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: Saleh signs GCC initiative; two Red Cross workers kidnapped in Lahij; clashes erupt between government forces and Ahmar loyalists; President Saleh arrives in Riyadh to sign GCC deal; jihadist post reports on developments in Abyan and Sa’ada

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab poisons wells in Burgavo in Lower Jubba region; security intensified at the Kakuma refugee camp; Ethiopian troops seize civilian trucks; two boys killed in Mogadishu  

Yemen Security Brief  

  • Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative for a transfer of power in Yemen in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. American and European envoys to Yemen, the Gulf Arab states that sponsored the deal, and Yemen’s opposition were expected to have been present for the signing. Spokesman for Yemen’s embassy, Mohammed Albasha stated that once President Saleh signs the deal, power will be immediately transferred to Yemeni Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi. Albasha added "This monumental agreement will hopefully bring an end to the 10-month long turmoil in the homeland.”[1]    
  • Marcel Izard, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported that an ICRC delegate, her Yemeni driver, and a staff member of the Yemeni Red Crescent were kidnapped in Lahij governorate on November 22. The workers were reportedly providing food to refugees in Aden. Izard added that the ICRC is in contact with the Yemeni authorities and local elders in an effort to secure the workers’ release and that the workers are reportedly “being treated well.” An earlier report identified the woman as a French citizen of Moroccan origin and added that the kidnapping took place in al Masameer, in Lahij governorate, specifically.[2]  
  • Clashes erupted between troops loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and anti-government tribesmen loyal to Hashid tribal confederation leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar in al Hasaba district in north Sana’a. Explosions were reportedly heard in al Soufan district in Sana’a, as well.[3]  
  • A Yemeni jihadist posted a message reporting on developments in Abyan and Sa’ada governorates on the Ansar al Mujahideen English Forum (AMEF) on November 22, 2011. The jihadist praised the attempted suicide bombing against al Houthis during Eid al Ghadeer celebrations in al Jawf governorate and criticized Salafists for refusing to send fighters to fight al Houthi fighter surrounding the Sunni Damaj Center. The jihadist also rebuked the claim that Ali Abdullah al Zahiri, who was arrested on November 21 by Yemeni security forces, is the local leader of al Qaeda in Mudia.[4]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief  

  • Locals report that al Shabaab militants have poisoned water sources in Burgavo in Lower Jubba region. At least fifty civilians have been hospitalized and some sent for treatment in Kenya.[5]  
  • Police in Kenya have increased security at the Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana due to the ongoing operation in southern Somalia. The security includes eight checkpoints and increased screening for everyone entering. Additionally everyone inside the camp, including international aid agency employees, is being prevented from leaving the camp.[6]  
  • Ethiopian troops seized six trucks transporting livestock at the Kalaberka intersection and drove them to Guriel in Galgudud region and Beledweyne in Hiraan region. A local said, “What I can tell you is that the Ethiopian troops took 6 trucks. The cars were traveling to Guriel town and the others were heading to Hiraan region mainly Beledweyne town. They carried more animals, we do not know why they had forced the trucks and we do not know what they want indeed.”[7]  
  • Unidentified gunmen shot and killed two young boys in Wardhigley district in Mogadishu. Locals report that the gunmen were masked, armed with pistols, and escaped the scene of the crime. Wardhigley district security officials said that they were hunting down the perpetrators.[8]  

[2] Frank Jordans, “Red Cross confirms staff kidnapped in Yemen,” AP, November 23, 2011. Available:
Fawaz al Haidari, “Gunmen kidnap Frenchwoman, two Yemenis,” AFP, November 22, 2011. Available:
[3] Hammoud Mounassar, “Yemen's Saleh to sign exit plan in Riyadh: UN envoy,” AFP, November 23, 2011. Available: 
[4] “Yemeni Jihadist Reports on Developments in Abyan, Sa'ada,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 22, 2011. Available at SITE.
[5] “Al-Shabaab poison water wells in Lower Juba,” SONNA, September 23, 2011. Available:
[6] Mathews Ndanyi, “Security beefed up at Kakuma camp,” The Star, November 23, 2011. Available:
[7] “Ethiopian troops abduct vehicles from central Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, November 22, 2011. Available:
[8] “Somali Gunmen kill two civilians in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, November 23, 2011. Available:
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