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 MiG-21 aircraft crashes shortly after takeoff from al Anad airbase; Yemeni criminal courts sentence seven suspected al Qaeda members; Defense Minister Ahmed inspects 119th Infantry Brigade in Abyan governorate; residents block route between al Hudaydah and Dhamar governorates; Sabbeiha tribesmen release kidnapped truck drivers; Yemeni political security officer is wounded in attack in Hadramawt governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab ambushes Somali army bases in Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacks Somali army bases in Kismayo; unknown gunmen kill one in Kismayo; Somali and AMISOM forces move toward Jilib, Middle Jubba region; IED hits Somali army truck in Shalambood, Lower Shabelle region; unknown gunmen kill one, injure five, in Galkayo, Mudug region; police carry out searched in Baidoa, Bay region; al Shabaab ambushes Somali army base outside Baidoa, Bay region; Somali troops carry out searches in Beledweyne, Hiraan region;  al Shabaab ambushes Bali Doogle airport outside Afgoi; two blasts injure one in Nairobi, Kenya; Kenya marks anniversary of entering Somalia; al Shabaab releases six communiqués

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Yemeni MiG-21 aircraft crashed near al Anad airbase in southwestern Yemen on October 15. According to Yemeni government sources, the MiG-21 aircraft crashed shortly after taking off for a training mission from al Anad airbase. The crash killed pilot instructor Col. Atiq al Akhali and wounded Sidqi al Manari, a student pilot.[1]
  • Yemeni criminal courts delivered prison sentences for seven individuals suspected of being members of al Qaeda on October 15. The individuals’ prison sentences ranged from one year to five years. According to a Yemeni government source, the seven individuals are suspected of carrying out attacks on Yemeni security forces, government property, foreign tourists, and embassies.[2]
  • Yemeni Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed inspected the 119th Infantry Brigade in Abyan governorate on October 15. Defense Minister Ahmed was joined by Abyan governor Jamal Nasser al Aqel and commander of the Southern Military District Nasser Abdu Rabbu al Taheri during the inspection. During the inspection, Defense Minister Ahmed stated that the current stage of the military is to restore order and enforce laws against terrorism. [3]
  • Residents in the Rabu’ Bani Khouli region blocked a main road connecting al Hudaydah and Dhamar governorates on October 15. According to local sources, the residents blocked the road in protest of the deteriorating security situation in Raymah governorate.[4]
  • Yemeni tribesmen from the Sabbeiha tribe released eight truck drivers that they kidnapped in southwestern Lahij governorate on October 8. According to local sources, members of the Sabbeiha tribe were demanding the release of fellow tribesmen from government imprisonment. It is unclear if the Yemeni government met their request in order to free the kidnapped truck drivers.[5]
  • Saleh Bathrees, a Yemeni Political Security Organization (PSO) officer, was seriously wounded in an attack in eastern Hadramawt governorate on October 13. According to local sources, unidentified gunmen opened fire on Saleh Bathrees after an evening prayer. He is currently in critical condition.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked Somali National Army (SNA) bases in Mogadishu on October 14. The militants used rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) to target bases in the Hash neighborhood and Yaqshid district. Casualties from the two incidents are not yet known.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked SNA bases in Kismayo on October 15. Al Shabaab soldiers threw grenades at several bases across the city, injuring many, although exact casualty figures are not known.[8]
  • Unknown gunmen shot and killed a civilian in the port city of Kismayo on October 13. The reason for the attack is unknown, and no one has yet been arrested.[9]
  • Somali and AMISOM forces are moving toward Jilib, Middle Jubba region, one of al Shabaab’s last strongholds.  Jilib, located in between Kismayo and Mogadishu, is the most populous town in Middle Jubba. Reports say residents in the town are leaving in anticipation of a battle.[10]
  • A roadside bomb struck an SNA vehicle in the recently captured town of Shalambood, Lower Shabelle region on October 14. Several were killed and many were injured when the IED tore apart the truck, but exact casualties are not known. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and no arrests have been made.[11]
