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 security official at the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a assassinated in Sana’a; unidentified gunmen attack security checkpoints in Lahij governorate; Popular Resistance Committees arrest one suspected operative in Jaar city

Horn of Africa: Ras Kamboni brigade and ONLF reportedly try to control Kismayo; two explosions in Kismayo kill one, injure two people; former al Shabaab governor in Kismayo Hassan Yaqub is moved to commander in Galgudud; Ethiopian troops gather in Luq, Gedo region; al Shabaab militants arrest three in Bulo Mareer, Lower Shabelle region; Belgian authorities arrest seven men linked to al Shabaab; Kenyan Defense Minister Yusuf Haji says 3,000 al Shabaab militants have been killed in the past year; President Mohamud meets with Ugandan President Yuweri Museveni in Kampala, Uganda

Yemen Security Brief

  • Qassem Aqlan, a Yemeni employee at the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, was killed by gunmen on 60th Street in Sana’a on October 11. According to an unidentified Yemeni Interior Ministry official, Qassem Aqlan worked at the embassy for nearly two decades. He was the head of a security team at the embassy and was investigating the September 13 storming of the embassy. Qassem Aqlan was killed by gunmen on a motorcycle, a tactic often used by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[1]
  • An unidentified Yemeni official reported that gunmen attacked a security checkpoint and a government security building in southwestern Lahij governorate on October 10. The Yemeni official added that the attacks have not resulted in any injuries. Security forces in Lahij have arrested three suspects involved in the attacks.[2]
  • Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), pro-government tribal military groups, arrested a reported al Qaeda operative in Jaar city in Abyan governorate on October 11. According to local sources, the suspected operative, identified as Hussein Mohammad al Johari, was allegedly planning to travel to southern Aden and carry out a suicide attack.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Ras Kamboni militia, a group that fought alongside Somali government forces to secure the town of Kismayo, may now be trying to exert control over the city along with its ally, the Ogaden Liberation Front (ONLF), a rebel militia group active in eastern Ethiopia.  A security official said Somali government forces “are finding themselves increasingly uncomfortable as Ras Kamboni Brigade and ONLF extend their illegal control over Kismayu.”[4]
  • Two explosions went off in the town of Kismayo on October 10. The first, which was a grenade explosion in the section of Kismayo called Via Afmadow, did not injure anyone.  The second is believed to have been an IED targeted at a Somali army convoy driving near the center of the city. One civilian was killed in the explosion and two more were injured. No military personnel were hurt and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[5]
  • Al Shabaab governor of Kismayo Hassan Yaqub has been transferred to the commanding officer position in the Galgudud region. Yaqub was believed to have been killed by a Kenyan airstrike on September 29, but has since been heard on the radio telling residents in Galgadud to resist the “apostates of Christianity.”[6]
  • Ethiopian troops are gathering in the town of Luq, Gedo region on October 11 in preparation for military assaults on the remaining al Shabaab towns. Gedo has been a battleground region between AMISOM and Somali troops and al Shabaab militants. Ethiopian troops are digging trenches and building barricades in preparation for the looming battles.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants have arrested three businessmen in the town of Bulo Mareer, Lower Shabelle region, on October 10. They are suspected of spying for Somali and AMISOM troops.[8]
  • Seven men were arrested in Belgium on October 10 for recruiting young Belgians to leave the country and join the Somali terror group al Shabaab. The search, which was conducted in Brussels, found six men of African descent and one native Belgian linked to the militant group.[9]
  • Kenyan Defense Minister Yusuf Haji, speaking at a ceremony in support of Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) troops, said the KDF has supposedly killed over 3,000 al Shabaab militants since Kenyan soldiers first entered Somalia one year ago. Haji also said the KDF has only lost twenty-two soldiers and one helicopter during that time. He explained to the audience, peace sometimes involves the sacrifice of a soldier.[10]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with Ugandan President Yuweri Museveni Kampala, Uganda on October 10. The two discussed strengthening relations between the countries, and the possibility of additional Ugandan troops being sent to Somalia as part of AMISOM.[11]  

[1] “Man Investigating Attack on U.S. Embassy in Yemen Killed on Way to Work,” CNN, October 11, 2012. Available:
“Gunmen Kill U.S. Embassy Employee in Yemen,” Reuters, October 11, 2012. Available:
“Yemen Security Chief at U.S. Embassy Killed in Sana’a,” Fox News, October 11, 2012. Available:
[2] “Lahij Security Catches 3 Suspected of Shooting at Security Sites,” SABA News, October 10, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Committees: Arrested Member of AQAP That Is Planning to Carry Out a Suicide Attack in Aden,” Aden al Ghad, October 11, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Somalia in Row with Militias in Captured Town,” Daily Nation, October 11, 2012. Available:
[5] “Somalia: Double Explosion Kills Civilian in Kismayo,” Garowe Online, October 11, 2012. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Al Shabaab Appoints Sh. Hassan Takub as Head of Galgadud Region,” Raxanreeb, October 11, 2012. Available:
[7] “Fresh Ethiopian Troops Mass in Luq Town, Gedo Privince,” Shabelle, October 11, 2012. Available:
[8] “Al Shabaab Fighters Arrest Civilians in Lower Shabelle,” Shabelle, October 11, 2012. Available:
[9] “Belgian Authorities Arrest 7 Suspected of Recruiting Militants,” Shabelle, October 11, 2012. Available:
[10] “Yusuf Haji: KDF Kill 3,00 Al Shabaab in One Year,” Shabelle, October 11, 2012. Available:
[11] “President Mohamud Meets Museveni in Kampala,” Bar Kulan, October 10, 2012. Available:
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