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: Roadside bombs kill 20 civilians and wound 20 others in Hajjah; clashes between security forces and Southern Movement supporters kills two in al Dhaleh; political opposition figures charge ruling party with hindering the political transition process

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab leader gives a speech about the London Somalia Conference; TFG and Ethiopian troops discover landmine left by al Shabaab militants in Hudur; al Shabaab stones one of its members in Bay region; TFG’s National Security Committee convenes

Yemen Security Brief

  • Roadside bombs reportedly planted by the al Houthi rebels killed seven civilians and wounded 20 others in Kushar in Hajjah governorate on March 22. A spokesman for a reconciliation committee between the al Houthi rebels and Sunni tribes stated that the al Houthis had planted approximately 3000 landmines in Ahm in Hajjah governorate.[1]
  • Two southern separatists were killed in a shootout with security forces in al Dhaleh city on March 22. A local Yemeni security official reported, “The incident occurred when a police campaign raided a hideout of the separatists accused of killing some army personnel. The separatists refused to give themselves in, triggering an exchange of fire.”[2]
  • The Joint Meeting Parties, Yemen’s opposition bloc, released a statement on March 22 accusing pro-Saleh government members of hindering the political transition process. All but two ruling party members walked out of March 20 cabinet meeting. Saleh’s opponents charged ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) figures with conducting smear campaigns against Prime Minister Mohammed Basendwah. Lately, pro-Saleh press has ramped up its criticism of Basendwah. The statement read: “[These campaigns] reveal non-national inclinations that aim to harm national reconciliation and the missions of the unity government.”[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair, the leader of al Shabaab, delivered a speech broadcast on March 19. The topic of the speech was the London Conference on Somalia, held on February 23. He called the conference “one of the conspiracies being woven against the Islamic Ummah.” Godane said that there were four goals of the conference: to strengthen the “Crusader alliance”; to divide the country by tribe, making it easier to destroy; to loot the country of its resources; and, finally, to fight against Islamic law and institute an “atheist constitution.” The merger of al Shabaab and al Qaeda, Godane said, was indicative of the “unity of Muslims” in jihad and “a key to bringing back the Islamic Caliphate, expelling the Crusaders from the Muslim world, and liberating Jerusalem…”[4]
  • Ethiopian and Somali government troops discovered a landmine placed by withdrawing al Shabaab fighters at a local airport in Hudur, the capital of Bakool region captured from al Shabaab on March 22.[5]
  • Al Shabaab stoned one of its own fighters to death in Bay region’s Dinsor district. Hundreds of local residents gathered to watch the execution of the man, who was accused of rape.[6]
  • The Transitional Federal Government’s (TFG) National Security Committee held a meeting on March 22, chaired by President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, during which increased terrorist activity, the foiling of several plots, and the need for sustained vigilance were discussed. Following the discussions, two decisions were made: there should be only one spokesman for all security and military matters and the Ministry of Information is alone permitted to speak on behalf of the government.[7]      

[1] “Landmines Kill Seven Civilians, Wound 20 Others in Hajja,” Yemen Post, March 23, 2012. Available:
[2] “Two Separatists Killed in South Yemen,” Yemen Post, March 22, 2012. Available:
[3] “Yemen’s Saleh Party Hampering Transition: Opponents,” AFP, March 22, 2012. Available:
[4] “Shabaab Leader Speaks on London Somalia Conference, Joining al-Qaeda,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 22, 2012. Available at SITE.
[5] “Somalia, Ethiopia Forces Foil a Landmine Blast,” Shabelle Media Network, March 23, 2012. Available:
[6] “Al Shabaab Stones a Man to Death in Southwestern Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, March 23, 2012. Available:
[7] “National Security Committee Communiqué,” Transitional Federal Government, March 22, 2012. Available:
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