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: Yemen claims to have regained control of Zinjibar; gunmen assassinate senior Yemeni intelligence officer in Aden; Saleh authorizes vice president to negotiate power transfer with opposition; al Shabaab militants reportedly fight in south Yemen

Horn of Africa: British tourists killed, captured in Kenya; clan militias fight for territory; al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna battle for Elwaq; assassination attempt in Guriel; explosion kills four people in Mogadishu; al Shabaab arrests fighting herders and farmers

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni government claimed that military forces recaptured Zinjibar from the al Qaeda-linked militant group Ansar al Sharia. Conflicting reports state that the army has only secured the eastern part of the city. Militants are said to have fled to the mountains of Hatat and to Kod during the takeover. Yemeni Defense Minister General Mohammed Nasser Ahmed reported that 230 soldiers were killed in the latest offensive in Zinjibar. The government reports that 30 militants were killed. A roadside bomb killed two Yemeni soldiers and wounded four others in the eastern part of Zinjibar on September 11.[1]
  • Unidentified gunmen assassinated Yemeni Lieutenant Colonel Ali Ahmed Abd Rabbo, a senior intelligence officer, in Aden on September 10. A security official reported that a protest stopped the car and that gunmen immediately opened fire. In a village west of Aden, army Colonel Naji Aitha survived an apparent assassination attempt when militants detonated explosives outside his home on September 11.[2]
  • President Ali Abdullah Saleh issued a presidential decree authorizing Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi to negotiate the transition of power and to sign the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) transition deal.[3]
  • A Somali diplomat, Hussein Hajji Ahmed, reported that  al Shabaab militants are fighting alongside militants in south Yemen. Ahmed added that Yemen has seen an increase in foreign fighters from Somalia since al Shabaab announced its withdrawal from Mogadishu.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali gunmen attacked a British couple near the Somali border. Just after midnight on the morning of September 11, a boatload of Somali gunmen attacked the Kiwayu Safari Village, a beach resort in Kenya.  The attack resulted in the death of David Tebbutt and the abduction of his wife, Judith, who were the only guests at the resort.  The gunmen fled to Ras Kamboni.  No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[5]
  • The New York Times reports that various clan militias and other armed groups are fighting al Shabaab and each other for territory.  The groups are filling a power vacuum left by al Shabaab in Mogadishu, which the weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has been unable to fill. Outside of the Mogadishu, other armed factions have carved off territories.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked the pro-TFG militia-controlled town of Elwaq initially forcing the militia forces to withdraw from the town.  Al Shabaab’s commander in Gedo region, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abdullahi Abdurahman reported that al Shabaab militants had attacked the town from two directions.  Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a forces then counter-attacked, retaking control.  Al Shabaab’s military spokesman Sheikh Abdi Aziz Abu Mus’ab said that the fighting had claimed the lives of 70 soldiers; local sources say that at least 14 were killed and as many as 50 more injured.[7]
  • The vehicle of Guriel District Commissioner Osman Ise Nor was targeted by a roadside bomb in Guriel in the Galgudud region.  While the commissioner was unharmed, two bodyguards were killed.[8]
  • A bomb went off in the Yaqshid district of Mogadishu, killing four people and injuring at least ten others.  The neighborhood was recently held by al Shabaab militants.[9]
  • A gunfight broke out between herders and farmers over the usage of land in Afgoi, wounding eight people.  Al Shabaab militants arrived on the scene to resolve the issue and took five people into custody.[10]


[1] “2 Yemen Soldiers Killed in al-Qaida Clashes,” AP, September 11, 2011. Available:
“Yemeni Army Tightens Hold on Southern City of Zinjibar,” The National, September 12, 2011. Available:
“Yemeni Army Tightens Hold on Southern City,” Reuters, September 12, 2011. Available:
“230 Soldiers, 30 Al Qaeda Leaders Killed in Yemen,” Yemen Observer, September 12, 2011. Available:
[2] “Yemen Intelligence Officer Gunned Down in Aden,” AFP, September 12, 2011. Available:
[3] “Yemen’s Saleh Agrees Power Transfer Talks,” AFP, September 12, 2011. Available:
[4] “Al Shabaab Fighting Alongside Al Qaeda in Yemen,” Shabelle Media Network, September 12, 2011. Available:
[5] Jeffrey Gettleman, “Somali Gunmen Attack British Tourists in Kenya,” New York Times, September 11, 2011. Available:
“Paradise Resort 'In Dangerous Territory',” Sky News, September 12, 2011. Available:
[6] Jeffrey Gettleman, “As an Enemy Retreats, Clans Carve Up Somalia,” The New York Times, September 9, 2011. Available:
[7] “Shabab seizes Elwak district today.” Mareeg Online, September 11, 2011. Available:
Ibrahim Mohamed, “Somali Troops Retake Town After Rebel Raid,” Reuters, September 12, 2011. Available:
“Al shabaab vacates southern Somalia town after taking over,” Mareeg Online, September 11, 2011. Available:
[8] “Explosion kills 2 men in central Somalia,” Mareeg Online, September 12, 2011. Available:
[9] “Four killed, 10 injured in Mogadishu bomb blast,” Shabelle Media Network, September 9, 2011. Available:
[10] “Eight wounded as farmers, herders clash in southern Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, September 10, 2011. Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Oct '11
Sep '11
Aug '11