia Report, January 6, 2012. Available:
[5] Aweys Cadde, “Heavy Fighting in Southern Somalia,” Somalia Report, January 5, 2012. Available:
[6] “Kenya Seizes Explosive Equipment near Somali Border,” Reuters, January 5, 2012. Available:
[7] “Al-Katai’b Media Presents a New Statement from Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin: ‘The Forces of Christian Ethiopia Occupies the City of Beledweyne’,” Jihadology, January 5, 2012. Available:
[8] “Somalia: Ethiopian Troops ‘to Hand over to AU Force’,” BBC News, January 6, 2012. Available:
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