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: Southern Movement demonstrations turn violent; 40 al Qaeda-linked militants enter Aden to free detained militants; Yemeni soldiers release kidnapped Brigadier General Murad al Awbali; Maj. Gen. Ahmed Ali al Ashwal meets with U.S. and Jordanian ambassadors to Yemen

Horn of Africa: Security operation in Banadir region results in over 500 arrests; Ahlu Sunna troops prepare to recapture Elbur; TFG, Ethiopian, and Djiboutian soldiers clash with al Shabaab militants in Beledweyne; grenade attack targets spy chief’s home in Sool region; failed assassination attempt on Somali journalist in Mogadishu; TFG interior ministry announces that it does not recognize self-declared regional administrations; al Shabaab arrests over 10 farmers near Jowhar; Col. Adam Hamud assumes AMISOM spokesperson position

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni security forces fired at protestors rallying in al Mansoura district in Aden and in several southern Yemen cities, including Sayun and al Mukalla in Hadramawt governorate, on July 7. At least three civilians were killed and at least 12 were injured in Aden. The troops in Aden claimed protestors fired at them first. In Sayun, one person was killed and at least three people were injured in clashes. In al Mukalla, the capital of Hadramawt, clashes occurred but no deaths were reported. The rallies marked the 18th anniversary of the capture of the port city of Aden during Yemen’s 1994 civil war. Yemeni authorities arrested several demonstrators, through activists reported that 25 people were released hours after their arrest.[1]
  • The Yemeni Defense Ministry announced that at least 40 al Qaeda-linked militants infiltrated Aden with the intention of freeing detained militants on July 7. The militants reportedly entered through al Dhaleh governorate. The Ministry added that the same group of heavily armed militants attacked a prison in al Dhaleh governorate earlier in the week. In response, hundreds of Yemeni troops were deployed to Aden.[2]
  • Yemeni soldiers released Brigadier General Murad al Awbali, the commander of Yemen’s 62nd Republican Guards Brigade. He had been kidnapped on June 28 following the suspension of his troops’ salaries.[3]
  • Yemeni Chief of General Staff Major General Ahmed Ali al Ashwal met with both the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, and the Jordanian Ambassador to Yemen, Sulayman al Ghweiri, on July 8. They discussed their respective bilateral cooperation. Ashwal praised the relationship both countries have with Yemen.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali security forces announced that they have detained over 500 people with alleged links to al Shabaab in a two-day security operation, beginning July 6, in Mogadishu and Banadir region. Kalif Ahmed Ereg, a Somali commander who participated in the operation, said, “We have arrested around eight thousand suspects and after investigations, 507 of them have so far been confirmed to be Shebab fighters or to have links to the Shebab.”[5]
  • Abdirahman Ali Igal, an Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a security official, said that his troops are stationed outside of Elbur in Galgudud region and are prepared to recapture the town. Al Shabaab militants have reportedly begun to retreat from the area.[6]
  • Witnesses reported that Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops, backed by Ethiopian and Djiboutian soldiers, clashed with al Shabaab militants in Beledweyne in Hiraan region on July 8. Three people were reportedly killed in the attack. A day earlier, a local Somali security official said that al Shabaab militants launched shells at central Beledweyne from its outskirts. No injuries or deaths were reported.[7]
  • Somali officials and witnesses reported a grenade attack on Somaliland spy chief Arab Ibrahim’s house in Las Anod in Sool region on July 8. One of Ibrahim’s relatives was killed and three others were injured in the attack.[8]
  • Unknown gunmen shot and injured Somali journalist Abdiqadir Omar Abdulle outside his home in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district on July 7, witnesses said. Abdulle was hit in the abdomen and legs.[9]
  • Minister for Somalia’s home affairs and national security Abdi Ali stated that Somalia does not recognize any of the self-declared regional administrations in Somalia in a press conference in Mogadishu on July 7. Ali added that the regional administrations are illegitimate because they are not based on the interests of the local populations and do not have permission from the government.[10]
  • Al Shabaab has allegedly detained over 10 local farmers in Jowhar in Middle Shabelle region for failing to pay taxes amounting to 400,000 shillings. Al Shabaab is demanding 600,000 shillings in order to secure their release.[11]
  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) spokesman Paddy Ankunda has officially been replaced by Col. Mohamed Adam Hamud from the Djiboutian contingent.[12]

[2] Hakim Almasmari, “Yemen on High Alert After al Qaeda Threatens Prison Break,” CNN, July 7, 2012. Available:
[3] “Yemeni Soldiers Free Officer They Abducted,” Reuters, July 8, 2012. Available:
[4] “Yemen, US Talks on Security Cooperation,” SABA News, July 9, 2012. Available:
“Yemen, Jordan Discuses Military Cooperation,” SABA News, July 8, 2012. Available:
[5] “Somali Forces Say Detained 500 with Islamist Links,” AFP, July 8, 2012. Available:
[6] ASWJ Fighters Advance into El Bur Town, Militants Retreat,” Shabelle Media Network, July 9, 2012. Available:
[7] “Heavy Fighting, Shells Kill Three in Central Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, July 8, 2012. Available:
“Al Shabaab Shells Baladweyne Town in Central Somalia,” Radio Risaala, July 8, 2012. Available:
[8] “Bomb Blast Rocks Northern Somalia City,” Shabelle Media Network, July 8, 2012. Available:
[9] “Gunmen Shoot Somali Journalist in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, July 8, 2012. Available:
[10] “Interior Ministry: We Do Not Recognize the Self-Declared Local Administrations,” Shabelle Media Network, July 8, 2012. Available:
[11] “Al Shabaab Arrests Defiant Farmers in Jowhar,” Bar Kulan, July 9, 2012. Available:
[12] “New AMISOM Spokesman Takes Office,” Shabelle Media Network, July 8, 2012. Available:
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