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: Car bomb kills anti-terror head in Aden; Yemeni vice president says dialogue is solution to ending conflict

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab ambushes Kenyan soldiers in Somalia; Kenyan paramilitary vehicle hit by roadside bomb near Garissa; Kenyan forces advance on Burgabo; aid group says kidnapped aid workers near Hobyo; TFG Joint Security Council meets in Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants turn school into militant hospital; local al Shabaab commander disputes decision to allow qat sales in Jowhar  

Yemen Security Brief  

  • A Yemeni security official reported that a car bomb killed the head of the anti-terrorism police force for Abyan governorate, Ali al Hajji, in Aden. The bomb blast also wounded three others.[1]  
  • European Union (EU) Ambassador to Yemen, Michele Cervone d’Urso, met with Yemeni Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi, in Sana’a, on Wednesday to discuss the conflict there. D’Urso stressed the eagerness of EU ministers to ending the conflict quickly adding, “Twenty four million Yemenis cannot wait indefinitely for an end to the crisis by a comprehensive national consensus.” Hadi responded with saying that the only way to ending the conflict is through dialogue in order “to reach a national solution” that is based on the guidelines set forth by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative and in agreement with the standards set forth by the international community. Hadi also said that military force is not a solution to ending the conflict and that it will only aggravate the crisis.[2]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief  

  • An estimated 45 al Shabaab militants ambushed Kenyan forces in Somalia between Taabta and Qoqani villages. Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said that nine al Shabaab militants were killed and two Kenyan soldiered injured in the fight, which locals said lasted half an hour.  Al Shabaab claimed that twenty Kenyan troops were killed. The Kenyan defense ministry reported airstrikes on Anoole that targeted an al Shabaab training camp and logistics hub. Kenyan troops will advance on Burahache.[3]  
  • A vehicle carrying members of Kenya’s paramilitary force, the General Service Unit, was hit by a roadside bomb, wounding three passengers.  The attack happened near the town of Garissa on the road to Dadaab refugee camp.  A police source said, “The vehicle in which the officers were travelling was extensively damaged and partly burned after being hit by what we suspect might either be a landmine, or a bomb.”[4]  
  • Kenyan forces are preparing to assault the town of Burgabo, 120 kilometers from Kismayo; Kenyan troops are seven kilometers from the town.  The town is planned to be used as a staging area to launch an attack on Kismayo.  Locals report seeing dozens of al Shabaab fighters heading for the town of Woravole to block the advance of the Kenyan troops to Afmadow.  Al Shabaab has also sent fighters to the Bajuni Islands to block an assault from the sea.[5]  
  • The Danish Refugee Council named American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted as the two aid workers kidnapped in Galkayo on October 25.  Elders said that the pair is being held for ransom by a pirate gang in Dabagalo village near Hobyo in Mudug region.[6]
  • The Joint Security Council of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) met to discuss the security of Somalia.  After the meeting, members of the council commented that progress has been made in the security of Somalia and they recognized the major territorial gains made by TFG forces, supported by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and allied and “international partners.”  Council members also expressed appreciation to the governments of Burundi and Uganda for their contributions to AMISOM.[7]  
  • Al Shabaab militants took control of Kurtunwarey primary school, which housed people displaced by the famine.  The displaced persons were evicted, and the school was turned into a hospital to be used to treat wounded al Shabaab militants from Mogadishu.[8]  
  • A local al Shabaab commander, Abu Qamsa, disputed the decision to allow the sale of qat in Jowhar in Middle Shabelle region by al Shabaab’s newly appointed governor of the region, Yussuf Sheikh Isse.  Locals report that Abu Qamsa has vowed not to allow qat sales and that the dispute almost resulted in a gun battle between the two leaders’ fighters.[9]  

[1] “Car Bomb Kills Anti-Terror Chief in South Yemen,” AP, October 28, 2011. Available:
[2]“EU keen to find political solution to Yemeni crisis, diplomat says,” SABA News Agency, October 26, 2011. Available:
[3] “Kenyans in first al-Shabab battle in Somalia,” BBC, October 28, 2011. Available:
Tom Odula, “Kenya troops fight Somali militants; 9 said killed,” AP, October 27, 2011. Available:
[4] Noor Ali, “Security forces vehicle hit in northern Kenya, 3 wounded,” Reuters, October 28, 2011. Available:
[5] Mark Agutu, “Push to take Kismayu ‘is on course,’” Daily Nation, October 27, 2011. Available:
[6] “Kidnapped aid workers held by Somali pirate gang,” AFP, October 27, 2011. Available:
“Aid group names American, Dane kidnapped in Somalia,” CNN, October 27, 2011. Available:
[7] “JSC meet in Mogadishu and address security of the capital,” SONNA, October 27, 2011. Available:
[8] “Al-Shabaab converts Kurtunwarey School into militant hospital,” Radio Bar-Kulan, October 28, 2011. Available:
[9] “Rebel leaders differ on lifting the ban on Khat in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle,” Radio Bar-Kulan, October 28, 2011. Available:
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