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: Six al Qaeda-linked militants and three Yemeni soldiers killed in Shabwah, Egyptian nationals killed in Abyan; Yemeni government claims the death of militant; Hadi appoints new commander of Yemen’s southern military zone and 31st Armored Brigade; former south Yemen president encourages the uprooting of terrorism

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack farmers in Lower Shabelle; headless corpse found in Mogadishu; roadmap signatories meet in Nairobi to discuss end to Somalia’s political transition; al Shabaab claims attacks against Sierra Leonean forces and suicide bombing in Afgoi; Yusuf Haji named acting minister of internal security in Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni security officials reported that clashes between al Qaeda-linked militants and Yemeni soldiers killed six militants and three soldiers in Azzan in Shabwah governorate. One soldier was also wounded in the attack. Separately, an Egyptian national reportedly blew himself up with a hand grenade in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate before he was arrested. Officials added that seven militants’ bodies were found in Zinjibar, including three Egyptian nationals, who were killed in earlier clashes. Three civilians were killed while planting landmines in Zinjibar on June 19, the officials said. Officials also reported sporadic clashes near Jaar, which was recaptured by the Yemeni military on June 12.[1]
  • The Yemeni government claimed responsibility for killing militant, Salah al Jawhari, who backed al Qaeda-linked suicide bombers. There is speculation from locals that Jawhari was killed by an airstrike targeting his vehicle in al Bayda governorate on June 19.[2]
  • Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi appointed Major General Nasser al Taheri commander of the southern military zone and the 31st Armored Brigade on June 19, replacing Major General Salem Ali Qatan, who was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Aden on June 18.[3]
  • Former South Yemen President Ali Nasser Mohammed urged President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi to utilize more resources in combating terrorism and al Qaeda-linked militants. Mohammed indicated in a press release that the assassination of Major General Salem Ali Qatan was in retaliation for the recent defeats of the militants in the southern governorates of Abyan and Shabwah.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Local residents from Qorioley in Lower Shabelle region reported clashes between farmers and al Shabaab militants. A resident confirmed that one person was killed and two others were injured.[5]
  • Witnesses reported that a headless corpse was found in Mogadishu’s Karan district on June 19. A resident said that the victim was a newcomer from Yemen who arrived three days earlier.[6]
  • Roadmap signatories reportedly met in Nairobi, Kenya to further discuss Somalia’s political process to end its transitional phase on June 20. The attendees included officials from the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Puntland, Galmudug, Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a, and the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS). Sources at the meeting indicated that current high-level Somali officials were urged not to run in the upcoming presidential elections slated for August 20, 2012.[7]
  • Al Shabaab’s media wing, al Kata’ib Media Foundation, released four communiqués on jihadist forums on June 19, claiming several attacks and defections. Most notably, al Shabaab reported on two ambushes targeting Sierra Leonean and Ethiopian troops in Gedo region on June 13, marking its first reported attack on Sierra Leonean troops. Al Shabaab also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at an intelligence camp in Afgoi on June 16.[8]
  • The new acting minister of internal security in Kenya Yusuf Haji took over on June 19, replacing George Saitoti who was killed in a helicopter crash on June 10. Haji vowed to continue Kenya’s fight against al Shabaab at home: “My priority will be to ensure the country has peace and stability ahead of the elections. All internal and external threats including those from the illegal gangs will be dealt with.”[9]     

[2] “Yemen Says Kills Militant Who Planned Bombings,” Reuters, June 20, 2012. Available:
[3] “Successor to Qatan: Appointment of Major General Nasser Al-Tahiri,” Yemen News, June 20, 2012. Available:
[4] “Former S Yemen President Urges Hadi to Uproot Terrorism,” Yemen Post, June 19, 2012. Available:
[5] “Al Shabab Militants Battle Local Farmers in Southern Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, June 20, 2012. Available:
[6] “Headless Corpse Found in Northern Mogadishu, Somali Capital,” Shabelle Media Network, June 19, 2012. Available:
[7] “Roadmap Signatories Meet in Neighboring Kenyan Capital,” Shabelle Media Network, June 20, 2012. Available:
[8] “Shabaab Strikes Sierra Leonean Forces, Claims Suicide Bombing,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 19, 2012. Available at SITE.
[9] “Haji Takes Over, Pledges to Fight Al-shabaab,” Standard Digital, June 19, 2012. Available:,-pledges-to-fight-Al-shabaab
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