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: Yemeni military executed airstrikes in Razeh district and killed at least five leaders in special operations; Human Rights Watch releases a report documenting violations in southern Yemen; President Ali Abdullah Saleh requested national dialogue to begin on December 26; over 120 Somalis reach Yemen’s coast; General Petraeus says U.S. providing support to Yemen within military cooperation agreement framework

Horn of Africa: Roadside bomb kills at least three police officers and injures eight others in Bossaso; fighting in Mogadishu kills over twenty people and injures thirty-one others; Puntland names new Minister of Information; landmine dating from 1977 Ethiopian war explodes, killing six children; Ogaden National Liberation Front warns oil companies operating in the region

Yemen Security Review

  • Askar Zuel, a Yemeni army spokesman, has reiterated that Yemeni, not Saudi, fighters executed the airstrike on al Houthi positions in Bani Maan in Razeh district on Sunday.  A second airstrike hit Mutrak, reportedly the main stronghold for the al Houthi leadership; however, Mohammed Badr al Din al Houthi, the brother of Abdul Malik al Houthi, managed to escape the safe house prior to the attack.  Military sources are claiming that at least five leaders were killed during special operations in Sa’ada City and al Malahaidh.[1]

  • Human Rights Watch released a report that documents attacks by Yemeni security forces on Southern Movement supporters, journalists, academics, and political figures.  The report found that on at least eleven different occasions, security forces fired on unarmed demonstrators without warning.[2]

  • President Ali Abdullah Saleh has requested that a national dialogue be held under the auspices of the Shura Council.  “We urge a comprehensive dialogue on December 26 that should take place under the constitution and national principles, with all political and social forces . . .” wrote Saleh in a letter.[3]

  • Over 120 Somalis reached the coasts of Taiz and Hadramawt and have been taken to a refugee camp in Mayfaa district in Shabwa province.  36,000 African refugees entered Yemen between January and August, which is a 33% increase from last year.  The UNHCR estimates that approximately 160,000 Somalis are in Yemen; however, official Yemeni statistics place the number at over 800,000 Somalis.[4]

  • General Petraeus said that the U.S. is currently providing security support to Yemen within the framework of a military cooperation agreement.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Review

  • A remote-controlled roadside bomb in the port city of Bossaso in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland killed at least three police officers and injured eight others.  Security forces opened fire after the blast and rounded up over thirty people who could be responsible for the bomb.[6]

  • Heavy fighting in Mogadishu has killed over twenty people and injured thirty-one others.  The fighting was concentrated around the African Union base along Warshadaha Road, where both Hizb al Islam and al Shabaab militants were involved in the fighting.  Stray bullets and mortar shells killed at least twelve civilians.[7]

  • Abdirahman Mohammed Farole, the president of Puntland, has named a new Minister of Information.  Abdihakim Ahmad Guled will assume the position, which has been vacant since the former minister, Warsame Ali Shirwa, was killed by gunmen in August.[8]

  • In Balanbal district in the central Galgudud region, a landmine killed six children from one family as they were gathered to cook dinner.  The mine is believed to have been a remnant from the 1977 Ethiopian-Somali war.[9]

  • Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) officials have issued a warning to oil companies operating in the ethnically Somali region.  The Head of Information Affairs, Hussein Mohamed Nor, has said that companies should realize that fighting continues in the region between the people and Ethiopian troops and that they should not intervene in the conflict.[10]

[1] “Yemeni Fighters, not Saudi, Struck Rebels, Army Spokesman,” Yemen Observer, December 15, 2009.  Available:
[2] “End Harsh Repression in South,” Al Sahwa Net, December 15, 2009.  Available:
[3] “Saleh Urges National Dialog Under Shoura Council,” Saba Net, December 14, 2009.  Available:
[4] “Over 120 Somalis Arrive in Yemen Coasts,” Saba Net, December 15, 2009.  Available:
[5] “U.S. Giving Security Support to Yemen: Petraeus,” Al Arabiya, December 13, 2009.  Available:
[6] “Somali Police Officers Killed by Puntland Bomb,” BBC, December 15, 2009.  Available:
“Landmine Blast Kills Three Soldiers in Bossasso,” Garowe Online, December 15, 2009.  Available:
“Land Mine Blast Kills Four Soldiers, Wounds Nine Others in Bosaso Town,” Shabelle Media Network, December 15, 2009.  Available:
[7] “Scores Killed in Mogadishu Violence,” Garowe Online, December 15, 2009.  Available:
[8] “Puntland President Names New Information Minister,” Garowe Online, December 15, 2009.  Available:
[9] “Land Mine Explosion Kills Six Children of One Family,” Shabelle Media Network, December 14, 2009.  Available:
[10] “ONLF Warns Oil Searching Companies,” Shabelle Media Network, December 15, 2009.  Available:
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