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: Residents in Aden city report hearing heavy gunfire; prisoners in Ibb governorate set central prison on fire; AQAP releases biography of Turki bin Saad Muhammad Qulais al Shahrani

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants forcibly search residents’ mobile phones in Jowhar district; U.S. State Department welcomes new Somali PM Shirdon; PM Shirdon pledges government competence and trustworthiness; Somali and AMISOM troops advance on Burhakaba town in Bay region; district commissioner of Heliwa district survives assassination attempt; remote-detonated landmine targets Somali soldiers in Baidoa town in Bay region; AMISOM recover the bodies of four Kenyan and Somali soldiers in Kismayo

Yemen Security Brief

  • Residents in Crater district in southern Aden city reported hearing heavy gunfire between unidentified parties on October 12. According to local sources, the gunfire occurred in the al Qatee’a neighborhood of Crater city. It is unclear what parties were involved in the shooting.[1]
  • Prisoners in Ibb governorate set fire to the central prison on October 11. According to local sources, the prisoners were protesting against the security guards for their poor treatment of inmates. It is unclear if any prisoners were able to escape during the fire.[2]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a biography of Turki bin Saad Muhammad Qulais al Shahrani on jihadist forums on October 9. Shahrani, also known as al Battar al Janoubi, was a Saudi national responsible for the July 25, 2011 suicide attack in southern Aden governorate that killed at least nine soldiers. Al Shahrani’s biography was released in the 11th edition of AQAP’s “Martyrs of the Peninsula” publication. The Saudi Ministry of Interior named al Shahrani as one of the 47 most-wanted terrorists before the July 25 suicide attack.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants forcibly searched residents’ mobile phones in Jowhar district of Middle Shabelle region on October 12. According to local sources, al Shabaab militants were looking through messages and contacts on the mobile phones. Al Shabaab reportedly assaulted individuals who were found with music on their mobile phones.[4]
  • The U.S. State Department welcomed the appointment of Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon on October 10. The U.S. State Department stated in a written statement, “We look forward to Mr. Shirdon’s selection of a new cabinet and the presentation of the new government to Parliament for review and endorsement in accordance with Somalia’s new provisional constitution.”[5]
  • Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon pledged competence and trustworthiness from the Somali government on October 11. In an interview with Voice of America, PM Shirdon stated that he will base his agenda on Somali President Mohamud’s six-point plan for building the country’s institutions.[6]
  • Somali and AMISOM troops reported on October 11 that they have advanced to Burhakaba town of Bay region. According to Ali Abdi Garun, district chief of Burhakaba, Somali and AMISOM forces are currently 8km east of the town and will soon liberate the town of al Shabaab presence. Local sources reported that al Shabaab withdrew from Burhakaba town in anticipation of Somali and AMISOM movement.[7]
  • Omar Abdulle Jeefana, district commissioner of Heliwa district in Mogadishu, reportedly survived an assassination attempt on October 12. According to Jeefana, two unidentified assailants threw hand grenades on his vehicle while traveling in northern Mogadishu. One of Jeefana’s bodyguards was wounded in the attack.[8]
  • Local sources reported witnessing a large explosion in Baidoa town in Bay region on October 12. The explosion was reportedly caused by a remote-detonated landmine targeting Somali soldiers. Mahad Abdirahman, police chief in Bay region, reported that security forces responded to the explosion but have not arrested any suspects.[9]
  • AMISOM troops recovered the bodies of four Kenyan and Somali soldiers on October 11 that went missing before the capture of port city Kismayo. According to local sources, the bodies had been buried in a mass grave in the coastal region of Kismayo. Al Shabaab reportedly dragged the bodies through Kismayo before local residents were able to reclaim the bodies and bury them. AMISOM spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir left a message of appreciation to Kismayo residents on Twitter stating, “Kismayo resident gesture appreciated. Cooperation and positive engagement is increasing.”[10]

[1] “Local Residents: The Sound of Gunfire from Medium Weapons in Central Crater,” Aden al Ghad, October 12, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Ibb: Central Prisoners Protest against the Insults of the Soldiers by Setting a Fire,” Ma’rib Press, October 12, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
“Escalating Flames and Smoke from Inside the Central Prison in Ibb,” al Masdar Online, October 11, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “AQAP Releases Biography of Aden Suicide Bomber, Turki al Shahrani,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 11, 2012. Available at SITE.
See the “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 25, 2011,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, July 25, 2011. Available:
[4] “Jowhar Militants Search People’s Mobile Phone Content,” Bar Kulan, October 12, 2012. Available:
[5] “Appointment of New Somalia Prime Minster,” U.S. State Department, October 10, 2012. Available:
[6] “New Somali PM Pledges Competent, Trustworthy Government,” Voice of America, October 11, 2012. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Somali and AMISOM Forces Advance Burhakaba Town,” Raxanreeb Online, October 11, 2012. Available:
[8] “Somali DC Survives Assassination Bid,” Shabelle, October 12, 2012. Available:
[9] “Explosion in Somalia’s Baidoa Town,” Shabelle, October 12, 2012. Available:
[10] “AMISOM Forces Discover Bodies of Somali, Kenyan Soldiers in Kismayo,” Shabelle, October 11, 2012. Available:
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