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: Suspected AAS militants attack 115th Infantry Brigade base in Abyan governorate; Yemeni youth demand military and security restructuring before national dialogue

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab weapons shipment from Yemen intercepted in Puntland; four al Shabaab soldiers defect in Gedo; prominent elder shot and killed in Kismayo; soldiers in Gedo and Jubba ask for compensation; new Somali PM takes office; Somali-American found guilty on terrorism-related charges; naval warships spotted of the coast of Hobyo

Yemen Security Brief

  • Intense clashes broke out in Shaqra city in southern Abyan governorate on October 19 after suspected Ansar al Sharia (AAS) militants attacked the 115th Infantry Brigade base. According to local sources, two suicide car bombers wearing military fatigues and driving a vehicle with military license plates struck the main entrance of the base, killing at least 14 soldiers and injuring 29 more. Following the suicide attack, suspected AAS militants launched further attacks on the base with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and assault rifles. Additional reports indicated that AAS militants attacked by sea and used mortar rounds to target the base. At least 11 suspected AAS militants were killed in the attack.[1]
  • Yemeni youth protested on 60th street in Sana’a on October 19, calling for an immediate restructuring of the military and security forces before the November 5 Yemeni national dialogue. According to local sources, the youth protested under the theme of “restructuring before dialogue” and refused to participate in the national dialogue before Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi addresses the issue.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Four al Shabaab soldiers defected and turned themselves in to Somali troops in the Gedo region on October 18. The four militants decided to leave after a disagreement arose between them and the al Shabaab leader in the area. It is reported that the four defectors brought nearly 90 guns with them when they left.[3]
  • Unknown gunmen shot and killed a prominent elder in the port city of Kismayo on October 18. The two assailants approached the victim while he was sitting on his porch after prayer. The attackers were able to flee the scene and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[4]
  • Colonel Warfa Sheikh Adan with the Somali National Army asked President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on October 19 to pay Somali troops stationed in Gedo and Jubba regions. Col. Adan says Somali soldiers in those regions have not received compensation for their efforts since the Kenyan army stopped paying them nearly seven months ago.[5]
  • New Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon officially assumed his position in a ceremony at Villa Somalia in Mogadishu on October 18. Former Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali was in attendance and gave a speech praising the hard work and progress made during his time in office. [6]
  • The Somali-American man, Mahamad Said Omar, who went to trial on October 3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was found guilty on October 18 for terrorism-related charges. Omar could face up to life in prison.[7]
  • Naval warships and helicopters have been spotted off the coast of the well known pirate den of Hobyo, Mudug Region on October 18 and 19. The nationality of the warships in not known.[8]   

[1] Yemen: Suicide Bombers Wearing Army Fatigues Attack Barracks, Killing 11 Soldiers,” Associated Press, October 19, 2012. Available:
“Deadly Blast Rocks Yemen Military Base,” CNN, October 19, 2012. Available:
“Suspected al Qaeda Attack on Yemen Army Base Kills 26,” Reuters, October 19, 2012. Available:
“14 Soldiers and 12 Insurgents Killed in Battle in Yemen,” New York Times, October 19, 2012. Available:
“Death Toll of Clashes in Yemen’s South Rises to 22,” Xinhua, October 19, 2012. Available:
“Qaeda Car Bombing Kills 15 Yemen Soldiers,” AFP, October 19, 2012. Available:
“Martyred and Injured Fighters from the 115th Brigade Grappling with Terrorist Operation, Killing 8 Terrorists,” 26 September, October 19, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Yemeni Revolution Youth Protest, Refusing Dialogue before the Restructuring of Military and Security,” al Masdar Online, October 19, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Shabaab Fighters Surrender to the Military in Gedo,” Bar Kulan, October 18, 2012. Available:
[4] “A Well-Known Elder Shot Dead in Somalia’s Port City Kismayo,” Shabelle, October 19, 2012. Available:
[5] “Military Officials in Juba Regions Appeal to President Mohamud,” Bar Kulan, October 19, 2012. Available:
[6] “Somali Premier Takes Office,” Shabelle, October 18, 2012. Available:
[7] “Minnesota Man Guilty of Recruiting for Somali Terror Group,” USA Today, October 18, 2012. Available:
[8] “Foreign Warships Spotted Near Hobyo Town,” October 19, 2012. Available:
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