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 releases eighth and ninth issues of Inspire magazine; eight militants killed in Abyan; al Houthi official says that the group will not participate in national dialogue

Horn of Africa: Kenyan army targets al Shabaab bases in Lower Jubba region with mortar fire; al Shabaab militant leaders allegedly register 50 students for military training in Kismayo; UNPOS, AMISOM, IGAD release joint statement warning Somalia peace process spoilers; Somali reporter killed in Galkayo

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Malahem Media Foundation, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) media wing, released the eighth and ninth issues of Inspire, the group’s English-language online magazine, on jihadist forums on May 2. The eighth issue features a posthumous essay by Anwar al Awlaki, the Yemeni-American killed in a U.S. drone strike in September 2011, on the permissibility of killing “infidel” civilians and even using weapons of mass destruction to do so. The ninth issue features eulogies for Awlaki and another American, Samir Khan, who was the editor of Inspire and was killed in the same drone strike as Awlaki.  The issue also provides advice for jihadists on how to conduct terrorist operations in their home countries.[1]
  • Military sources report that eight Ansar al Sharia militants were killed near Bajdar in Abyan governorate. The militants were attempting an attack on the 25th Mechanized Brigade and the 39th Armored Brigade.[2]
  • Saleh Habra, a leader of the al Houthi rebels, stated that the group would not participate in the upcoming national dialogue. Habra was very skeptical of the dialogue and asked, “Why would we want a political dialogue as long as it was imposed on us by the US and other countries by force?”[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Local witnesses reported that Kenyan forces opened mortar fire on al Shabaab bases in Qoqani in Lower Jubba region. The number of casualties could not be confirmed, but witnesses reported seeing al Shabaab militants being rushed to hospitals.[4]
  • Witnesses reported that clashes between Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a and al Shabaab militants broke out between Mahas and Goobo village in Hiraan region. Ahlu Sunna has reportedly regrouped 15 kilometers outside of Goobo village. The number of casualties and injuries is yet to be reported.[5]
  • Militant leaders from al Shabaab reportedly ordered teachers to line up their students and then forcibly registered 50 children for military training in Kismayo on May 2.[6]
  • The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) released a joint statement on May 1. The statement warns individual groups and spoilers who could endanger Somalia’s roadmap for peace and stability. The statement adds that sanctions may be used against individual groups who obstruct the peace process. The “Roadmap for Ending the Transition in Somalia” is set for completion on August 20, 2012.[7]
  • Mohamed Osman Hussein, chairman of the Somali Exiled Journalists Association, confirmed the death of Farhan Abdulle, a Somali journalist, in Galkayo in Mudug region overnight. Two armed gunmen reportedly shot and killed Abdulle, making him the fifth Somali journalist to be killed in 2012.[8]   

[1] “Eighth Issue of Inspire Magazine,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 2, 2012. Available at SITE.
“Ninth Issue of Inspire Magazine Released,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 2, 2012. Available at SITE.
[2] “8 al Qaeda Terrorists Killed Near the City of Zinjibar in Abyan,” 26 September Net, May 3, 2012. Available:
[3] Mohamed bin Sallam, “Houthis Reject Dialogue,” Yemen Times, May 3, 2012. Available:
[4] “Kenyan Army Targets on Al Shabab Bases in Southern Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, May 3, 2012. Available:
[5] “Somalia: Al-Shabab, Ahlu Sunna Fight in Parts of Hiran Region,” Shabelle Media Network, May 3, 2012. Available:
[6] “Al-Shabaab Recruits Students in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, May 2, 2012. Available:
[7] “UN and Partners Issue Warning against Somalia Peace Process Spoilers,” UN News Centre, May 1, 2012. Available:
[8] “Somalia Sees 5th Reporter Killed in 2012,” AP, May 3, 2012. Available:
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