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: Presidential decree announces formation of two committees to deal with land and employment issues in southern Yemen; negotiations between President Hadi and Ali Mohsen al Ahmar on military appointments are ongoing; Yemeni Interior Minister meets with U.S. Under Secretary of Homeland Security for National Protection and Programs; two Yemeni military officials narrowly escape dual assassination attempts in Shabwah governorate; head of Yemen’s National Security Agency discusses weapons smuggling from Turkey and Iran’s role in Yemen’s conflict

Horn of Africa: Grenade attack targets police car in Garissa, Kenya; Somali judges release a man convicted of killing two aid workers; AMISOM and local leadership discuss security in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; President Mohamud gives speech to Somali Parliament in Mogadishu; Somali foreign minister meets with Italian foreign minister in Rome, Italy; Somali minister of state meets Kuwaiti Emir in Kuwait City; AU representative to meet with Somali president and prime minister in Mogadishu; Puntland government celebrates its fourth anniversary

Yemen Security Brief

  • A presidential decree on January 8 announced the formation of two committees to deal with land and employment issues in southern Yemen. Most significantly, the committees will address issues of favoritism and discrimination on the part of the state in land reform and redistribution programs, as well as the expulsion of Southerners from the civil service, military and security apparatuses.[1]
  • Negotiations between President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Major General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar regarding appointments of commanders of Yemen’s seven military districts are ongoing. Military sources told journalists on January 8 that President Hadi had rejected nominations made by Major General al Ahmar, and that al Ahmar had in addition rejected President Hadi’s nomination of former President Saleh’s son to be the military commander of Yemen’s Central Military District.[2]
  • The Yemeni Interior Minister, Abdul Qadir Qahtan, met with U.S. Under Secretary of Homeland Security for National Protection and Programs Rand Beers on January 8. They discussed joint security and counterterrorism efforts, focusing on training Yemen’s Coast Guard and police force and the security of Yemen’s critical infrastructure. Beers’ profile includes mitigating risk to U.S. infrastructure from terrorist attacks or other catastrophic events.[3]
  • A Yemeni military official, Brigadier General Dhaban Ahmad Jam’aan, and a security official, Ahmad Haidra, narrowly escaped dual assassination attempts on January 8 in separate locations in the city of Ataq in Shabwah governorate. In both cases, the officials were targeted by car bombs which detonated when they were not in their vehicles.[4]
  • The head of Yemen’s National Security Agency, Brigadier General Ali Al Ahmadi, announced that he would soon release the names of those accused of smuggling weapons into Yemen from Turkey during a press conference on January 8. He also accused Iran of fomenting unrest in Yemen through support for Houthi separatists and other political factions, with the eventual goal of causing the failure of the Gulf Initiative, though he claimed that this did not mean that Yemen and Iran were openly hostile toward one another. Lastly, he denied accusations that the National Security Agency was responsible for kidnapping suspects and placing them in a National Security prison, noting that the National Security Agency did not have more than twenty-five detainees in its custody.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unknown attackers threw a grenade at a police car in Garissa, Kenya on January 7. The attackers fired their guns into the crowd following the attack. Four police officers were injured during the explosion. One civilian was shot and killed and four more were injured. No suspects have yet been apprehended but Kenyan police are investigating the incident.[6]
  • Somali judges in Mogadishu released a man who was convicted of killing two foreign aid workers – an Indonesian and a Belgium - in the aid group’s compound in December 2011. The judges allegedly took bribes in return for setting the convicted killer free. Since the incident the judges have been fired.[7]
  • AMISOM leaders met with local elders and administration officials in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on January 8. AMISOM officials asked the local leadership to work with them in preventing illegal roadblocks in addition to facilitating reconciliation in the region. Area elders and local authorities said they would work with AMISOM to help increase security in the region.[8]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud gave a speech to the Somali Parliament before the legislative body broke for recess. President Mohamud spoke about the need for cooperation between parliament members and between the different branches of government. President Mohamud also discussed the possible need to change the Somali constitution to a federalist one.[9]
  • Somali Foreign Minister Fowzia Yusuf Haji Aden met with Italian Foreign Minister Giuilio Terzi in Rome, Italy on January 7. The two ministers discussed how to create and strengthen Somali institutions. They also talked about the upcoming training that Italy and the European Union will provide to Somali troops.[10]
  • Somali Minister of State Abdikadir Mohamed met with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jabah al Ahmad in Kuwait City on January 8, 2013. Minister Mohamed gave the Kuwaiti Emir a letter from Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud discussing his hope to increase bilateral cooperation between the two countries.[11]
  • The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to Somalia, Ambassador Mahamat Annadif, flew to Mogadishu on January 8 to meet with the Somali president and prime minister. The meetings will be focused on how African Union soldiers can improve support to Somali troops.[12]
  • The Puntland government is celebrating the four year anniversary of its administration on January 8. Current President Abdirahman Farole was elected on January 8, 2009. Many in the country are calling for an immediate election and dismissal of President Farole. He says, however, he was initially elected to a five year term.[13]          

[1] “Issuance of the decree of the President of the Republic to establish two commissions to deal with the issues of land and expelled workers in the southern provinces,” Saba Net, January 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Ali Mohsen rejects President Hadi’s nomination of Saleh’s son as the leader of the central district,” Sahafah Net, January 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Interior Minister meets American Under Secretary of Homeland Security,” Saba News, January 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Rand Beers,” Department of Homeland Security, Available:
[4] “Two security and military officials escape from dual assassination attempts in Shabwah,” Al Masdar Online, January 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Shabwah: two security officials escape from dual assassination attempts,” Mareb Press, January 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Head of the Yemeni National Security Agency will reveal the names of the weapons smugglers, and Iran stokes the Yemeni conflict,” Barakish, January 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Police Officers, Civilian Hurt in Garissa Attack,” Daily Standard, January 8, 2013. Available:,-civilian-hurt-in-Garissa-attack
“One Dies in Garissa Grenade Attack,” Daily Standard, January 8, 2013. Available:
“Kenya Grenade Attack Wounds Four,” AFP, January 7, 2013. Available:
[7] “Corrupt Judges Release “Killer of MSF Staff,” Shabelle, January 8, 2013. Available:
[8] “Joint Security Meeting Held in Beledweyne,” Bar Kulan, January 8, 2013. Available:
[9] “Somalia: ‘Federal Government will Change Constitution’ Says President Hassan,” Garowe Online, January 7, 2013. Available:
“Somali Leader Calls for Mutual Cooperation within the Government,” Shabelle, January 8, 2013. Available:
[10] “Somalia, Italy Discuss Inter-State Agreements,” Bar Kulan, January 8, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somalia’s Minister of State for Presidency Meet Kuwaiti Amir,” January 8, 2013. Available:
[12] “AU Representative to Somalia Visits Mogadishu,” January 8, 2013. Available:
[13] “Puntland Government to Mark its Fourth Anniversary in Office,” Bar Kulan, January 8, 2013. Available:
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