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: Video emerges allegedly showing Abdulmutallab training in Yemen; al Houthi rebels clash with pro-government tribes; Yemeni government says suicide attempt on British ambassador was organized by al Qaeda

Horn of Africa: Suicide car bomb wounds four in Mogadishu; Somali pirates retreat from al Shabaab; al Shabaab official injured in explosion; al Shabaab leaders says group aims to control all of central Somalia; ONLF warns foreign companies and agencies operating in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • A new AQAP video allegedly shows Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab training in a training camp in Yemen. Abdulmutallab, the man charged in the attempted Christmas Day attack, is seen firing a rifle and making a martyrdom statement in the video. The video also show American born cleric Anwar al Awlaki describing both Abdulmutallab and Major Nidal Hassan as his students.[1]
  • Yemeni tribesmen allied with the government cut off the main road headed north from Sana’a following clashes with the al Houthi rebel group. In a statement, the al Houthi rebels accused the pro-government tribesmen of cutting of the road in retaliation for the rebels killing a tribe member three days earlier. Three were wounded in the clashes between the two sides.[2]
  • The Yemeni government has identified the suicide bomber who made an attempt on the life of the British ambassador as Othman Ali Noman al Celwi. According to officials, al Celwi was a high school student who was recruited and trained by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Ma’rib governorate.[3] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A suicide car bomb detonated outside of a new African Union military base wounded four, including two AU soldiers. The Islamist militant group al Shabaab took responsibility for the attack.[4]
  • Somali pirates have begun to flee the coastal city of Harardhere in central Somalia as al Shabaab militants have advanced on the city. Most of the pirates are believed to be heading for the pirate haven of Hobyo.  The pirates have taken many of their hostages with them, including the Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British couple that been held captive since October.[5]
  • A regional al Shabaab leader was injured by an explosion in Dinsor in southern Somalia. Abdirahman Mire Matan, the commander of al Shabaab in the Bay and Bakool regions of southern Somalia, confirmed that the blast wounded Abdihayi Ahmed Nor, the commissioner of Dinsor district in the Bay region, as he exited a mosque following evening prayers. No person or group has taken responsibility for the bombing.[6]
  • Al Shabaab’s leader in the Galgudud region said Tuesday that the group aims to take control of all of central Somalia. Sheikh Yusuf Sheikh Ise made his statement following al Shabaab’s success in driving out rival Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a forces from three towns in the region. He indicated that the group would be moving into the city of Harardhere next.[7]
  • The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has issued a warning to any foreign companies or agencies from operating under the auspices of the Ethiopian government in the ethnically Somali region. The ONLF also reported there had been recent clashes between their forces and Ethiopian troops resulting in several deaths and injuries.[8] 

[1] “Detroit Jet Bomb Suspect Abdulmutallab ‘Shown In Video,’” BBC News, April 27, 2010. Available:  
[2] “Three Wounded, Road Cut in North Yemen Tribal Clash,” Reuters, April 27, 2010. Available:  
[3] “Yemen Says Bomber Was High School Student Recruited by al Qaeda,” Yemen Post, April 27, 2010. Available:  
[4] “Suicide Car Bomb Attack in Somalia Wounds 4,” AP, April 27, 2010. Available: 
[5] “Somali Pirates Flee With British Hostages,” The Guardian, April 27, 2010. Available:  
[6] “Somalia: Explosion Injures al Shabaab Official in Dinsor Town,” Shabelle Media Network, April 27, 2010. Available:  
[7] “Al Shabaab Says Would Seize Whole Control of a Region in Central Somalia,” Mareeg, April 27, 2010. Available:  
[8] “Somalia: ONLF Warns Companies and Foreign Agencies in the Somali Region,” Shabelle Media Network, April 25, 2010.
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