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: 64th Armored Battalion rebels in al Dhaleh governorate; Yemeni military and security forces reportedly placed on high alert; Sultan al Arada resigns as governor of Ma’rib governorate; unidentified assailants bomb oil pipeline in Ma’rib governorate; senior Yemeni military officials meet to discuss restructuring the armed forces; Ambassador Gerald Feierstein praises Yemeni military officials for organizing seminar on military restructuring; Yemeni Petroleum Company official survives assassination attempt in Dhamar governorate; UN Special Envoy Jamal Benomar returns to Yemen; members of parliament demand firmer stance on U.S. targeted airstrikes in Yemen
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab governor in Lower Shabelle calls for Muslims to join the jihad; al Shabaab releases six communiqués claiming attacks; protests in Mogadishu ask for continued government action against al Shabaab; Ethiopian troops raid al Shabaab bases in Gofgadud, Bay region; al Shabaab ambushes an Ethiopian convoy outside Baidoa, bay region; Somali troops exchange gunfire in Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants raid a Somali checkpoint in Garbaharey; Somali and al Shabaab troops clash in Gursar, Gedo region; Somali forces kill a man who carried out a grenade attack in Mogadishu; unknown gunmen shot and killed two in Boosaaso, Bari region; unknown gunmen kill city council employees in Garowe, Nugaal region; hundreds gather in Mogadishu to protest Mohammed Noor Tarsan’s selling of the bazaar in Hamar Weyne, Mogadishu; al Shabaab requests assistance from traders in Galgudud; the Somali Parliament approved the cabinet put forth by the Somali prime minister; China agrees to give $12 million to AU peacekeeping operations; human rights group Fanole says there are massive human rights violations occurring in Kismayo; Mohamed Noor Tarsan is replaced in the Somali Parliament; Somali troops graduate military training
Yemen Security Brief
- Soldiers and officers from the 64th Armored Battalion of the 35th Armored Brigade continued their rebellion on November 13. The 64th Battalion, stationed in Dhaleh governorate, has rebelled for the past three days. The soldiers and officers are reportedly rebelling because their commander Col. Ali Nasser al Maker, who is from southern Yemen, was removed from his post and replaced with a commander from northern Yemen.
- Local sources reported on November 13 that Yemeni military and security forces have been placed on high alert in anticipation of terrorist attacks before Yemeni Independence Day on November 30.
- Sheikh Sultan al Arada, governor of Ma’rib governorate, submitted his resignation request to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in early November 2012 according to local sources. Arada cited unresolved issues in Ma’rib governorate as his reason for resignation. Arada later rejected reports of his resignation; however, the issue remains unclear as the Yemeni government has not yet commented on the situation.
- Unidentified assailants bombed an oil pipeline in Ma’rib governorate on November 11. Local sources reported that the blast occurred in regions Kilo 39 and 40 of al Wadi district. The extent of the damage is currently unclear.
- Senior Yemeni military officials met on November 11 and 12 to discuss restructuring the Yemeni military. Senior military leaders, including Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Mohammed Nasser Ahmed and Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Abdul Qadir Qahtan, participated in the seminar. Several papers outlining the restructuring of the Yemeni military were submitted for review during the seminar. 
- U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein praised the senior Yemeni military officials on November 13 for organizing a seminar on restructuring the armed forces in Yemen. Ambassador Feierstein added that the restructuring of Yemeni armed forces and security will help eliminate terrorism in Yemen.
- Deputy branch manager of the Yemeni Petroleum Company Mohammad Ismail al Ashmeli survived an assassination attempt in Dhamar governorate on November 12. Local sources reported that unidentified assailants placed a hand grenade underneath Ashmeli’s vehicle at his residence. Ashmeli’s was unharmed in the attack.
- UN Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar arrived in Sana’a on November 12. Benomar is expected to continue talks with southern political leaders in an attempt to convince them to take part in the upcoming Yemeni National Dialogue.
