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: Suspected al Qaeda-linked militants kill at least two policemen in Hadramawt governorate; roadside bomb kills two soldiers from the 119th brigade in Zinjibar; political activist escapes suspected al Qaeda assassination attempt in Abyan; gunmen open fire in Sana’a and Taiz; UN envoy returns to Yemen; British ambassador to Yemen warns of sanctions

Horn of Africa: Nine al Shabaab militants killed in hand grenade attack; Kenyan authorities arrest five people allegedly connected to al Shabaab; al Shabaab shows military prowess in Marka; Shabelle region elders vow to attack al Shabaab; al Shabaab releases three elders from custody in Dinsor; al Shabaab opens fire on truck carrying qat  

Yemen Security Brief  

  • A local police officer reported that suspected al Qaeda-linked gunmen riding on a motorbike opened fire on a security patrol killing at least two policemen and injuring three others on a coastal road in al Mukalla in Hadramawt governorate.[1]
  • An army official reported that a landmine planted by al Qaeda-linked militants exploded killing two soldiers from the defected 119th brigade in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate.[2]
  • Sources reported that suspected al Qaeda-linked militants exploded a remote-controlled car bomb targeting Said Ashal, a Yemeni political activist, while he was shopping in Mudia in Abyan governorate. Ashal survived the attack.[3]  
  • A medical official reported that unidentified gunmen opened fire on anti-government protesters calling for the trial of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh for his crimes killing one person and wounding nine others in Taiz. In Sana’a, gunmen wounded three others during a similar protest.[4]  
  • United Nations (UN) envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar returned to Sana’a in order to discuss the recent developments in ending the conflict in Yemen. Benomar told SABA, Yemen’s state news agency, "I hope this will be an opportunity to solve the issues between the political factions in Yemen." He is set to meet with Yemeni Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi and with members of the opposition.[5]
  • British ambassador to Yemen John Wilkes warned that sanctions will be taken against Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh if he does not comply with the stipulations set forth by the 2014 UN Security Council Resolution 2014 for ending the conflict in Yemen. Wilkes said that the situation in Yemen is deteriorating day by day as “bands of thugs” terrorize the country. He also warned that Yemen is facing an economic crisis and the “disintegration of state institutions.”[6]

  Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unknown assailants attacked two al Shabaab vehicles in Galgudud region, killing nine militants. SONNA reported that some of the fighters killed were foreigners.  Al Shabaab militants subsequently cordoned off the area and did not let anyone near the scene of the attack.[7] 
  • Kenyan authorities arrested five people, including a former Laikipia city councilor and his younger brother, accused of being members of al Shabaab.  The accuser was arrested for illegally entering Laikipia Air Base, which is when he named the five suspects and added that he was waiting for a weapons shipment from Kismayo.  Family members say that the accuser was mentally unwell and was scared by the soldiers.[8]
  • Al Shabaab militants completed a military exercise demonstrating their defensive capabilities in Marka in Lower Shabelle region.  Al Shabaab displayed various formations of small boats armed with machine guns, technicals and motorbikes.  The show ended when a militant lost control of his motorbike and crashed into the crowd killing a boy and injuring several others.[9] 
  • Yusuf Haji Mohamed, a spokesman for elders in Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, said that the elders have been meeting in Mogadishu and have vowed to expel al Shabaab from those regions.  “I can tell you that everything has beginning and end [sic]. So What I am saying to the people in both regions is to be patient or tolerate. Al Shabaab will be out for the coming days.”  He said that the elders would establish an administration aimed at restoring “peace, security, and order.”[10]
  • Al Shabaab militants released three elders from custody in Dinsor in Bay region who had been arrested for supporting the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Kenyan operation.  Mohamed Hassan Malaq, an elder in the area, said that a number of elders had held talks with al Shabaab to secure their release.[11]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed a pick-up truck carrying a load of qat from Dhobley to Qoqani near Taabta in Lower Jubba region.  Colonel Mohamed Hassan Bule, a TFG commander, reported that three passengers were killed and another seriously wounded in the ambush.  Following the attack, the militants confiscated the truck.[12]

[1]“2 Policemen Killed in Al-Qaida Attack in SE Yemen,” Xinhua, November 10, 2011. Available:
[2] “Four killed in south Yemen attacks,” AFP, November 10, 2011. Available:
[3] Mohammed al Kibsi, “Yemeni political activist escapes assassination launched by al-Qaeda in South Yemen,” Yemen Observer, November 9, 2011. Available:
[4] Jamal Al-Jashini, “Gunmen fire on protests in Yemen, kill youth,” AP, November 10, 2011. Available:
[5] Mohammed Ghobari, “U.N. envoy in new push for Yemen power transfer,” Reuters, November 10, 2011. Available:
[6] “British Ambassador Warns of Sanctions,” Yemen Post, November 10, 2011. Available:
[7] “Nine Al-Shabab Fighters Perish In Explosion,” SONNA, November 10, 2011. Available:
[8] Asha Muktar, “Five held in Nanyuki,” The Star, November 9, 2011. Available:
[9] Abdulkadir Khalif, “Somali Al-Shabaab in show of military might,” Africa Review, November 9, 2011. Available:
[10] “Tribal elders vows would chase Shabaab from regions in Somalia,” Mareeg Online, November 10, 2011. Available:
[11] “TFG, Kenya supporters freed from custody, Dinsor Town,” Radio Bar-Kulan, November 10, 2011. Available:
[12] “Three killed, others taken hostage after rebel fighters ambushed a vehicle, Lower Juba,” Radio Bar-Kulan, November 10, 2011. Available:
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