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: Zaydi cleric calls for jihad against al Houthis; al Houthi clashes in Sa’ada governorate kill 18 people; Yemeni court sentences bomber to death, Southern Movement kidnaps seven soldiers; gunmen capture three soldiers in Dhaleh and have staged demonstrations in the city; Southern Movement leader Hassan Baoum freed; two soldiers injured in attack on checkpoint; 12 al Qaeda members sentenced to prison; political opposition protests new amendment to election law

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacked AMISOM base in Mogadishu; clashes at Dabka junction in Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacks bases in Hawl Wadag and Hodan districts; TFG defense minister says measures underway to increase security; TFG MP closes seaport by force; Hizb al Islam and al Shabaab clash over town in Bay region; al Shabaab militants announced planned public beheading of 20 captured militants; al Shabaab burns medicines in Kismayo; al Shabaab leader of Jubba regions held in Kenyan jail for past six months; al Shabaab leader reportedly made two trips to UAE in 2010; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a pardons al Shabaab militants; Somaliland authorities seize plane carrying arms to Puntland

Yemen Security Brief

  • Zaydi cleric Mohammed Abdul Adheem al Houthi, who is from the same family as the al Houthi rebels, said of the rebels, “They are not Twelvers (Ethna Ashari), nor Zaidis, nor Shafis, nor Jafaris, they are apostates.”  He called for jihad against the al Houthi rebels and leads a group against them.[1]

  • Clashes in Sa’ada governorate killed 12 al Houthi rebels and six tribesmen.  Tribal sources report that the clash occurred when men from the al Qamshah tribe refused to allow the al Houthis to search their belongings.[2]

  • A Yemeni court sentenced Fares Abdullah Saleh, a man arrested for involvement in the bombings of a sports club in Aden, to death.  Taher Tammah, a leader of a faction within the Southern Movement, said that secessionists had kidnapped “seven soldiers including an officer at Daleh and Lahij, and in exchange for their freedom demand the release of their colleagues.”  Tammah added that the hostages are in good health and are being held near the town of Habilain.[3]

  • Gunmen potentially aligned with the Southern Movement captured three soldiers and injured five people in southern Yemen on Sunday, according to local officials.  The Southern Movement has not confirmed that its members were responsible for Sunday’s kidnappings.  Residents of Dhaleh report that dozens of gunmen forced businesses to shut down and motorists to stay off the road.[4]

  • Yemeni authorities released Hassan Baoum, a leader of the Southern Movement, and three other detainees on Friday.[5]

  • Two Yemeni soldiers were seriously wounded when armed men attacked a checkpoint at the entrance to Nesab district in Shabwah governorate.  The men were armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which they launched from their positions near the checkpoint.[6]

  • A Yemeni court sentenced 12 suspected al Qaeda members to between four and seven years in jail.  The defendants were accused of aiding al Qaeda militants from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Sudan.[7]

  • The Yemeni parliament, dominated by President Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC), passed an amendment requiring the high electoral commission to be made up of judges rather than of party delegates.  Opposition parties, including the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) and al Islah (Reform) Party, staged a sit-on Sunday to protest the new amendment.[8]

Horn of Africa Brief

  • Clashes in Mogadishu between TFG soldiers supported by AMISOM troops and al Shabaab militants in Hodan district.  Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abu Mus’ab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman in Mogadishu, reported that militants attacked an AMISOM base in the Shaqalaha building along Makka al Mukarama Street and killed eight peacekeepers.  A TFG military officer, Dhame Abdulkadir, reported that al Shabaab fighters had attacked TFG positions over five times in the last 24 hours.[9]

  • Fighting between al Shabaab militants and government troops at Dabka junction in Mogadishu killed at least 13 people and injured an additional 25 people.  Al Shabaab militants reportedly attacked TFG and AMISOM positions at the intersection, which links the presidential palace to the main airport.[10]

  • Witnesses report that al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu launched an attack on TFG and AMISOM forces in Hawl Wadag and Hodan districts Saturday night.  Four people were reportedly killed, and ten others injured.[11]

  • TFG Defense Minister Abdulhakim Hajji Fiki said that TFG forces will be paid regularly and that measures to increase security in Mogadishu are underway.[12]

  • TFG parliamentarian Mohammed Jama’ Furuh headed a militia that shut down the seaport in Mogadishu.  Furuh said that he closed the seaport because of alleged corruption committed by officials in charge of the seaport.  He said, “No activities would be conducted at harbor, until we know how the income and taxes spend.”[13]

