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: Saudi Arabia turns over bodies of al Houthi rebels to Yemen; 350,000 displaced by northern war; cargo ship hijacked near Aden

Horn of Africa: Two civilians killed and several wounded in Mogadishu shelling; 2,000 Somali troops to be trained by France in Uganda; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a calls for clan hostilities to cease; US Navy captures Somali pirates and mother ship; Kenya ends prosecution of pirates; human trafficking on the rise in Somaliland


Yemen Security Brief

  •  Saudi Arabia handed over the remains of 32 al Houthi rebels to Yemeni authorities as part of the ceasefire agreement. The Yemeni government in turn gave the bodies to a representative for the northern rebels. Saudi forces intervened last November in the conflict between the Zaydi Shi’ite rebels and the Yemeni government.[1]
  • An estimated 350,000 northern Yemeni are still displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict between al Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government, according to a UN study. A UN representative noted that only 5-10% of displaced persons have returned home since the cessation of hostilities almost two months ago.[2]
  • A Yemeni cargo ship was hijacked by pirates just after it left the port in Aden bound for the UAE. The origin of the pirates is unknown at this time, although the ship’s owners have alerted NATO’s Anti-Piracy Mission in the region.[3]


Horn of Africa Security Review

  •  Major Barigye Ba-hoku, AU spokesman for the peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), stated that his forces have acquired intelligence that reveals al Shabaab’s plans to attack the Mogadishu seaport with a boat filled with explosives. While Shabaab’s plans have been exposed, Major Ba-hoku stated the AU is unsure of when the attack is to occur, but the planning has commenced. Through other intelligence, the AU also claims to have discovered al Shabaab’s plan to use trucks and animals, such as donkeys and dogs, to attack AU troops and further destabilize President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed's administration.[4]
  • Fighting erupted between TFG forces and Islamists resulting in the deaths of two civilians, and the wounding three others, by mortar shelling at the Sana junction in the Karan district of Mogadishu.[5]
  • In an effort to restore stability in Somalia France, along with the EU, declared they will help train 2,000 Somali troops in Uganda.[6]
  • Sheikh Abdullahi Sheikh Abdirahman Abu Yusuf, spokesman for the Sufi Islamist group Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a, has called for clan militias fighting in the Mudug region to immediately cease hostilities and solve their disputes through “dialogue and negotiations.”[7]
  • The US Navy has had two recent encounters with Somali pirates.  The USS Nicolas, which is part of the US Africa Command's anti-piracy force, has captured five Somali pirates, sunk their vessel, and seized their mother ship in response to the pirates attacking the frigate.  The USS Farragut later captured 11 pirates and sunk their mother ship.  Those 11 pirates have been released from US custody.[8]
  • Kenya has declared it will no longer accept anymore pirates to be prosecuted because the international community has not helped it with the “burden” of prosecuting and imprisoning the captured pirates. Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula also stated Kenya was considering terminating an agreement with the EU that dealt with pirates caught off the Horn of Africa.[9]
  • Fadumo Sudi, Somaliland Minister for Family and Social Affairs, has stated there is a growing concern amongst officials over the increase of human trafficking in Somaliland. Somali children are mainly trafficked from south-central Somalia due to the lack of a legitimate government presence.[10]

[1] “Saudi Hands Over Remains of 32 Yemen Shiite Rebels,” AFP, April 2, 2010. Available:
[2] “350,000 Displaced By North Yemen War: Minister,” AFP, April 1, 2010. Available:
[3] “Pirates Hijack Yemeni Cargo Ship Off Aden,” Yemen Post, April 2, 2010. Available:
[4] “Somali Rebels Planning Attack on Mogadishu Port-Sources,”, April 2, 2010. Available:
[5] “Mortars Kill Civilians in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, April 1, 2010. Available:
[6] “Uganda: 2,000 Somali Troops to be Trained Here,” The Monitor, April 2, 2010. Available:
[7] “Moderate Islamists Call on Clan Militias to Cease Hostilities,” Mareeg Online, April 2, 2010. Available:
[8] Dana Hughes and Kirit Radia, “U.S. Navy Ship Grabs More Pirates, Lets Them Go,” ABC News, April 2, 2010. Available:
[9] “Kenya Ends Trials of Somali Pirates in its Courts,” BBC News, April 1, 2010. Available:
[10] “Human Trafficking on the Increase,” IRIN, April 2, 2010. Available:
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