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: Al Houthi rebels execute a civilian in Amran governorate; Yemeni military colonel is gunned down in Sana’a; AQAP-affiliated Ansar al Sharia militants reportedly travel to Syria

Horn of Africa: Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) deploy 2,831 troops to Somalia; AMISOM and Somali National Forces ready for final siege of Kismayo; two civilians are gunned down in Burhakaba region of Lower Shabelle; a grenade attack in central Mogadishu kills two civilians; al Shabaab militants ambush Somali forces in southwestern city of Garbaharey; al Shabaab militants clash with Somali forces in Afgoi

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi rebels executed Sharaf Sultan, a civilian construction worker, on September 5 in Amran governorate. According to al Houthi rebels, Sharaf Sultan was spying for the United States and Israel.[1]
  • Yemeni government officials reported on September 5 that Col. Yahya Saleh Saleh al Khalidi was gunned down in Sana’a. Specific details regarding the attack are unclear; however, Col. Khalidi was on his way to work at the Daylami Air Force Base in Sana’a when the attack occurred. Col. Khalidi is the second Yemeni military officer to be killed in the last two days.[2]
  • Tariq al Fadhli, who fought with al Qaeda in Afghanistan against the Soviets, reported on September 6 that AQAP-affiliated Ansar al Sharia militants have withdrawn from the Yemeni cities of Zinjibar and Jaar in Abyan governorate in order to fight in Syria. According to Fadhli, a regional deal was likely made to send Ansar al Sharia militants from Yemen to Turkey so that the militants could cross the border into Syria to fight the Assad regime.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) deployed 2,831 troops to Somalia on September 6. The fresh troops were deployed to replace returning UPDF troops. According to Ugandan training commander Col. Steve Kashure, the UPDF has deployed 6,363 soldiers in total to the region.[4]
  • Kenyan military spokesman Col. Cyrus Oguna reported on September 6 that AMISOM and Somali National Forces are prepared for a final siege of Kismayo, a strategic Somali port city currently controlled by al Shabaab militants. AMISOM and Somali National Forces intend to capture the Bibi settlement outside of Kismayo in order to create a staging zone for further attacks on Kismayo according to Col. Cyrus Oguna.[5]
  • Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus on September 6 in the Burhakaba region of Lower Shabelle. The attack killed two civilians and wounded at least ten. Al Shabaab is suspected of being behind the attack.[6]
  • A grenade attack at the Barubax junction in central Mogadishu killed two civilians and wounded several more on September 5. According to local sources, the grenade was thrown at an army checkpoint; however, Somali military personnel were not harmed in the attack.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed Somali troops in Garbaharey, a Somali city bordering Ethiopia and Kenya, on September 5. Al Shabaab reportedly fired mortars and used heavy weaponry in their assault on the Somali troops. Ensuing clashes broke out and continued overnight, leading to the death of two individuals. It is unclear whether al Shabaab militants or Somali troops suffered any casualties.[8]
  • Al Shabaab militants clashed with Somali troops in Afgoi, a region southwest of Mogadishu, on September 5. The clashes broke out after al Shabaab militants ambushed a Somali army checkpoint. Casualty figures have not been reported by al Shabaab or the Somali government.[9]

[1] “Yemeni Executed Over Spying Charge,” Yemen Post, September 5, 2012. Available:
[2] “Defense Ministry and Chief of Staff Mourn Col. Engineer Yahya Saleh Saleh al Khalidi,” SABA, September 5, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Al Qaeda Militants Left Yemen to Syria,” Yemen Observer, September 6, 2012. Available:
[4] “Fresh Batch of Troops Set for Somalia,” Daily Nation, September 6, 2012. Available:
[5] “Final ‘Onslaught’ on Kismayo Prepared,” Bar Kulan, September 6, 2012. Available:
[6] “Two Killed in Southern Somalia Attack on Civilian Bus,” Shabelle News, September 6, 2012. Available:
[7] “Grenade Attack Kills Two in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, September 5, 2012. Available:
[8] “Somali Troops Clash with Al Shabaab in Garbaharey,” Shabelle News, September 5, 2012. Available:
[9] “Calm Returned to Southern Mogadishu after Battle,” Shabelle News, September 5, 2012. Available:
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