  • Hizb al Islam and al Shabaab militants clashed over control of Bur-Hakaba town in Bay region in southern Somalia on Saturday.  It is reported that four militants were killed and eleven others were wounded.  Calm has reportedly returned to the town, though locals are fleeing to safety in case violence breaks out again.[14] 

  • Al Shabaab militants announced that they would publicly behead twenty militia commanders captured during the fighting with Hizb al Islam in Bur-Hakaba town in Bay region.  Reportedly, Hizb al Islam district commissioner for Bur-Hakaba Sidow Hajir, public relations secretary Mohamed Kusow, and the finance secretary were among those captured.[15]

  • Al Shabaab militants in the southern port-city of Kismayo burned a collection of medicines collected from Kismayo’s public hospital and private clinics.  The militants said the drugs were expired.[16]

  • Al Shabaab official Malim Adan Mohamed Abdullahi reported for the first time that the al Shabaab leader of the Jubba regions Sheikh Mohamed has been in a Kenyan jail for the past six months.  Malim Adan blamed al Shabaab leaders in Kismayo for not coming up with the funds to free him, saying that Kenyan authorities had asked for $1,000 to secure Sheikh Mohamed’s release.[17]

  • Sunatimes reports that al Shabaab’s leader, Abu Zubayr, had been to Sharjah, UAE, at least twice this year.  On March 3, 2010, he took a flight on a Kenyan flight out of the KM50 airport in Somalia and the second trip, reportedly on November 11, 2010, he went through customs to cross the border.[18]

  • The Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a administration in Guri-El district in Galgudud region pardoned five al Shabaab militants who surrendered.[19]

  • Somaliland authorities seized a Puntland-bound plane carrying military supplies saying that the arms transfer was in violation of the international arms embargo on Somalia.  Mohamed Abdi Gabose, Somaliland’s interior minister, said, “The aircraft was originally coming from South Africa and Kampala.  They asked for permission to land at our airport after experiencing a fuel shortage.”  He added that Puntland’s training of a militia “is a threat to Somaliland’s security and to that of the region in general.”[20]

[1] “Two Houthi Groups Fight Over Zaidi Leadership,” Yemen Observer, December 13, 2010.  Available:
[2] “12 Houthis, 6 Tribesmen Killed in Sa’ada Province,” Yemen Post, December 12, 2010.  Available:
[3] “Soldiers Kidnapped After Yemen Death Sentence,” AFP, December 11, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Gunmen Capture Three Soldiers in South Yemen,” AFP, December 12, 2010.  Available:
[6] “Two Soldiers Seriously Injured in Gunmen Attack in Shabwah,” Yemen Post, December 13, 2010.  Available:
[8] “Yemen Election Law Change Sparks Opposition Outcry,” AFP, December 12, 2010.  Available:
[9] “Heavy Battle Rocks Mogadishu; al Shabaab claims 8 AU Forces Killed,” Shabelle Media Network, December 13, 2010.  Available:
[10] “Somalia Fighting at Dabka Junction in Mogadishu Leaves 13 Dead, Injures 25,” Bloomberg, December 13, 2010.  Available:
[11] “Overnight Fighting Kills 4, Hurts 10 in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, December 12, 2010.  Available:
[12] “Somalia: Defense Minister Says Mogadishu Security Measures Underway,” Shabelle Media Network, December 13, 2010.  Available:
[13] “Somali MP Halts Activities at Mogadishu Seaport,” Shabelle Media Network, December 13, 2010.  Available:
[14] “Fighting Breaks Out in Bur-Hakaba Town, Hizbul Islam Takes Over Contr,” Shabelle Media Network, December 11, 2010.  Available:
“Clam Returns to Bur-Hakaba After One Day of Deadly Fighting,” Shabelle Media Network, December 12, 2010.  Available:
[15] “AlShabab Threatens to Behead Twenty War Prisoners from Hezb-al Islam,” Sunatimes, December 12, 2010.  Available:
[16] “Somalia: Al-Shabab Militias Destroy Drugs in Kismayo,” Sunatimes, December 10, 2010.  Available:
[17] “Somalia:Al-Shabab Militias Claim is in a Kenyan Jail,” Sunatimes, December 12, 2010.  Available:
[18] “Somalia: Alqaeda’s Alshabab Leader Seen in United Arab Emirates,” Sunatimes, December 11, 2010.  Available:
[19] “Ahlu Sunna Militia Pardons al Shabaab Fighters,” Garowe Online, December 12, 2010.  Available:
[20] “Somaliland Holds Plane Taking Military Supplies to Puntland,” AFP, December 11, 2010.  Available:
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