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: AQAP claims responsibility for February 25 car bombing in al Mukalla; al Qaeda-linked militants kidnap Yemeni officer in Abyan; Ansar al Sharia warns government to withdraw its forces from Zinjibar; two soldiers injured in Aden shooting believed to have been carried out by Southern Movement

Horn of Africa: At least 30 al Shabaab militants injured by airstrikes on Burdhubo in Gedo region; ten killed in clashes between TFG and al Shabaab in Garbaharey; AFRICOM commander reports that al Shabaab, Boko Haram, and AQIM may synchronize their efforts; al Shabaab releases four communiqués claiming attacks in Banadir, Gedo, and Jubba regions against Somali, Ethiopian, and Kenyan targets

Yemen Security Brief

  • On February 29, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) issued a statement claiming responsibility for the February 25 car bombing of the presidential palace in al Mukalla, which killed at least 25 people. The statement glorified the “martyr” of the operation, Abu Mehjin al Say’ari, and said that the attack was meant to convey a message to the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald M. Feierstein, who has displayed “the arrogance of the occupier,” and to Yemeni military forces, who have killed unarmed protesters and have been “an obedient tool in the hand of the American ruler.” It further stated that America is “aiming at stealing the fruits of the revolution.”[1]
  • The Yemen Interior Ministry reported on February 29 that al Qaeda-linked militants in Abyan kidnapped Colonel Ahmed Jaafal, commander of the 133rd Battalion. His convoy was ambushed on the road between Aden and Mukairas. It also reported that the Yemeni military had launched an assault on militant strongholds in Abyan governorate.[2]
  • Ansar al Sharia warned the Yemeni government on February 29 that if the latter did not remove its forces from Zinjibar, the militants would respond with relentless violence. The group also demanded that people who had fled the town due to fighting be returned to their homes within 10 days. If the government failed to respond to these demands, then they would face a “torrential river” of attacks, warned Abu Hamza Jalal Baleedi, the local emir of Ansar al Sharia.[3]
  • Two soldiers of the Yemeni military police were injured in Aden by gunmen believed to be associated with the secessionist Southern Movement. The soldiers were part of a larger force attempting to open a main road that has been closed by the secessionists.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) spokesman in Gedo region Ahmed Hirse reported that at least 30 al Shabaab militants were injured in an airstrike on Burdhubo.[5]
  • Clashes between TFG soldiers allied with Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a fighters and al Shabaab militants killed 10 people in Garbaharey in Gedo region. Al Shabaab began the attack by launching mortars on residential and military targets.[6]
  • AFRICOM Commander General Carter Ham reported that al Shabaab, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Boko Haram may try to synchronize their efforts in front of congress on February 29. He added that if they are able to better share training and funds, “that presents a real challenge for [the U.S.].”[7]
  • On February 28, al Shabaab’s media wing al Kata’ib Media Foundation released four communiqués on jihadist forums claiming strikes in Banadir, Gedo and Jubba regions. In Banadir, al Shabaab detonated an explosive device outside of the home of a Somali militia leader, Qubali, reportedly killing a number of his guards on February 28. In Luq, al Shabaab shelled Ethiopian bases on February 27. In Hamar Jadid in Mogadishu, al Shabaab assassinated a Somali intelligence officer, Kamal, on February 27. In the final statement, al Shabaab allegedly destroyed two Kenyan army vehicles near Kolbio and Badhadhe with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and explosive devices on February 27. Al Shabaab claimed that seven Kenyans died in the attack.[8]    

[1] “Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula: Statement Regarding Martyrdom Operation on the Republican Palace in Mukalla (February 29, 2012),” Flashpoint Partners, February 29, 2012. Available:
[2] “Al-Qaeda Kidnaps Yemen’s General in Abyan,” Yemen Post, February 29, 2012. Available:
[3] Mohammed Mukhashaf, “Al Qaeda-Linked Group Gives Yemen Government Ultimatum,” Reuters, February 29,2 012. Available:
[4] “Two Soldiers Injured Shot by Gunmen in Aden,” al Masdar Online, March 1, 2012. Available:
[5] “30 Al-Shabab Militants Injured Air Strikes in Gedo Region, Official,” Shabelle Media Network, March 1, 2012. Available:
[6] “10 Died as TFG Soldiers, Al Shabaab Clash in Gedo Region,” Bariga Afrika, March 1, 2012. Available:
[7] “US General: 3 Africa Terror Groups May Collaborate,” AP, February 29, 2012. Available:
[8] “Al Shabaab Claims Strikes in Banadir, Gedo, and Juba,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 29, 2012. Available at SITE.
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