  • Unknown gunmen fired upon a civilian bus near Galkayo, Mudug region on October 15, killing one civilian and injuring five. The incident occurred after the bus driver failed to pay an illegal tax to the gunmen at a checkpoint outside Galkayo.[12]
  • Following an IED explosion in Baidoa, Bay region on October 12, Somali police carried out searches in the city. Police hoped to root out any other al Shabaab militants hiding in Baidoa.[13]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed a SNA base outside Baidoa, Bay region on October 13. The Somali soldiers were able to repel the attackers killing two and injuring several more. Al Shabaab leaders have not yet spoken about the incident.[14]
  • Somali forces carried out security operations in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on October 13. Somali army officials are hoping the security operations will decrease the number of crimes that have taken place in the town over the past couple of weeks. [15]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed the recently captured Bali Doogle airport outside Afgoi on October 13. The fight lasted several hours during which both sides used heavy artillery. Four combatants from both sides were killed in the skirmish.[16]
  • Two blasts in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on October 12 injured one police officer. Investigators believe the first explosion, which went off in a busy business district, was supposed to lure onlookers, while the second was supposed to kill. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.[17]
  • The Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) marked its first anniversary of entering Somalia. A series of kidnappings in the country damaged the tourist industry and pushed the Kenyan government to invade Somalia to fight al Shabaab. Kenya launched Operation Linda Nchi (protect the country) on October 15 of last year. KDF spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir lauded the capture of Kismayo but said nothing of when Kenya would leave its neighboring country.[18]
  • Al Shabaab released six communiqués on October 11, claiming responsibility for the murder of a government official, several police officers and a spy operating in the Banadir region. Additionally, al Shabaab asked the Somali people to repel the foreign crusaders and said they were going to crackdown on highway bandits in Lower Shabelle region.[19]  

“MiG-21 aircraft crashes after taking off in a training mission at al Anad airbase,” 26 September, October 15, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Seven Imprisoned for Their Involvement in al Qaeda from One Year to Five Years, Pardoned Four,” 26 September, October 15, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Defense Minister Inspects 119th Infantry Brigade in Abyan Governorate,” SABA News, October 15, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Raymah: Protestors Cut Off Dhamar al Hudaydah Route and Burn Tires in the Main Road,” Ma’reb Press, October 14, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Yemeni Tribesmen Free Eight Truck Drivers,” Reuters, October 13, 2012. Available:
[6] “Officer in PSO Injured in Gunshots from Unidentified Gunmen,” al Watan, October 13, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Al Shabaab Attacks Somali Government Troops in Mogadishu,” Shabelle, October 15, 2012. Available:
[8] “Somali Army Bases in Kismayo Came Under Attacks,” Shabelle, October 15, 2012. Available:
[9] “A Civilian Shot Dead in Somalia’s Port City of Kismayo,” Shabelle, October 14, 2012. Available:
[10] “Allied Forces in Somalia Move Closer to Another Rebel-Held Town,” Shabelle, October 14, 2012. Available:
[11] “Roadside Blast Hits Somali Forces in Lower Shabelle Region,” Shabelle, October 14, 2012. Available:
[12] “Gunmen Open Fire on Civilian Bus in Central Somalia, Kill One,” Shabelle, October 15, 2012. Available:
[13] “Somali Police Arrest Dozens in Baidoa Cracksown,” Shabelle, October 12, 2012. Available:
[14] “Two Dead as Somali and Al Shabaab Battle Near Baidoa,” Shabelle, October 14, 2012. Available:
[15] “Government Forces Carry Out Security Operations in Central Somalia,” Shabelle, October 13, 2012. Available:
[16] “Fighting Flare Up In Balli Doogle Airbase Outside Mogadishu, 4 Killed,” Shabelle, October 13, 2012. Available:
[17] “Twin Blasts Shake Kenyan Capital Nairobi,” BBC, October 12, 2012. Available:
[18] “Kenya Army Marks First Anniversary in Somalia,” Daily Monitor, October 15, 2012. Available:
[19] “Shabaab Threatens Anti-Robber Operations, Claims Attacks,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 12, 2012. Available at SITE.
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