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: Renewed fighting in Sana’a kills at least nine people; drone strikes in Abyan kill ten suspected al Qaeda militants

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab sending displaced persons back to drought-hit regions; TFG seizes IEDs in Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacks militia in Mogadishu killing three people; dozens of people arrested in security operation near Galkayo; Somali general vows to push al Shabaab out; 12-year-old boy arrested carrying explosives

  Yemen Security Brief  

  • Government forces launched mortar shells and fired rocket-propelled grenades at protestors in Sana’a. Additionally, there are reports that snipers continue to shoot along Hayel Street. At least six people have been killed near Tagheer (Change) Square. A mortar shell that landed in al Hasaba district in Sana’a killed three people.[1]
  •  A local official in Abyan governorate reported that ten al Qaeda militants were killed in U.S. drone strikes. Two airstrikes targeted militants in al Mahfad district in southern Abyan governorate, killing four suspected militants. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s deputy leader, Said al Shihri, reportedly escaped the strike. A second official from the coastal town of Shaqra reported that two air raids there killed six “al Qaeda gunmen” and injured three others.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief  

  • A senior al Shabaab official, Sheikh Mahad Abu Safiya, stated that al Shabaab was in the process of returning displaced persons to their homes. He said that at least 50,000 people were “taken back to their homes with packages to feed them for three months.” Al Shabaab-run convoys moved people out of camps surrounding Baidoa on September 21.[3]  
  • The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) seized several IEDs near a checkpoint on a road leading to Afgoi.  Two were found planted near the checkpoint and several others were found on a donkey cart passing through.[4]  
  • Armed militants dressed as TFG soldiers were attacked by a group of al Shabaab militants in the Kah-Shiqal neighborhood in southwestern Mogadishu.  Three people were killed in the fighting.  The militia fighters were reportedly stopping passenger vehicles to rob them when al Shabaab attacked.[5]
  • An operation carried out by government security forces near the town of Galkayo resulted in dozens of arrests of “people related to insecurity activities.”[6]  
  • General Abdikarim Yusuf Adam, deputy chief of the Somali national army, vowed to push al Shabaab militants out of the regions they control.  According to the military, there have been battles in Bay, Bakool, and the Jubba regions.[7]  
  • TFG security forces arrested Jabril Mohamed Ali, age 12, in Mogadishu carrying explosives and cell phones.  The director of explosives prevention for the Somali National Security Agency, Adan Fidow Barre, said “The explosive device was aimed at harming the officials of the government and civilian people in Mogadishu and this was plotted by the extremist Al Qaeda-inspired group al Shabaab . . . It was an attempt of suicide attack by al Shabaab using this very young Somali boy as equipment to conduct their devil and vindictive act, but fortunately Somali security managed to thwart the attack and save the life of the youngster.”  He further reported that the arrest occurred with the help of defected al Shabaab soldiers.[8]

[1] Ahmed al Haj, “9 Killed in Renewed Violence in Yemeni Capital,” AP, September 22, 2011. Available:
 “Four Killed in Renewed Clashes in Yemeni Capital,” AFP, September 22, 2011. Available:
Laura Kasinof and Robert F. Worth, “Snipers Imperil Truce in Yemen,” New York Times, September 22, 2011. Available:
[2] “Drone Attack Kills 10 al Qaeda Suspects in South Yemen,” AFP, September 21, 2011. Available:
[3] Mustafa Haji Abdinur, “Somali Rebels Force Thousands Back into Famine Zone,” AFP, September 22, 2011. Available:
[4] “Somalia: More Landmines seized in Mogadishu security crackdown,” Mareeg Online, September 21, 2011. Available:
[5] “Three killed in Mogadishu armed clash,” Shabelle Media Network, September 21, 2011. Available:
[6] “Dozens apprehended in central Somalia security operations,” Shabelle Media Network, September 21, 2011. Available:
[7] “’We will suppress Al shabaab soon’ says Somali army,” Shabelle Media Network, September 22, 2011. Available:
[8] “Boy, 12, carrying explosives arrested in restive Mogadishu,” All Headline News, September 21, 2011. Available:
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