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: Eight people arrested after qat market bombing in Sana’a; Saudi Interior Minister says all GCC countries support Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab announces the creation of an aid group to help drought victims; OIC and WFP will work together to address IDP situation in Afgoi corridor; al Shabaab is demanding a ransom for a South African couple; families in Jubba region concerned about al Shabaab’s use of child soldiers

Yemen Security Brief

  • Eight suspects have been arrested after an explosion outside a qat market in Sana’a on Thursday injured 13 people.[1]
  • Saudi Arabia’s Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz has said that all GCC countries support Yemen, especially in its fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  Prince Nayef said, “Yemen is a country that we care about and is dear to us, foremost of all President Ali Abdullah Saleh, his government, and the Yemeni people…If something good befalls Yemen then we share in it and if something bad befalls it then we share in it too.”[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • In a statement released on jihadist forums, al Shabaab announced that it will establish an aid group to help the victims of the recent drought in Mudug region.  The group, led by Sultan Muhammad al Muhammad, will collect donations to fund the project and will transfer water from cities to villages.[3]
  • In response to the large number of IDP’s living in the Afgoi corridor south of Mogadishu, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) will launch a joint aid program to address the crisis.  Around 400,000 IDP’s are currently living in camps along the road between Afgoi and Mogadishu.[4]
  • Al Shabaab is demanding a ransom for the release of a South African couple currently being held in Burawa district.  The couple was originally kidnapped by Somali pirates while on vacation, and al Shabaab later took them from the pirates.  This is the first case of al Shabaab demanding a ransom for foreign captives.[5]
  • Families in the Jubba region are greatly concerned by al Shabaab’s practice of recruiting their youth to fight against the TFG and AMISOM.  A parent complained, “The forced children are led to their military camps in Kismayo and children are immediately taken to front lines of the war in Mogadishu.”[6]

[1] “8 Suspects Arrested After Qat Market Explosion,” Yemen Post, December 9, 2010. Available:
[2] “Saudi Prince Underlines GCC’s Support for Yemen Against al-Qaeda,” Saba News, December 9, 2010. Available:
[3] “Shabaab Creates Committee to Aid Somali Drought Victims,” SITE Intel Group, December 9, 2010. Available at SITE.
[4] “OIC and WFP Agree to Work Together in Helping Somalia,” Garowe Online, December 9, 2010. Available:
[6] “Parents Complain of Al-Shaba Militants in Kismayo,” Mareeg Online, December 10, 2010. Available:
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