- Yemeni members of parliament demanded on November 13 that Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Mohammed Nasser Ahmed and Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Abdul Qadir Qahtan attend the House of Representatives to discuss the presence of U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Yemeni airspace. Members of the Islah Party and General People’s Congress have condemned suspected U.S. targeted airstrikes in Yemen and have urged the Yemeni government to take a firm position against the airstrikes.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab governor in the Lower Shabelle region, Muhammad bin Abdullah, called for Muslims to fight in the jihad until they become martyrs of their cause. Muhammad bin Abdullah said in his audio message released November 12 that “we are the Ummah of jihad, and it is only by jihad that this enemy will be beaten and its evil pushed away.”
- Al Shabaab released six communiqués claiming the attack on the Kenyan ship on November 5 in addition to 18 other attacks in southern and central Somalia.
- Hundreds of Somali people gathered in Mogadishu to ask the government to continue its war against the terrorist group al Shabaab. The protest comes in response to the recent call by al Qaeda leaders for al Shabaab militants to keep fighting foreign enemies in Somalia. The rally was put together by the Center for Community Dialogue and several top Somali military officials were in attendance.
- Ethiopian troops raided al Shabaab military bases in the town of Gofgadud, Bay region on November 10 and 11. Fighting between the two groups lasted for almost 24 hours. Casualties from the incident are not yet known.
- Al Shabaab militants ambushed an Ethiopian convoy outside of Baidoa, Bay region on November 12. Reports say that following the ambush, Ethiopian soldiers fired mortars into residential areas. At least ten people were killed during the fighting, three of whom were civilians.
- Somali soldiers opened fire on each other at the K4 junction in Mogadishu on November 11. The reason for the incident is unknown and the number of casualties has yet to be reported.
- Al Shabaab militants raided a Somali National Army checkpoint outside of Garbaharey, Gedo region on November 10. Two fighters from both sides were killed during the clash.
- Kenyan forces and Al Shabaab militants fought in the town of Gursar, Gedo region on November 12. Casualties from the fight are not yet known but the situation had calmed down after several hours of fighting.
- Somali forces in Mogadishu shot and killed a man who threw a grenade into a restaurant on November 13. The man had intended to hit a Somali police vehicle traveling nearby, but instead hit a restaurant, killing one and injuring several others. The man was shot by security officials after trying to flee the scene.
- Unknown gunmen shot and killed two civilians in the port town of Boosaaso, Bari in Puntland on November 13. The attackers fled the scene but local law enforcement later arrested several suspects in connection with the killing.
- Unknown gunmen attacked city council employees who were attempting to demolish a building in Garowe, Nugaal region in Puntland on November 13. One official was killed and three others were injured. Three of the attackers were later arrested in connection with the incident.
- Hundreds of Somalis gathered in Mogadishu to protest against the mayor of Mogadishu, Mohamed Ahmed Noor Tarsan, on November 12. The protest was in response to Tarsan’s recent selling of the bazaar in the Hamar Weyne district of Mogadishu. Critics of the transaction filed a complaint with the government but have yet to hear back.
- Al Shabaab requested assistance from traders in Galgudud, region. Al Shabaab asked for money and food for its soldiers in the area. Traders in the region are worried because many cannot afford to pay such a large homage.
- The Somali Parliament approved the new cabinet put forth by Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon. The cabinet contains ten ministers, two of whom are women. Only three members of parliament did not support the approval of the cabinet.
- China agreed to give the African Union (AU) $12 million to go towards peacekeeping operations in the country. AU Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha said the money “will help us improve our operations in Somalia where we are now moving into a stabilization phase.”
- A Somali human rights organization, Fanole, said that there are human rights violations occurring in Kismayo. Many in the city have been raped tortured and held indefinitely in prison without judicial procedures.
- Professor Osman Hajji Maxamoud is replacing Mogadishu mayor Mohamed Ahmad Noor Tarsan in the Somali parliament. Since Noor cannot be both mayor of Mogadishu and a parliament member, Noor was forced to vacate his seat. Professor Maxamoud is a doctor and works at the university in Mogadishu.
- There were 700 Somali soldiers who graduated from a training facility in Hudur, Bakool region on November 12. The troops underwent five months of military training under the direction of Ethiopian soldiers. There were 500 additional troops who graduated from a training camp in Baidoa, Bay region on November 11.