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: Yemeni security forces clash with protesters near the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a; President Hadi appoints new Shura Council member; a Syrian national is kidnapped in Abyan governorate; exiled southern Yemeni leader Ali Salem al Beidh reports that he will return to Yemen

Horn of Africa: Somali terror plot uncovered in Nairobi; al Shabaab bases in Lower Jubba bombed; al Shabaab announces that they will continue to hold Kismayo; U.S. condemns assassination attempt on the Somali president; three Somali troops attack a woman in Marka; President Mohamud moves to a secure location following Wednesday’s attack

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni security forces clashed with protesters in Sana’a on September 14. An estimated 2,000 protesters attempted to march to the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a following Friday prayer; however, Yemeni security forces were able to disperse the crowds using tear gas and water cannons. According to local sources, Yemeni security forces kept the protesters at least one block away from the U.S. Embassy compound. U.S. officials reported to the Associated Press that a U.S. marine team has been deployed to the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a.[1]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi appointed Mohammad Nasser al Ameri to the Shura Council on September 13. The Shura Council is an appointed 111-member, decision-making body of the Yemeni government.[2]
  • A Syrian national was kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen in southern Abyan governorate on September 14. The unidentified Syrian, reportedly a driver for a cargo transport company in Abyan governorate, was kidnapped between Ahwar and al Mahfad regions of Abyan governorate.[3]
  • Exiled southern secessionist leader Ali Salem al Beidh reported on September 13 that he will return to Yemen to pursue political ambitions. Al Beidh has been exiled from Yemen for 18 years.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Two alleged terrorists were apprehended in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi on September 14, after detectives in the Special Crimes Prevention Unit and Flying Squad recovered munitions from where the suspects have been hiding out for the past two months. The detectives from the Kenyan police found on site six suicide bombs, two of which were vests, 12 grenades and four AK-47 rifles. The weapons seem to have been smuggled in from Somalia. There are still two more accomplices being tracked down who were not at the hideout when it was raided. The four suspected terrorists are said to be linked to the Somali terror network al Shabaab, and had plans to carry out attacks against churches in Nairobi.[5]
  • Al Shabaab bases in the Lower Jubba region of Somalia were bombed on September 13. Heavy artillery and gun fighting between Somali forces, Ras Kamboni militias and Kenyan allies against al Shabaab has been reported by residents in the area. The fighting is contained in the Birta Dheer region and the casualties are not known. The attack comes during a strong offensive by Somali forces and allies to capture the port town of Kismayo, also located in the Lower Jubba region.[6]
  • Abdirahman Muhumed Hudeyfa, governor of al Shabaab in Lower Jubba, said that the militant group will not leave the port city of Kismayo in a public announcement on September 13.  Somali government forces along with AMISOM have captured al Shabaab bases on their way to take Kismayo over the past several weeks. Hudeyfa said that his troops will not let Kismayo fall to the Somali government and its allies.[7]
  • A Somali National Army convoy was attacked on September 14, when two remote-controlled land mines detonated on a bridge in Afgoi.  Many have been rushed to the hospital with gunshot and blast wounds. Seventeen people near the scene of the explosion have been taken into custody. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast.[8]
  • The United States condemned the attacks against Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on September 13. Hilary Renner, a spokesperson for Unites States State Department bureau of African Affairs, said, “The United States stands firmly with the Somali people in their rejection of political violence and terrorism.” She continued that the U.S. government gives their condolences to “the families and survivors of those who gave their lives defending Somalia's new government."[9]
  • Three Somali forces have allegedly attacked a woman in Marka, a town southwest of Mogadishu, on September 13. The suspects have been taken into custody for questioning and the investigation will be turned over to the military court of the Somali federal government.[10]
  • The new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud moved to a secure location on September 14, following an assassination attempt on September 12. The president has been moved to Villa Somalia, where former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed still resides.[11]             

[1] Ahmed Al-Haj, “Yemeni Police Clash with Protesters at U.S. Embassy,” AP, September 14, 2012. Available:
“Yemen Uses Water Cannons Against Protesters,” Reuters, September 14, 2012. Available:
[2] “New Shura Council Member Assigned,” SABA News, September 13, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Armed Tribesmen Kidnap Syrian National in Abyan,” al Masdar Online, September 14, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “South Yemen Leader to Go Home after 18-Year Exile,” AFP, September 13, 2012. Available:
[5] “Kenyan Police Thwart ‘Terror Attack’ in Nairobi,” Bar Kulan, September 14, 2012. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Unknown Warplanes bomb Al Shabaab Bases in Somalia,” Raxanreeb, September 13, 2012. Available:
“Heavy Fighting Erupts Outside of Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, September 14, 2012. Available:
[7] “Al Shabaab Says it Will Not Leave Kismayo,” Radio Mustaqbal, September 13, 2012. Available:
[8] “2 Blast Hit on Army Convoy in Afgoye, Outside Mogadishu,” Shabelle, September 14, 2012. Available:
[9] “US Condemns Attack on New Somali President,” AFP, September 14, 2012. Available:
[10] “Somalia’s Government Forces Raped a Female in Lower Shabelle Region,” Radio Mustaqbal, September 13, 2012. Available:
[11] “Somali President Moved to Secure Location After Assassination Attempt,” The Telegraph, September 14, 2012. Available:
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