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: Reported U.S. targeted airstrike kills nine Ansar al Sharia militants in Jaar city; al Malahem Foundation releases video of kidnapped Saudi diplomat; accidental discharge of rockets from First Armored Division kill at least four individuals in Sana’a; Sons of Yemen League condemns shooting of Southern Movement activists in Shabwah governorate; Defense Minister Ahmed praises victories of Southern Military District against terrorist groups in the south

Horn of Africa: Government official killed in Mogadishu; fight between Somali government forces broke out in Lambar Konton, Lower Shabelle region; EAPPCO meeting began in Kampala Uganda; government troops conduct searches in Afgoi

Yemen Security Brief

  • A reported U.S. targeted airstrike killed at least nine suspected Ansar al Sharia (AAS) militants outside of Jaar city in southern Abyan governorate on October 18. According to local sources, at least three strikes hit a group of AAS militants gathering at a farmhouse west of Jaar. Among the dead was AAS regional leader in Jaar, Nader al Shaddadi. Local sources added that two of the dead bodies were wearing suicide vests, hinting that a suicide attack may have been impending. In a different account, Yemeni government website 26 September stated on October 18 that soldiers from the 119th Infantry Brigade surrounded the AAS militants in the Sakin wu ‘Ays region of Jaar. Security forces then raided the location, killing at least nine suspected AAS militants. Local residents in Jaar gathered at a Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) headquarters to celebrate the death of Nader al Shaddadi.[1]
  • Al Malahem Foundation, the media arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), released a video of kidnapped Saudi diplomat Abdullah al Khalidi on October 17. Abdullah al Khalidi was kidnapped in southern Aden governorate on March 28, 2012. In the video, Khalidi asks the Saudi government to meet AQAP’s demands in order to secure his release. Khalidi said in the video, “I am a Saudi citizen who served the Saudi government in more than one place and more than one location. Don’t I deserve to be released for some women and some sheikhs?”[2]
  • An unidentified security source in the Yemeni Ministry of Defense reported that the multiple explosions heard in Sana’a capital on October 18 were caused by an accidental discharge of rockets at a weapons depot at the First Armored Division’s base. According to local sources, the rockets fired from a Katyusha artillery platform killed four individuals and wounded two others. Yemeni explosive ordnance disposal teams responded to local neighborhoods to remove unsecured rockets from the area.[3]
  • A division of the Sons of Yemen League (RAY) condemned the shooting of Southern Movement activists in Ataq city, the capital of Shabwah governorate, on October 17. According to local sources, unidentified armed gunmen shot at Southern Movement activists in the streets of Ataq, resulting in five individuals being wounded.[4]
  • Yemeni Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed visited a 31st Armored Brigade base in southern Yemen on October 18. During a speech at the base, Defense Minister Ahmed praised the Southern Military District’s victories against terrorist groups in the south.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A village chief in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district administration was killed in Mogadishu on October 17. Three unknown gunmen shot the government official when he was leaving his evening prayer. The assailants were able to flee the scene and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.[6]
  • A fight broke out in the town of Lambar Konton, Lower Shabelle region when Somali government forces attempted to break down a roadblock set up by other government troops. The firefight last for several hours and many people were injured but exact casualty figures are not known.[7]
  • The 14th East Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPPCO) meeting started on October 17 in Kampala, Uganda. EAPPCO is a gathering of over 1,000 security officials and experts from twelve East African countries. On the agenda was a discussion on the role of ideology in policing and a talk on the need for different countries to share information on al Shabaab linked suspects found in separate nations.[8]
  • Somali government troops conducts searches in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region on October 17. Forces in the area arrested twelve people suspected of being al Shabaab members or robbers. The searches are intended to increase security in the large Somali city.[9]  

[1] “Qaeda Branch Leader Said to Be Among Dead in Yemen Drone Strike,” New York Times, October 18, 2012. Available:
“Yemen: Suspected U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 7 Militants,” USA Today, October 18, 2012. Available:
“Drone Strike in South Yemen Kills 7 Qaeda Suspects,” AFP, October 18, 2012. Available:
“Drone Kills Nine near Formerly Rebel-Occupied Yemen Town-Sources,” Reuters, October 18, 2012. Available:
[2] “AQAP Releases Third Video Appeal from Captured Saudi Diplomat,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 17, 2012. Available at SITE.
[3] “Explosions in Sana’a were Caused by an Accident at a First Armored Division Weapons Depot,” 26 September, October 18, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
“First Armored Division Fire, Accident or Conspiracy,” Yemen Observer, October 18, 2012. Available:
[4] “RAY Party Condemns Attack on al Hiraak Youth in Shabwah,” al Watan, October 17, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
“Four Wounded from al Hiraak Supporters by Security Gunfire in Shabwah,” al Watan, October 17, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Defense Minister Praises Victories of Fighters of Southern Military Region against Terrorist Groups,” SABA, October 18, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Gunmen Assassinate Local Official in Mogadishu, Shabelle, October 18, 2012. Available:
“Government Official Killed in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, October 18, 2012. Available:
[7] “Government Forces Exchange Gunfire in Lower Shabelle Province,” Shabelle, October 18, 2012. Available:
[8] “Regional Police Summit Opens in Kampala,” Shabelle, October 18, 2012. Available:
[9] “Somalia’s Government Forces Conduct Security Operation in Afgoi District,” AMISOM, October 17, 2012. Available:
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