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 announces the release of 27 Yemeni soldiers; al Houthis announce participation in national dialogue; Madad News Agency releases 20th report on Ansar al Sharia activities; Islamists attack Sana’a restaurant they accused of serving alcohol; Interior Ministry announces arrest of kidnapping suspect

Horn of Africa: TFG, AMISOM clash with al Shabaab militants near Afmadow; fighting between TFG backed by AMISOM troops and al Shabaab northwest of Mogadishu; suspected al Shabaab operative infiltrates Uganda; World Bank release report stating donation funds going unaccounted for in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Ansar al Sharia announced that it released 27 Yemeni soldiers who had been taken prisoner in Abyan governorate. The soldiers had declared that they would defect from the army.[1]
  • The al Houthi movement announced that it would participate in Yemen’s National Dialogue after its leader, Abdul Malik al Houthi, met with the Dialogue Liaison Committee in Sana’a on May 31. The committee was created by presidential decree on May 6.[2]
  • Madad News Agency posted its 20th report on Ansar al Sharia activities on jihadist forums on May 22. The report focused on recent fighting in Lawder in Abyan governorate. An Ansar al Sharia commander said that his militants were fighting quite well in Lawder and that “what the media announced and is announcing is pure lies…” Lawder was recaptured by the Yemeni military and pro-government tribesmen on May 17. The report accused Yemeni warplanes and American drones of launching indiscriminate attacks on residential homes. It also reported on Ansar al Sharia’s destruction of several mausoleums, which the militants see as worship of the dead.[3]
  • Islamists attacked a Chinese restaurant in Sana’a that they accused of serving alcohol after Friday prayers. They had protested outside of the restaurant on Thursday and a local preacher urged them to force its closing. Due to the threat, the restaurant was closed when it was attacked.[4]
  • Yemen’s Interior Ministry reported that security forces arrested a suspected kidnapper on May 31 in Ma’rib city. The suspect, Nasser Saleh Ahmed Saraj, is accused of kidnapping Dutch water engineer Jan Hoogendoorn and his wife Heleen Janszen in April 2009. Tribal mediation secured the pair’s release shortly after their kidnapping.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Ras Kamboni spokesman Abdinasir Serar reported that clashes between Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers, backed by Kenyan forces, and al Shabaab militants killed seven militants in Afmadow in Lower Jubba region on May 31. Serar added that both sides exchanged heavy artillery and mortar fire. Since the fighting, residents reported that the tense situation has significantly calmed.[6]
  • Witnesses reported that African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and TFG troops fought with al Shabaab militants overnight in Laanta Buur, 25 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu. A resident said that al Shabaab militants initiated the attack. No injuries or casualties have been reported yet.[7]
  • Ugandan Inspector General of Police Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura told journalists that a suspected al Shabaab operative infiltrated Uganda through Kenya. Kayihura mentioned that the suspect avoided being photographed at a bus terminal; however, a female passenger informed authorities of suspicious behavior. The suspect got off the bus in Kampala near Jinja road after the bus driver advised him to do so.[8]
  • The World Bank released a report that was distributed at the Somalia conference in Istanbul. The report stated that large sums of money donated to Somalia have not been accounted for. It alleges that $130 million over two years went undocumented. UK Foreign Minister William Hague recommended that an international board be established to oversee the distribution of funds.[9]      

[1] “Yemeni Militants Say they Release 27 Soldiers,” Reuters, June 1, 2012. Available:
[2] “Houthi Group Declares Participation in Dialogue,” Yemen Post, May 31, 2012. Available:
[3] “Madad Reports on Fighting in Lawdar, Ansar al-Shariah’s Activities,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 31, 2012. Available at SITE.
[4] “Yemeni Militants Say they Release 27 Soldiers,” Reuters, June 1, 2012. Available:
[5] “3 Years After the Incident…Interior Ministry Announces the Arrest of Suspected Kidnapper of Dutch Expert and His Wife,” Al Masdar Online, June 1, 2012. Available:
[6] “Official: 7 Al Shabab Militants Killed in Combat, Shells near Afmadow Town,” Shabelle Media Network, May 31, 2012. Available:
“Quietness Returns to Afmadow Town, Southern Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, June 1, 2012. Available:
[7] “Fighting Hits on Outskirts of Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, June 1, 2012. Available:
[8] “Al-Shabaab Terrorist Sneaks into Uganda,” New Vision, June 1, 2012. Available:
[9] “Somalia Donor Money ‘Goes Missing,’” BBC, June 1, 2012. Available:
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