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: U.S. targeted airstrike kills at least five suspected AQAP operatives in Shabwah governorate; Yemeni security forces arrest two suspected AQAP operatives in Aden governorate; two explosions wound two Yemeni soldiers in Aden governorate; Yemeni EOD teams disarm explosive device in Sana’a; President Hadi reports on Iranian spy networks in Yemen; Yemeni security forces arrest three African smugglers in northern Sa’ada governorate

Horn of Africa: AMISOM troops carry out security operations in Kismayo; al Shabaab praises those who attacked the American embassy in Libya and call for similar action elsewhere; five detonators found in Beledweyne; ten arrested in Baidoa with links to targeted killings; Kenyan police issue warning about female suicide bombers; British delegation arrives in Mogadishu; MPs in southern Somalia ask Kenyan troops to leave the country

Yemen Security Brief

  • A U.S. targeted airstrike killed at least five suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives in al Said district of Shabwah governorate on October 4. According to local sources, the targeted individuals were heavily armed and carrying explosive devices. An unidentified Yemeni security official added that more than one vehicle was targeted in the airstrike and at least three wounded AQAP operatives fled the scene after the attack.[1]
  • Yemeni security forces arrested two suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives at al Alam checkpoint in southern Aden governorate on October 4. According to Yemeni security sources, the two arrested individuals were identified as Amar al Maysari and Ali al Jahafi. The two arrested individuals were reportedly traveling from Abyan governorate to Aden governorate.[2]
  • Two explosions at a government building in al Mualla district of southern Aden governorate wounded two Yemeni soldiers on October 4. An unidentified Yemeni security official reported that Yemeni explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams successfully disarmed a third explosion device. The suspected assailants fled the scene before Yemeni security forces arrived.[3]
  • Yemeni explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams disarmed an explosive device in the Bab al Yemen region of Sana’a on October 3. Yemeni government officials reported that the explosive device weighed roughly 3lbs and was hidden under a tree in front of the Bab al Yemen police station.[4]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi reported on September 29 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. that six Iranian spy networks have been discovered in Yemen. According to President Hadi, Iran is attempting to sabotage the government transition process in Yemen through the use of media and political figures.[5]
  • Yemeni security forces arrested three African smugglers in al Jahari district of northern Sa’ada governorate on October 3. The three suspected African smugglers were reportedly blackmailing other Africans attempting to enter Saudi Arabia illegally.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • After a series of bombings on October 2 that killed two and injured many more, AMISOM troops swept the city of Kismayo for more undetonated explosives on October 3. Soldiers have searched the airport, seaport, and other government buildings used as al Shabaab bases. In addition to the bomb sweep, AMISOM troops have arrested 100 people in Kismayo suspected of having ties to the militant group al Shabaab. Security operations continue on October 4, as AMISOM attempts to stabilize the city.[7]
  • The Somali Islamist group al Shabaab released an audio message on October 3, 2012, in which spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, praised the actions of those in Libya who stormed the embassy and killed Ambassador John Christopher Stevens. Rage explained that if governments had not gotten in the way, the incident would have repeated itself in other Arab countries. Rage calls on supporters “to follow the example of the knights of Libya in order to cut off every hand that tries to get our prophet.”[8]
  • Ethiopian forces in Beledweyne in Hiraan region found and confiscated five suicide bomb detonators on October 4. The detonators were soon turned over to the Somali National Army.[9]
  • Ten people were arrested in Baidoa in Bay region on October 4 following a series of killings that have taken place over the past several days. Police were tipped off by local residents and raided the hideouts where the suspects were staying. The investigations into the recent murders are still ongoing.[10]
  • Kenyan police issued a warning on October 4 to watch out for female suicide bombers, as al Shabaab has been training them and has now sent them into the field. Kenyan police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said that following the fall of Kismayo, the rebels are bitter and more likely to attack.[11]
  • A British delegation led by International Development Secretary Justine Greening, arrived in Mogadishu on October 3. Greening met with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and held a press conference at the presidential palace Villa Somalia telling the Somali people that the United Kingdom offers political and economic support to the country.[12]
  • Ministers of parliament in southern Somalia have condemned Kenya’s incursion into Somalia and has asked that Kenya leave its neighbor country. The MPs insist that Kenya stay out of Somali affairs in order to avoid further civilian casualties. Kenyan troops are currently operating in Somalia under the AMISOM mandate.[13]  

[1] “Four Qaeda Militants Killed in U.S. Drone Strike,” Reuters, October 4, 2012. Available:
“Five Killed in Airstrike in Said District of Shabwah Governorate,” Aden al Ghad, October 4, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemen Officials Say Suspected US Drone Strikes 2 Cars in the South, Kills 5 al Qaeda Militants,” Washington Post, October 4, 2012. Available:
[2] “Two AQAP Arrested in al Alam and Two Soldiers Wounded in Mallah,” 26 September, October 4, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Two Soldiers Wounded in Yemen Government Building Bomb Attack,” Reuters, October 4, 2012. Available:
“Two AQAP Arrested in al Alam and Two Soldiers Wounded in Mallah,” 26 September, October 4, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Terrorist Attack Thwarted in Sana’a,” SABA News, October 3, 2012. Available:
[5] “Yemen President Reveals Six Espionage Networks Working for Iran,” Yemen Observer, October 4, 2012. Available:
[6] “Yemen Police Arrests African Smugglers,” Yemen Observer, October 3, 2012. Available:
[7] “African Troops Comb Kismayu fro Bombs After Somali Rebel Retreat,” Reuters, October 3, 2012. Available:
“Massive Security Operations in Kismayo After Tuesday’s Bombings,” Shabelle, October 4, 2012. Available:
“The Allied Forces Arrested 100 Al Shabaab Suspects in Kismayo,” Shabelle, October 3, 2012. Available:
[8] “Shabaab Spokesman Lauds Benghazi as Model in Defending Prophet,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 3, 2012. Available at SITE.
[9] Somali Government Says It Foiled Suicide Attacks in Beledweyne,” Shabelle, October 4, 2012.
[10] “Ten Arrested in Baidoa,” Bar Kulan, October 4, 2012. Available:
[11] “Kenyan Police Warn of Shabaab Female Suicide Bombers,” Bar Kulan, October 4, 2012. Available:
[12] “UK International Development Secretary Arrives in Mogadishu,” Shabelle, October 3, 2012. Available:
[13] “MP’s and Politicians Condemn Kenyan’s Intervention in Somalia,” Shabelle, October 4, 2012. Available:
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