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: Five al Qaeda-linked militants killed when car bomb prematurely detonates in Abyan; explosion targets Ministry of Transportation in Sana’a; alleged Southern Movement gunmen storm a government building in al Dhaleh; armed al Houthi rebels raid houses and arrest tens in Sa’ada; Ansar al Sharia’s leader in Zinjibar claims group is still in control of 7th October camp; ICRC reports that thousands of Yemenis are trapped by fighting in Abyan

Horn of Africa: Kenya charges Swede with alleged al Shabaab links; al Shabaab militants surrender to Ahlu Sunna; English-language blog predicts event in Kenya; Puntland militants clash with local Bari region militias; chief TFG judge bans collecting illegal taxes

Yemen Security Brief

  • A local Yemeni official said that five al Qaeda-linked militants were killed when their vehicle detonated prematurely in Shaqra in Abyan governorate on June 5.[1]
  • An explosion targeted Sana’a’s Ministry of Transportation on June 5. Yemen’s Minister of Transportation Waed Bathib said that he received a phone call threatening to assassinate him. A statement from Bathib’s office added, “The unknown speaker threatened to use explosives to assassin [sic] Bathib because he crossed the red lines.” One employee was wounded in the explosion, according to Yemeni officials.[2]
  • Gunmen allegedly tied to the Southern Movement stormed a government building in al Dhaleh governorate and fired on a celebration commemorating Yemen’s unification. Yemeni sources indicated that the government responded swiftly and that two separatists were injured by gunfire.[3]
  • A group of armed al Houthi rebels reportedly raided three houses and arrested at least 20 men in Sa’ada’s Saqain district late on June 5.[4]
  • Yemeni Finance Minister Sakhr al Wajih said that the World Bank has agreed to give $100 million to Yemen “as a direct support of the budget.” The comment came after Charles Collyns, the U.S. Treasury’s Assistant Secretary of International Affairs, met with Mohammed al Sa'idi, Yemen’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.[5]
  • Ansar al Sharia’s leader in Zinjibar Jalal al Marqishi, also known as Abu Hamza al Zinjibari, was featured in a 1 minute, 12 second video released on YouTube by the “Eye on Yemen” news agency on June 2. A user posted a higher-quality version on Shumukh al Islam forums on June 5. The same user posted Anwar al Awlaki’s lectures in November 2012 and February 2011. In the video, Marqishi claims to be in the 7th October camp on May 30 while refuting the Yemeni government’s assertion that it controls the area.[6]
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that thousands of Yemeni civilians have been trapped in Jaar, Shaqra, and nearby areas in Abyan governorate on June 6. Eric Marclay, head of the ICRC in Yemen, stated, “Our staff were there a few days ago to assess the situation and found serious, urgent needs that, if not met, could lead to the displacement of over 100,000 people. Thousands of people have already fled to safer places.”[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Magd Najjar, a Swedish man caught in Kenya illegally, was charged with allegiance to the al Shabaab insurgency. He was arrested last month in Nairobi for organizing acts of terror and criminality. Najjar’s trial will begin on July 2.[8]
  • At least 15 militants of al Shabaab abdicated their roles in the insurgency in the Gedo region, reportedly after realizing the group’s treatment of the Somali people. After the amnesty shown on June 5, Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a continued to pardon defecting militants surrendering their weapons.[9]
  • An English-language blog post suggested that chief of Kenya-based Muslim Youth Center (MYC), Ahmad Iman Ali, has immense influence over Kenyan youth on June 1. The blogger emphasized upcoming “breaking news on the scale of what the kuffar [disbelievers] calls a 'game-changer' or 'seismic event.’” [10]
  • Puntland security forces, allegedly supported by Saracen International, combated local militias, loyal to Raas-Casayr state in Bari region. Puntland officials reported that security forces deployed to Bargaal in Bari region to fight local pirates, not the local administration. The forces, described as a regiment of the Puntland Maritime Police, had left Hafun district on June 4.[11]
  • Hassan Mohammed Hussein, chief of Transitional Federal Government (TFG) court, banned forces in control of the Afgoi corridor from collecting illegal taxes from travelers.[12]     

[1] “’Qaeda Militants Die’ When Car Bomb Goes off Too Soon,” AFP, June 5, 2012. Available:
[2] “Yemen Transport Minister Says Received Threats before Explosion,” Yemen Post, June 5, 2012. Available:
[3] “Gunmen Storm a Building in al Dhaleh Governorate and Two People Are Injured,” Al Masdar Online, June 6, 2012. Available:
[4] “Residents: Armed Houthis Raid Homes in Sa'ada and Arrest Tens of People,” Al Masdar Online, June 6, 2012. Available:
[5] “Thousands of Yemenis Caught up in Fighting: ICRC,” Reuters, June 6, 2012. Available:
“Washington Announces Its Absolute Support in Establishing a Multi-Donor Fund to Support Yemen,” SABA Net, June 6, 2012. Available:
[6] “Ansar al-Sharia Official Disputes Yemeni Reports of Controlling Camp,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 5, 2012. Available at SITE.
[7] “Thousands of Yemenis Caught up in Fighting: ICRC,” Reuters, June 6, 2012. Available:
[8] “Swiss Man Charged with Al Shabaab Links,” AFP, June 6, 2012. Available:
“Kenya Arrests Swede Suspected of Links with Somali Rebels,” AFP, May 14, 2012. Available:
[9] “Alleged Al Shabaab Fighters Surrender  to ASWJ in Gedo Region,” Bar Kulan, June 6, 2012. Available:
[10] “MYC Lauds Chief, Predicts ‘Game-Changer’ Event,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 5, 2012. Available at SITE.
[11] “Tension Rises in Northeast Somalia Region,” Shabelle, June 6, 2012. Available:
“Somalia: Puntland Maritime Forces Pursue Pirates,” Garowe Online, June 5, 2012. Available:
[12] “Somali Military Court Bans Soldiers From Collecting Illegal Tax,” Shabelle Media Network, June 6, 2012. Available:
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