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: Yemeni military transport plane crashes in Sana’a; several members of 312th Brigade die in clashes with tribesmen in Ma’rib governorate; unidentified assailants blow up oil pipeline in Ma’rib governorate; gunmen attack the home of deputy security director of Taiz governorate; U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says progress has been made against al Qaeda; armed gunmen killed civilian in Taiz governorate; an explosion wounds six civilians in Lahij governorate; Yemeni government denies rumors of new decrees to oust Brig. Gen. Ahmed Saleh and Brig. Gen. Yahya Saleh; local sources report that former President Ali Abdullah Saleh moved weapons to Sanhan tribe

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases six communiqués; AMISOM troops take over Ethiopian bases in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; British ambassador travels to Mogadishu, receives land for British embassy; Kenyan officials are planning to build police stations in the Eastleigh district of Nairobi, Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Yemeni military transport plane crashed in Sana’a on November 21. Local sources reported that the crash occurred in an unpopulated area of al Hasaba neighborhood. An unidentified security source reported that the plane attempted to make an emergency landing after its engine failed. The pilot and nine other pilot trainees were reportedly killed in the crash. The Yemeni Ministry of Defense has ordered an investigation to determine the causes of the crash.[1]
  • Several members of the 312th Brigade were killed in clashes with tribesmen in Ma’rib governorate on November 21. Local sources reported that Director of Operations Staff Col. Saleh al Bakeer was wounded in the clashes. Tank Battalion Commander Staff Col. Ali al Asadi and a number of other soldiers were killed. Tribesmen reportedly fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at 312th Brigade members carrying out a reconnaissance mission.[2]
  • Unidentified assailants blew up an oil pipeline in al Ma’rib governorate on November 20. Local sources reported that the oil pipeline, which was severely damaged in an attack on November 12, was already out of operation when the blast took place. Local sources added that the attack may have sparked violent clashes between tribesmen and the 312th Brigade operating in the area.[3]
  • Unidentified gunmen attacked the home of Col. Abdulhalim Noman, deputy security director of Taiz governorate, on November 20. Local sources reported that the gunmen fired on the home from three vehicles, wounding a guard in front of the home.[4]
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated on November 20 that U.S. forces have decimated al Qaeda’s leadership and made gains against al Qaeda affiliates. Panetta added that although the United States has made progress against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen and al Shabaab in Somalia, new al Qaeda affiliates are growing in Mali and Nigeria.[5]
  • Armed gunmen killed a civilian in Taiz city on November 20. Local sources reported that gunmen opened fire on a currency exchange store in downtown Taiz, killing the store owner. A second individual was injured in the attack.[6]
  • An explosion wounded six citizens in al Hawta city in Lahij governorate on November 20. Local sources reported that the blast, originally identified as an exploding cooking gas cylinder, was actually from a rocket or hand grenade. Security forces are currently investigating the incident.[7]
  • The Yemeni presidential office denied rumors on November 20 that President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued decrees to fire Commander of the Republican Guards Brig. Gen. Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh and Commander of the Central Security Forces Brig. Gen. Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh. Both Ahmed and Yahya are relatives of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.[8]
  • Local sources reported on November 19 that former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his nephew Tareq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh transferred military-grade weapons to Sanhan village near Sana’a. Former President Saleh’s birthplace is Sanhan and he is a member of the Sanhan tribe.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab released six communiqués on November 17 claiming several attacks and saying it had finished two shari’a courses, one at a school and one at a hospital. Al Shabaab says it carried out several assaults on Somali and AMISOM troops as well as an IED attack in Beledweyne, and several grenade bombings. Additionally, al Shabaab said it killed three spies in Mogadishu.[10]
  • AMISOM troops took over Ethiopian bases in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on November 21. Ethiopian forces are transferring security operations in the area to the new AMISOM troops. The Ethiopian contingent in Beledweyne has moved outside the city in order to ease transition.[11]
  • British ambassador to Somalia, Matt Baugh, arrived in Mogadishu on November 21 in order to receive land from Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud set aside for the British embassy. The Australian government has also sent a letter to the Somali government expressing its wish to open an embassy in Mogadishu.[12]
  • Somali ambassador to Kenya, Mohamed Ali Americo, says Kenyan officials are planning to create police stations in the Somali populated Eastleigh district of Nairobi, Kenya. The police stations will be made in order to protect the Somalis who have been mistreated at the hands of the Kenyan army and targeted by riots in the area.[13]

[1] “Military Cargo Plane Catches Fire, Crashes in Yemeni Capital; 10 Killed,” CNN, November 21, 2012. Available:
“Deaths in Yemen Military Plane Crash,” al Jazeera, November 21, 2012. Available:
“Yemeni Transport Plane Crashes near Sana’a Airport, 10 Killed,” Reuters, November 21, 2012. Available:
“Antonov Aircraft Crash in Sana’a, Killing Its Crew,” SABA, November 21, 2012. Available:
“Antonov Aircraft Crashes during Its Training Mission and Its Commander and Nine Others Are Martyred,” 26 September, November 21, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Tank Battalion Commander of 312th Brigade Killed in Clashes with Armed Individuals in Ma’rib,” al Watan, November 21, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
“Battalion Commander Killed and Director of Operations of 312th Brigade Wounded in an Ambush and Armed Individuals Blow Up Oil Pipeline in Ma’rib,” al Masdar Online, November 21, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Yemen Army Battles Tribesmen after New Oil Pipeline Attack: Official,” Reuters, November 21, 2012. Available:
[4] “Armed Attack on Home of Deputy Security Director in Taiz Governorate,” al Watan, November 21, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “US Has Decimated al Qaeda Chiefs But Must Persist in Fight – Panetta,” Reuters, November 20, 2012. Available:
[6] “Just Hours After Pro-Shawqi Hayel Demonstration: Currency Exchange Employee Killed and an Armed Attack on the House of the Deputy Director of Security in Taiz,” Ma’rib Press, November 20, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Security Official in Lahij Confirms that al Hawta Explosion Yesterday Was the Result of an Explosive Device,” Aden al Ghad, November 21, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Presidential Office: Reports on Firing Military, Security Chiefs ‘Fabricated,’” Yemen Post, November 20, 2012. Available:
[9] “Saleh Transfers Weapons to Sanhan,” al Sahwa, November 19, 2012. Available:
[10] “Shabaab Claims 18 Attacks, Concludes Two Shariah Courses,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 19, 2012. Available at SITE.
[11] “AMISOM Replaces Ethiopian Bases in Beledweyne,” Bar Kulan, November 21, 2012. Available:
[12] “Somalia Gives Embassy Land to UK,” Bar Kulan, November 21, 2012. Available:
[13] “Somali Ambassador: Police Station Due to Open in Eastleigh,” Shabelle, November 21, 2012. Available:
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