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: At least 30 southern activists escape prison in Dhale; 130 Somali refugees reach  Yemen; US Congresswoman visits Yemen; opposition parties in Yemen say arrests of southern activists are politically motivated; government forces attack opposition party headquarters in Dhaleh

Horn of Africa: Inter-clan fighting kills 23 in central Somalia, Hizb al Islam leader supports desecration of tombs; Kenya deploys troops to Somali border; al Shabaab leader takes credit for 680 deaths; Presidents of TFG and Puntland meet in Ethiopia

Yemen Security Brief

  • At least 30 jailed southern secessionists escaped from a prison in Dhale after a bomb exploded at the site. Two policemen and three detainees were wounded by the bomb blast. Police accused the detained secessionists of throwing the bomb, while the prisoners alleged that the police threw it. The prisoners escaped in the chaos following the blast.[1] 
  •   Boats carrying over 180 Somali refugees have reached Yemen on Thursday according to the Interior Ministry. The boats landed in Hadramawt and Taiz provinces. All of the refugees were rounded up by Yemeni authorities and sent to temporary camps in Shabwa and Lahij governorates.[2]  
  • Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister Mohi al Deen al Dhabi met with US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee on Wednesday in Sana’a to discuss areas of cooperation between the two countries. Congresswoman Jackson Lee expressed interest in supporting the development, security, and stability of Yemen.[3]
  • The Joint Meeting Parties, an alliance of Yemen’s main opposition parties, decried the government crackdown on the citizens of Dhale. The JMP called on the government to end the violation of the rights of activists in the city. Furthermore, the group said that the trials currently being prosecuted against southern activists and journalists are politically motivated.[4] 
  • The Joint Meeting Parties’ headquarters in Dhale was attacked by government forces on Wednesday. Saada al Reiba, the head of the JMP in Dhale, said that the targeting of the headquarters was a clear sign of disunity within the government. The JMP headquarters in Dhale has been subject to several government raids in the past.[5]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief  

  • Clan violence in central Somalia killed 23 people on Wednesday. Dozens more were wounded in the fighting which took place in the Ba’ad Weyn village south of the Mudug region. Arguments over grazing land and water triggered the clashes.[6]  
  • Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, leader of Hizb al Islam, publicly supported al Shabaab’s recent tactic of desecrating the graves of revered clerics in Mogadishu. Aweys argued that it is un-Islamic to build tombs inside mosques. Aweys also spoke of ongoing efforts to reconcile differences between his group and al Shabaab.[7]
  • Kenya reportedly deployed troops to its border with Somalia on Thursday. Witnesses say Kenyan troops were carried in by helicopter to Libio, a border town near the Somali city of Dhobley, which is controlled by al Shabaab. Prior to the troop movement, there were reported clashes between Kenyan forces and al Shabaab militants in the area on Wednesday.[8]
  • Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, a senior leader of al Shabaab, said he personally ordered the deaths of 680 followers of the “apostate” government. He said the majority of those killed were in his hometown of Baidoa. Robow was formerly a leader in the Islamic Courts Union which ruled most of the southern regions of Somalia in 2006.[9]
  • Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, President of the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu and Abdirahman Mohammed Farole, President of the Puntland government, met in Addis Ababa on Wednesday to work out disagreements to allow cooperation between the two governments.[10]              

[1] “30 Prisoners Escape After Bomb Blast at Yemen Jail,” AFP, April 1, 2010. Available:
[2] “Over 180 Somali Refugees Sneak in Yemeni Shores,” Yemen News Agency (Saba), April 1, 2010. Available:
[3] “ Deputy FM Receives US Congress Representative,” Yemen News Agency (Saba), March 31, 2010. Available:
[4] “JMP: Sentences Issued Against Southern Activists are Politically Motivated,” Sahwa Net, March 31, 2010. Available:
[5] “Opposition Parties’ Headquarters Attacked,” Sahwa Net, March 31, 2010. Available:
[6] “Deadly Clashes Kills 23 People in Central Somalia,” All Headline News, April 1, 2010. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Aweys Supports Desecration of Famous Clerics Tombs,” Garowe Online, April 1, 2010. Available:
[8] “Somalia: Kenya Deploys Troops To Its Border With Somalia,” Mareeg, April 1, 2010. Available:
[9] “Islamist Leader Says 680 People Killed For His Orders,” Mareeg, April 1, 2010. Available:
[10] “Somalia: TFG and Puntland Presidents Meet in Ethiopia,” Garowe Online, March 31, 2010. Available:
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