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: Clashes kill at least 12 militants outside of Lawder; Saudi Arabia will reportedly supply Yemen’s energy needs through June; power supply line sabotaged in Ma’rib governorate; Facebook users discuss desirability of an Ansar al Sharia attack on U.S. Embassy; Yemeni authorities arrest four suspected Somali pirates on Socotra

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab ambushes Ethiopian and TFG troops in Bakool region; Puntland security forces reportedly capture men with explosives; Somali attorney general issues arrest warrant for TFG official in Banadir region; suspected al Shabaab militants detained in connection with movie theater attack in Mogadishu on April 28; two headless bodies found in Afgoi

Yemen Security Brief

  • Heavy fighting between Yemeni army troops, backed by armed tribesmen, and Ansar al Sharia militants killed at least 12 militants outside of Lawder in Abyan governorate on April 30. Eight of the militants were killed in clashes and four were killed in a Yemeni airstrike on a vehicle. Ansar al Sharia claimed to have killed seven soldiers and wounded 27 tribesmen. A local official reported that the militants were forced to withdraw in the direction of Amiin, which is about 7.5 miles south of Lawder.[1]
  • Saudi Arabia will continue to supply Yemen with its energy needs through June, oil traders reported on April 30. The Saudi government is expected to deliver 200,000 tons of diesel and Saudi Aramco is expected to deliver 100,000 tons of gasoline and fuel oil.[2]
  • The Yemeni government reported that power supply lines were attacked in al Jada’an district in Ma'rib governorate on April 30, disrupting a nearby power station’s capacity for production. The supply lines deliver electricity to the capital Sana’a.[3]
  • Allegations that employees of the U.S. Embassy had raped Yemeni girls were published on the website of Mareb Press, a Yemeni newspaper, on April 27. These allegations have been denied by the Embassy. Abdul Razzaq al Jamal, a Yemeni journalist, asked other Yemenis on Facebook how they would react if Ansar al Sharia attacked the U.S. Embassy in retaliation. Many responded that they would welcome such an attack; in the words of one respondent, “Let's carry out a quick special operation, there is no time to wait, Allah is great, victory for the free ones and damn the lowly ones.”[4]
  • Yemeni authorities arrested four suspected Somali pirates on Socotra Island.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Local residents reported that al Shabaab militants attacked Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops and Ethiopian forces stationed in Hudur in Bakool region overnight. Somali military officials reported that seven militants were killed and that the attack was successfully repelled.[6]
  • Security officials stated that Puntland security forces detained several men found with explosives in Boosaaso. “We discovered large amount of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and spoilers against the peace at some villages and neighborhoods of Bossaso town on Tuesday morning during the search operations. The forces will not stop hunting down such people all over the region,” an official said.[7]
  • Somalia’s attorney general issued a warrant for chief of Banadir region Aydid Abdullah, also known as Ilka Hadaf, for his alleged participation in a prison break on April 21.[8]
  • Abdi Mohammud Warsame, TFG district commissioner in Hodan in Mogadishu, reported that several suspects were arrested in connection with the movie theater grenade attack near Tarabunka Square on April 28. Warsame added that the suspects will face trial soon.[9]
  • Eyewitnesses reported that two young boys were found beheaded near Bar Ismail checkpoint in Afgoi in Lower Shabelle region. Al Shabaab reportedly denied relatives access to the bodies.[10]    

[1] “12 Militants Killed in Yemen Battle, Official Says,” Reuters, April 30, 2012. Available:,0,3030806.story
“18 Qaeda Militants Killed in Yemen Fighting,” AFP, April 30, 2012. Available:
[2] “Saudi to Meet Yemen Fuel Needs Until June: Sources,” Reuters, May 1, 2012. Available:
[3] “Pipeline Transmitting Electrical Energy Exposed to Sabotage Attack in al Jada’an in Ma’rib Governorate,” SABA News, April 30, 2012. Available:
[4] “Facebook Users Discuss Ramification of an Attack on American Embassy in Yemen,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 30, 2012. Available at SITE.
“U.S. Embassy Denies Mareb Press Allegations,” U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, April 30, 2012. Available:
[5] “Four Somali Suspected Pirates Arrested in Yemen,” Yemen Post, May 1, 2012. Available:
[6] “11 Killed in Bloody Battle against Somali, Ethiopian Forces,” Shabelle Media Network, May 1, 2012. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Puntland Security Forces Capture Men with Explosives,” May 1, 2012. Available:
[8] “Attorney General Issues Arrest Warrant for Convicted TFG Official,” Shabelle Media Network, May 1, 2012. Available:
[9] “TFG Detains Cinema Bombing Suspects in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, April 30, 2012. Available:
[10] “Two Headless Bodies Found in Rebel-Held Afgoye, South Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, May 1, 2012. Available:
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