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: Tens of thousands of Yemenis protest in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Kenyan reinforcements arrive at Liboi; Ethiopia considers deploying troops into Somalia; Kenya asks for U.S. surveillance and intelligence support; Kenyan police arrest three sheikhs for alleged extremist activities; continued fighting in Daynile and Heliwa districts in Mogadishu; al Shabaab and TFG forces clash near Afmadow; al Shabaab stages military exercises in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Tens of thousands of Yemeni’s protested calling for the trial of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and gathered for Friday prayers on Siteen Street in Sana’a. The protest came as United Nations (UN) envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar met with opposition leaders for a second time this week in an effort to get Saleh to sign the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative. In Taiz, mass protests took place, marking the biggest protests the country has ever seen. Yemeni security forces reportedly attacked protesters wounding four people at al Dhabab checkpoint.[1]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Four hundred Kenyan troops with helicopters and light aircraft arrived at Liboi in preparation to reinforce Kenyan troops staged outside Afmadow in Somalia.[2]
  • Ethiopia is reportedly considering sending several thousand troops into Somalia is an effort to stabilize Somalia. A Transitional Federal Government (TFG) official said that Ethiopian troops have already begun to come across the border. A senior African Union official said that Ethiopian troops would coordinate closely with existing African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces. He said, “The idea is to relieve pressure on AMISOM.” Ethiopian troops occupied Somalia for two years and have been accused of committing human rights violations against Somalis.[3]
  • The Kenyan government asked the U.S. in an appeal through the State Department to provide intelligence and logistical support for its ongoing operation in southern Somalia. The administration is reportedly considering the request.[4]
  • Kenyan police arrested three sheikhs in Hagadera refugee camp, part of Dadaab refugee camp, for allegedly “preaching extremism.” A senior police officer said, “We acted on intelligence that the three were either followers of the militant group or sympathizers. They are undergoing interrogation." Authorities said that they had intelligence that a number of refugees were hiding weapons and gave the camp 21 days to disarm “or face the law.”[5]
  • Fighting between al Shabaab militants and AMISOM-backed TFG troops erupted again on November 17 in Daynile and Heliwa districts in Mogadishu. The fighting began when al Shabaab shelled TFG and AMISOM bases. Locals reported that both sides were using heavy weapons.[6]
  • TFG forces attacked an al Shabaab base in Jalabo approximately 13 km from Afmadow in Lower Jubba region. Three people were killed and several others wounded during the course of the fighting. A TFG commander Colonel Mohamed Abdullah said that TFG forces had captured the base.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants in Kalabeyrka junction near Beledweyne in Hiraan region staged military exercises and are preparing to launch an attack against Shabelle Valley administration forces in Beledweyne.  Locals report that war planes were seen flying over Beledweyne prompting an evacuation from the town.[8]

[1]Mohammed Ghobari, “Protesters pray in Yemen, U.N. envoy pushes for peace,” Reuters, November 18, 2011. Available:
“Yemen Revolution Updates Nov 17, 2011,” Yemen Post, November 17, 2011. Available:
[2] “Official: 400 Kenyan soldiers arrive at border in preparation for push to key Somali town,” AP, November 18, 2011. Available:
[3] Jeffrey Gettleman, “African Union Considers Sending Ethiopian Troops to Somalia,” New York Times, November 17, 2011. Available:
[4] David S. Cloud and Ken Dilanian, “Kenya asks U.S. for help with Somalia offensive,” Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2011. Available:,0,7985129.story
[5] Cyrus Ombati, “Three sheikhs arrested over militia link,” The Standard, November 17, 2011. Available:
[6] “Fierce fighting erupted in Mogadishu.” Radio Bar-Kulan, November 18, 2011. Available:
[7] “Jalabo taken over by TFG forces,” Radio Bar-Kulan, November 18, 2011. Available:
[8] “Tensions rose as Al-shabaab,Shabelle Valley fighters clashed in Somali,” Shabelle Media Network, November 18, 2011. Available:
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