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: Security forces in Aden thwart AQAP attempt to smuggle Africans into Saudi Arabia; al Houthi rebels convert schools to prisons in Hajjah governorate; Yemeni soldier shot dead in al Dhaleh governorate; PRC forces protest and block roads leading to Jaar city; Yemeni soldiers from 131st Infantry Brigade seize truck carrying fertilizer in Aden governorate; violent clashes break out between two unidentified parties in Aden governorate; security forces clash with protesters attempting to storm Sabafon company in al Mukalla

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab threatens to attack UK; al Shabaab attacks Ugandan soldiers traveling from Bali Doogle, Lower Shabelle region to Baidoa, Bay region; three al Shabaab suspects are paraded before the media in Mogadishu; an explosion in Las Anod, Sool region injures two; al Shabaab releases female hostage in Buulobarde, Hiraan region; NATO troops spotted in El Bur, Galgudud region; Italian foreign minister visits Somalia; U.S. pledged $58 million to Horn of Africa countries

Yemen Security Brief

  • A high-level security source in Aden governorate reported on October 23 that security forces have thwarted a plan by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to smuggle 23 Africans into Saudi Arabia. The high-level security source added that the 23 Africans received training in Abyan governorate and were being monitored by Yemeni intelligence. Security forces reported that there were 15 Somalis, 3 Kenyans, and five Europeans of Somali descent in the group.[1]
  • A report by a human rights organization on October 21 stated that al Houthi rebels are arresting religious preachers and converting schools to prisons in northern Hajjah governorate. Local sources confirmed that several schools are now being used to imprison civilians.[2]
  • Unidentified assailants shot dead a Yemeni soldier in al Dhaleh governorate on October 23. Local sources reported that the Yemeni soldier, identified as Jameel al Thahebi, was riding a motorcycle when he was killed. A second unidentified individual was also killed in the attack.[3]
  • Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) forces blocked roads at the entrance of Jaar city in southern Abyan governorate on October 23. Local sources reported that PRC forces are protesting against Abyan governor Jamal al Aqel’s decision to appoint 40 members to government payroll positions. PRC forces in Jaar later removed the blockade; however, they stated they will continue protesting until PRC forces are compensated for removing al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) from southern Yemen.[4]
  • Yemeni soldiers from the 131st Infantry Brigade seized a truck carrying fertilizer used for making explosives in Aden governorate. Local sources reported the fertilizer was secured in Saudi packaging and placed in plastic bags that are commonly used for making explosive devices.[5]
  • Violent clashes broke out between two unidentified parties in southern Aden governorate on October 22. Local sources reported that the clashes were a result of land disputes. Two civilians were killed and four more were wounded in the clashes. Security forces reported on October 23 that they have not yet intervened in the fighting.[6]
  • Protesters in al Dis city near al Mukalla capital in Hadramawt governorate attempted to storm the Sabafon telecommunications company on October 22. Security forces clashed with the protesters, leading to the injury of three civilians. Local sources reported that the clashes were sparked after security forces arrested a local resident of the city. The protesters also managed to block a major road running through the city.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Somali terrorist organization al Shabaab has issued a warning to the United Kingdom via its Twitter account, threatening to carry out the worst Islamist terrorist attack ever on UK soil. The threat is a response to the recent UK extradition of Somali terrorist Abu Hamza to the US, and for generally fighting a war on Islam. One tweet from the group said, “The nightmare that surreptitiously looms on British shores is bound to eclipse the horrors of 7/7 and 21/7 combined," referring to a series of suicide bombings in London that claimed 56 lives.[8]
  • Al Shabaab soldiers attacked a Ugandan convoy moving from Bali Doogle airport, Lower Shabelle region, to Baidoa, Bay region on October 18. Al Shabaab militants detonated a roadside IED killing four Ugandan soldiers working under AMISOM. Bali Doogle was recently taken by AMISOM troops on October 13.[9]
  • Three suspected al Shabaab militants were paraded in front of reporters in Mogadishu on October 23. One of the suspects is accused of killing two police officers and one civilian. A second suspect is accused of shooting and killing a police officer in the Bakara market in Mogadishu last week. The final suspect, a woman, is accused of being a member of al Shabaab and was supposedly married to the suicide bomber who blew himself up at the presidential palace last month.[10]
  • An explosion in the Las Anod, Sool region injured two civilians on October 23. It is unclear whether the explosion was caused by an IED or a hand grenade. One suspect has been arrested but the reason behind the attack in not known.[11]
  • Elders in the town of Buulobarde, Hiraan region, were able to secure the release of a woman kidnapped by al Shabaab militants two weeks ago. The woman was on her way from Beledweyne, Hiraan region, to Mogadishu to receive medical treatment. Due to her medical condition, the woman was in a coma when she was kidnapped by the al Shabaab troops.[12]
  • Residents have seen NATO troops in El Bur, Galgadud region on October 23. The soldiers are supposedly searching for pirates in El Bur, Hobyo, and Haradere. Residents in the area have reported hundreds of pirates fleeing their residences.[13]
  • Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi arrived in Mogadishu on October 23 and met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon. During the meeting the leaders discussed how to regain and strengthen the relationship between the two countries.[14]
  • The United States has vowed to give $58 million to countries in the Horn of Africa in order to aid those nine million people affected by famine, flooding and conflict. UN aid agencies have asked for a total of $1 billion in order to properly help the countries. Since 2011, the U.S. has given $1.3 billion in aid to the Horn of Africa countries.[15] 


[1] “Saudi Newspaper: Security in Aden Thwarts al Qaeda Infiltration from Africa to Saudi,” Aden al Ghad, October 23, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Houthi Fighters Turn Schools to Custodies,” al Sahwa, October 22, 2012. Available:
[3] “2 Killed, One of Them a Soldier in downtown al Dhaleh,” Barakish, October 23, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Escalating Tensions and Popular Committees Close Roads in Jaar,” Barakish, October 23, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Truck Carrying Fertilizer Used for Making Explosives is Seized in Aden,” al Masdar Online, October 22, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Two Killed and Four Wounded in Evening Clashes in Land Dispute in Aden,” Aden al Ghad, October 23, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Three Wounded in an Attempt of Protesters to Storm Branch of Sabafon in al Mukalla,” Yemen Press, October 22, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Somali Terrorist al Shabaab Threaten 7/7 Style Attack on UK,” The Week, October 23, 2012. Available:
“Al Shabaab Threatens Britain,” Raxanreeb, October 23, 2012. Available:
[9] “Four UPDF Soldiers Killed in Somalia,” Shabelle, October 23, 2012. Available:
[10] Police Display Alleged Militants in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, October 23, 2012. Available:
[11] “Two Injured in Las Anod Explosion, Northern Somalia,” Bar Kulan, October 23, 2012. Available:
[12] “Elders Secure Release of Woman Held by Al Shabaab,” Bar Kulan, October 23, 2012. Available:
[13] “Residents of Central Somalia Reportedly Spot NATO Soldiers,” Jowhar, October 23, 2012. Available:
[14] “Italian Foreign Minister Visits to Somalia,” Shabelle, October 23, 2012. Available:
[15] "US Pledges More Aid to Horn of Africa,” VOA News, October 22, 2012. Available:
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