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: Shelling kills militant leader in Zinjibar; President Saleh says he will step down from power “within 90 days” of reaching an agreement; AQAP releases official version of video titled “One Ummah”

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu al Zubair releases audio message congratulating Libyans on the death of Muammar Gaddafi; TFG governor of Lower Shabelle region urges residents to evacuate; TFG troops seize Ato in Bakool region; renewed fighting erupts in Daynile and Heliwa districts; Israel agrees to assist Kenya in border security  

Yemen Security Brief  

  • Yemeni daily newspaper Akbar al Youm reported that the Yemeni army shelled positions held by al Qaeda-linked militants, killing Moroccan militant leader Addul Ghaffour Hashem al Zayati, also known as Abu Mughira, along with other al Qaeda-linked militants in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate. The paper also reported that the bodies of a Pakistani doctor and a Yemeni man, who are suspected to have been killed by militants, were found in the shelled areas.[1]  
  • Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said that he intends to step down from power “within 90 days” of reaching a transition deal, in an interview on November 14. Saleh said, “When the Gulf initiative is agreed upon and signed and when a time frame is set for its implementation, and elections take place, the president will leave.” Saleh reasoned that he has stayed in power in order to combat the threat of “regional and international terrorism” in Yemen, adding that his regime has “overwhelming evidence that the opposition is working with al Qaeda.” He also discredited Arab revolts in the region, accusing other “smaller states” of backing them for their own purposes.[2]  
  • The official version of an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) video, titled “One Ummah,” was released and published on jihadist forums on November 11. AQAP's media arm, al Malahem Foundation, produced the video. The video features an interview with AQAP military commander Qasim al Raymi, also known as Abu Hurayrah, in which he speaks about AQAP support for Yemeni opposition protesters and fighting in Abyan governorate. Raymi also commented on the August 15 attack on the al Houthis in al Jawf governorate saying in regards to the al Houthis, that they must be punished for their “aggression against Sunnis.” Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ibrahim al Rubaish, AQAP’s spiritual leader, also appeared in the video.[3]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief  

  • Al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu al Zubair released a Somali-language audio message congratulating the Libyan people for the overthrow and death of Muammar Qadhafi and urged them to “take the right path” in instituting shari’a law.  He also mentions the recent battle in Daynile district in Mogadishu saying that it was a “historic” day and that Mogadishu “is truly a graveyard for the Crusaders.”[4]  
  • Abdikadir Mohamed Nur, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) governor of Lower Shabelle region, urged the residents living there to evacuate ahead of TFG troop advances.  He also said that other countries may conduct airstrikes in the region.[5]  
  • TFG officials report that government forces advanced into Bakool region and seized Ato and the surrounding areas from al Shabaab.[6]  
  • Renewed fighting broke out between al Shabaab and TFG forces, backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, in Daynile and Heliwa districts in Mogadishu.  Locals report that five people were killed and ten others wounded and that both sides used heavy weapons including artillery and tanks.  The TFG commissioner for Heliwa district said that al Shabaab attacked TFG and AMISOM positions, but were driven off.[7]  
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to give Kenyan police training and equipment to help secure Kenya’s borders against al Shabaab attacks.  The agreement comes as Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti visit Israel.  Netanyahu is quoted as saying, “Kenya's enemies are Israel's enemies” and that he sees it, “as an opportunity to strengthen ties."  Odinga requested training for Kenyan police to “detect and destroy” al Shabaab elements within Kenya, vehicles for border patrol units, and sea surveillance equipment to counter piracy.  Israeli President Shimon Peres released a statement saying that Israel would "make everything available" and that "Kenya has shown a very positive attitude towards Israel and Israel is ready to help."[8]  

[1]Andrew Hammond, “Islamist militant killed in Yemen shelling-report,” Reuters, November 15, 2011. Available: 
[2] “EXCLUSIVE: Yemen's Saleh 'to step down within 90 days',” FRANCE 24, November 15, 2011. Available:
[3] “AQAP Video Focuses on Activity in Southern Yemen, Revolution,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 14, 2011. Available at SITE.
[4] “Shabaab Leader Speaks on Gaddafi's Death, Daynile Battle,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 14, 2011. Available at SITE
[5] “Lower Shabelle residents warned to vacate Al-Shabaab strongholds,” SONNA, November 15, 2011. Available:
[6] “TFG forces seize parts of Bakool,” SONNA, November 15, 2011. Available:
[7] “Battle, shells in Mogadishu kill 5, injuries 10 others,” Mareeg Online, November 15, 2011. Available:
[8] “Israel-Kenya deal to help fight Somalia's al-Shabab,” BBC, November 14, 2011. Available:
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