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: Yemen says it has not received U.S. intelligence on al Awlaki’s location; four al Houthi rebels on trial in Yemen for spying for Iran; Yemeni tribe warns U.S. against killing al Awlaki; Yemeni Foreign Minister says al Awlaki is not a terrorist; father offers deal for al Awlaki’s removal from list; protests continue in Dhale

Horn of Africa: Bush official: President Obama’s policy towards Somalia remains the same as predecessor; Dahabshiil guards reject disarmament attempts by Hizb al Islam; BBC responds to al Shabaab censoring; hundreds of Somali refugees reach Somali-Kenyan border town; civilians arrested in Galga'o for breaking curfew

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni authorities say they are looking for the radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, but have received no American intelligence about his whereabouts or role within al Qaeda. The Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi did not elaborate on the steps taken to apprehend al Awlaki, but mentioned an air strike in December on an al Qaeda meeting where the cleric was reportedly in attendance.[i] 
  • Four men associated with the al Houthi movement in northern Yemen are being tried on suspicions of spying for Iran. The men are charged with passing “photographs of security installations, military camps, ports, islands and maritime installations” to Iran. The four were also accused of “receiving funds, supplies and arms from different parties and delivering them to the Houthis.”[ii]
  • Anwar al Awlaki’s tribe in Yemen threatened violence against anyone who harms him. The threat by the al Awaliq tribe is ostensibly aimed at the United States, which recently placed al Awlaki on its capture or kill list. The tribe is located mainly in Abyan and Shabwah governorates in southern Yemen.[iii]
  • Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi said in a statement Saturday that Yemen does not consider Anwar al Awlaki a terrorist. He also said that Yemeni authorities have no contact with the cleric.[iv]
  • Anwar al Awlaki’s father has promised the cleric will cease activity against the United States if he is taken off the capture or kill list. It is unclear whether Nasser al Awlaki, the former president of the University of Sana’a, made the statement with his son’s consent.[v]
  • Protests against the government continued on Monday in Dhale as a general strike shut down all economic activity in the city. Two explosions were heard near schools with no reported casualties. Gunfire was also heard sporadically throughout the city. Additional protests were held on Sunday in Dhale, Lahij, Abyan, and Aden.[vi]

Horn of Africa Brief

  • Jendayi E. Frazer, former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under the Bush Administration, stated President Obama is applying the same policies towards Somalia as President Bush. Frazer also commented on the upcoming TFG offensive in Mogadishu stating she does not anticipate any significant changes to occur.[vii]
  • Security guards at the Dahabshiil Bureau in Mogadishu's Bakara market have resisted disarmament attempts by Hizb al Islam forces. Dahabshiil officials stated fighters from Hizb al Islam “stormed” the bureau on Saturday in attempt to disarm the guards; however, the Islamist forces were met with such strong resistance, business were forced to close for an hour.[viii]
  • In response to al Shabaab’s BBC ban, BBC Africa head, Jerry Timmins, stated BBC always addresses all sides in the conflict, including al Shabaab, and adheres “to strict standards of impartiality and editorial independence” and rejects anything which suggests otherwise. Timmins also stated, “It is essential for the people of Somalia that the BBC is allowed to continue to report accurately and impartially on the situation in the country without undue interference from anyone.”[ix]
  • Hundreds of Somali families who fled the fighting in Mogadishu and southern Somalia have reached the Somali-Kenyan border town of Dhobley, which is controlled by the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab.[x]
  • Four civilians from the Hormar neighborhood, in the town of Galga'o in the Mudug region, have been arrested by Mudug police forces for violating the imposed night curfew, which was put in place to assure the “security of the towns, districts and villages under the control of Galmudug State.” Mudug police forces stated the detained civilians will be brought before a court and sentenced.[xi]

[i] “Yemen Says Seeks Cleric, Yet to Get U.S. Intelligence,” Reuters, April 11, 2010. Available:
[ii] “Yemen Tries Four Suspected Rebels With Spying,” AFP, April 12, 2010. Available:
[iii] “Yemen Tribe Warns Against Harming Cleric On US Wants Dead,” AFP, April 10, 2010. Available:
[iv] “Anwar al Awlaqi Is Not A Terrorist: FM,” Yemen Post, April 11, 2010. Available:
[v] “Yemeni Cleric Family Offers A Deal,” Al Jazeera, April 12, 2010. Available:
[vi] “Civil Disobedience in Dhale as Tense Situation Remains in South,” Yemen Post, April 12, 2010. Available:
[vii] “No Change on Obama’s Policy Towards Somalia says Former Envoy,” Garowe Online, April 10, 2010. Available:
[viii] “Dahabshil Guards Turn Down Disarmament Order From Hizbul Islam,” Garowe Online, April 10, 2010. Available:
[ix] “BBC hit back on Al-Shabaab ban,” Garowe Online, April 10, 2010. Available:
[x] “More Refugees Reach Border Yown,” Mareeg Online, April 11, 2010. Available:
[xi] “Several People Arrested for Charges of Violating Night Curfew in Galmudug State,” Shabelle Media Network, April 9, 2010. Available:
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