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: Unidentified sources in Abyan governorate report that AQAP deputy leader Said al Shihri is still alive; Yemeni Islah party members clash with al Houthi rebels in Rayda city in Amran governorate; Yemeni security forces arrest two suspected AQAP operatives in Aden governorate; Yemeni Interior Ministry increases security at embassies and international organization buildings in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Two suicide bombers kill 15 people in Mogadishu; UN and Somali political leaders condemn Mogadishu suicide attacks; journalist shot and killed in Mogadishu; Minnesota man leaves U.S. to join al Shabaab in Somalia; roadside bomb in Garissa, Kenya injure at least four; Sierra Leone colonel is given Chief Training Officer Position in AMISOM; al Shabaab linked man gets 59 years from Kenyan court

Yemen Security Brief

  • Unidentified sources in southern Abyan governorate reported on September 20 that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) deputy leader Said al Shihri is still alive. Said al Shihri was reported killed by a U.S. drone strike in eastern Hadramawt governorate on September 10. According to a senior Yemeni government official requesting anonymity, the Yemeni Department of Criminal Evidence Investigation in Sana’a received four corpses from the U.S. drone strike on September 10; however they have yet to run DNA tests on the corpses. The senior Yemeni government official also added that the United States has requested that the Yemeni government wait until an American team of examiners can administer the DNA tests.[1]
  • Yemeni Islah (Reform) party members clashed with al Houthi rebels in Rayda city in northern Amran governorate on September 21. The violent clashes were sparked after Islah party members attempted to stop an al Houthi protest against new government appointments in Rayda city. According to local sources, both sides were armed with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and called in reinforcements as the fighting escalated. At least one Islah party member was killed and several more were wounded in the clashes.[2]
  • Yemeni security forces arrested two suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives in southern Aden governorate on September 21. According to Yemeni security officials, the two suspected AQAP operatives were arrested in the Sheikh Othman region of Aden governorate.[3]
  • The Yemeni Interior Ministry increased security at embassies and international organization buildings in Sana’a capital on September 20. The preemptive security measures included an increase in the number of guards deployed and additional foot patrols.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Two suicide bombers detonated explosives in a restaurant in Mogadishu on September 20, killing at least 15 civilians. The targeted location was run by a local business owner who recently returned from London to start the restaurant. The restaurant was a well-known media hangout, and three journalists were among those killed. Al Shabaab has said it did not directly carry out the attack, but did say the two suicide bombers were sympathetic to its cause. Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said, “Action has been taken by sympathizers of the [Al] Shabaab, who were angry with the situation in Somalia, especially the intervention by foreign troops. We did not directly order the attacks, but there are lots of angry people in Somalia who support our fight and want to change the situation.”[5]
  • The United Nations along with political leaders in Somalia have condemned the suicide attacks that occurred in Mogadishu on September 20. The UN said the attacks will not drive Somalia off course from its previous political gains. Recently elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud gave his condolences to the Somali people for those taken in the attacks.[6]
  • A journalist, Hassan Yussuf Absuge, who worked for a Mogadishu based radio station, was shot and killed in the capital city on September 21. He was fired at from a moving vehicle while he was on his way back to his house in the Yaqshid district. Absuge was the fourth journalist killed in the past two days; bringing the total number of journalists killed this year to thirteen.[7]
  • A man from Minnesota left the United States to join the al Shabaab terror network in Somalia. The man, Omar Farah, was born in Somalia but was brought over to the United States by his aunt, who raised him. Farah called his Aunt from Marka, saying he had joined al Shabaab. Before leaving, Farah was enrolled at the University of Minnesota for one year before leaving school and becoming unemployed. Since 2007, twenty young men have left Minnesota to join al Shabaab, and because of Farah’s departure the FBI has renewed an investigation into al Shabaab recruitment in Minnesota.[8]
  • Two roadside bombs injured four Kenyan paramilitary (GSU) soldiers in Garissa town in Kenya on September 21. The first bomb targeted a GSU lorry that was on patrol outside of the scene. When police arrived at the scene of the explosion, a second bomb went off, injuring some junior police officers. Those behind the attack have not been caught, and no one has yet claimed responsibility.[9]
  • Mamadi Mohamed Keita, a Sierra Leone Colonel, has been given the Chief Training Officer Position for AMISOM. Before joining AMISOM, Col. Keits was in charge of recruiting and training for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces. In addition to his training officer position, he will take charge of the 850 men that make up the Sierra Leone contingent in AMISOM.[10]
  • Abdimajid Yasin Mohamed, the Somali man who pled guilty in Kenya to the possession of six bombs and twelve grenades along with other munitions, was sentenced to fifty-nine years in prison. He asked to be jailed in Somalia so he could be close to his wife and children. The man he was arrested with, Abdi Adan, pled not guilty and has been deemed to stand trial.[11]

[1] “Yemen Qaeda: Second Man Alive, US Asks Yemen Delay DNA Test,” Yemen Observer, September 20, 2012. Available:
[2] “One Killed in Yemen Sectarian Clash: Tribes,” Ahram Online, September 21, 2012. Available:
“One Person Killed and Others Wounded in Confrontations between People in Rayda in Amran,” 26 September, September 21, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Security Forces Arrest Two AQAP Operatives in Sheikh Othman in Aden,” 26 September, September 21, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Interior Ministry Increases Security Procedures around Embassies and International Organizations in Sana’a,” SABA News, September 20, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Suicide Bombers Kill 15 in Somali Capital,” Reuters, September 21, 2012. Available:
“14 Killed in Somalia Double Suicide Attack,” Gulf News, September 21, 2012. Available:
[6] Somalia, UN Condemn Deadly Suicide Attack in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, September 21, 2012. Available:
[7] Another Journalist Killed in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, September 21, 2012. Available:
[8] “Family of Minnesota Somali Says He Left to Join Al Shabaab; Fears of Recruiting Revived,” Washington Post, September 21, 2012. Available:
[9] “Kenyan Paramilitary Officers Injured in Garissa Explosion,” Bar Kulan, September 21, 2012. Available:
[10] “Sierra Leone Colonel to Head Military Training in Somalia,” Hiiraan, September 20, 2012. Available:
[11] Al Shabaab Member Gets 59 Year Jail Sentence,” Standard Media, September 21, 2012. Available:
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