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: Clashes kill at least seven more protesters in Sana’a; Yemeni security forces arrest three al Qaeda suspects in Aden; kidnappers threaten to kill three French hostages; UN human rights office condemns killings

Horn of Africa: Suicide bomber kills three people in Mogadishu; al Shabaab threatens to attack Kenya; al Shabaab conscripts locals in Baidoa; Kenyan police arrest two British nationals; Kenyan cabinet members in Mogadishu to discuss legality of operations; Kenyan forces enter Elwaq

Yemen Security Brief

  • Clashes between Yemeni security forces and anti-government protesters killed at least seven more people and dozens of others in Sana’a. Witnesses reported that Yemeni security forces attacked anti-government protesters as they marched along Zera’ah Street from Tagheer (Change) Square towards the loyalist controlled al Qaa neighborhood where several government buildings are located. Witnesses added that Yemeni security forces fired at thousands of protesters who were briefly trapped in al Olfi Square on Zera'ah Street. There was a second march from Tagheer (Change) Square along Tunis Street but ended peacefully.[1]
  • A security official reported that Yemeni security forces arrested three al Qaeda suspects for possession of explosives and seized mortar shells wrapped in TNT in Aden governorate on October 16. Security forces also seized a large amount of cables, electrical appliances, and other items that were being secretly stored in al Sheikh Othman and Dar Saad districts.[2]
  • The kidnappers of the three French aid workers in Sayun in Hadramawt governorate on May 28 threatened to kill them in five days if their demands are not met, according to a source close to the kidnappers. The source disclosed that the kidnappers’ demands, which the source said have been made known many times, are either money or the release of “detainees” from Yemeni prisons.[3]
  • The United Nations (UN) human rights office condemned the killings of anti-government protesters in Sana’a and Taiz. Spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville said, "We condemn in the strongest terms the reported killing of a number of largely peaceful protestors in Sanaa and Taez as a result of the indiscriminate use of force by Yemeni security forces since Saturday." He added that an investigation will be conducted so that those responsible for the killings will be prosecuted.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A suicide car bomb has killed three people, including the bomber, and wounded six near the Foreign Ministry building.  Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was aimed at the TFG and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).[5]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage said that the group will begin to attack Kenya in response to Kenyan forces invading.   He made the comment that al Shabaab has the capability to “decimate” large Kenyan buildings.  “The Kenyan public must understand that the impetuous decision by their troops to cross the border into Somalia will not be without severe repercussions.  The bloody battles that will ensue as a result of this incursion will most likely disrupt the social equilibrium and imperil the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.”  He also alleged that Kenyan forces shelled civilians during the fighting in Qoqani and around Afmadow.  Rage denied the group’s alleged involvement in the kidnapping of two Spanish aid workers last week.[6]
  • Facing advancing Kenyan forces, al Shabaab militants began conscripting locals to fight for them in Baidoa in the Lower Jubba region.  Al Shabaab leader Adan Ali called for the people to participate in what he termed was a “holy war against aggressors.”  He further said that anyone who does not join al Shabaab’s war against Kenyan forces will be punished.[7]
  • Two British citizens were arrested by Kenyan police on suspicion of having ties with al Shabaab.  The arrest occurred at the border town of Kiunga, north of Lamu, as the two attempted to cross into Somalia.  One of those arrested was of Somali descent and the other was of Pakistani descent.[8]
  • Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Watangula and Defense Minister Mohamed Yussuf Hajji are in Mogadishu to discuss with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) the legality of the military operations being conducted in the country’s south against al Shabaab. Adam Alahi Diriye, a Somali member of parliament, endorsed Kenya’s military operation in southern Somalia.  He said that following the kidnappings over the past two months, Kenya has the right to secure its border and fight al Shabaab.[9]
  • Kenyan troops entered the town of Elwaq backed by armored vehicle and helicopters.  Colonel Ahmed Mohamoud Abdi, spokesman for the Somali forces in the area, confirmed the presence of Kenyan troops and said that the move by Kenya is aimed at battling al Shabaab militant group.[10]

[1]Hammoud Mounassa “At least seven shot dead in Sanaa protests,” AFP, October 18, 2011. Available:
[3] Nasser Arrabyee, “Kidnappers threaten to kill French hostages in Yemen,” Yemen Observer, October 17, 2011. Available:
[4] “UN rights office condemns Yemen killings,” AFP, October 18, 2011. Available:
[5] “Blast Near Somali Foreign Ministry Kills at Least 3,” VOA, October 18, 2011. Available:
[6] “Al shabaab threatens to attack Kenya unless their forces leave Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, October 17, 2011. Available:
[7] “Al-Shabaab compel locals in Baidoa to join their fight against Kenyan troops in Lower Juba,” Radio Bar-Kulan, October 18, 2011.  Available:
[8] “Kenya arrests two Britons at Somali border,” Radio Bar-Kulan, October 18, 2011. Available:
[9] “Kenyan ministers arrive in Mogadishu for ‘anti-Al-Shabaab drive,’” Radio Bar-Kulan, October 18, 2011. Available: “Somali parliament member welcomes Kenyan military operation,” Mareeg Online, October 18, 2011. Available:
[10] “Kenyan forces pour into Elwak town of southern Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, October 18, 2011. Available:
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