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: Al Houthi rebels threaten government with retaliation; Feltman says WikiLeaks will not affect U.S.-Yemeni relationship; Yemeni security forces shut down opposition’s protests

Horn of Africa: TFG says aid agencies still permitted operations in Somalia; TFG president says country under attack by foreign fighters; Ethiopia reaffirms commitment to Somalia’s security; clashes in Hodan district in Mogadishu; al Shabaab gains more territory in Lower Shabelle region; Hizb al Islam only controls Afgoi; al Shabaab militants cut off hand of teenage boy; AMISOM issues apology for damage done to Shabelle Radio building; Puntland security forces round up suspected al Shabaab supporters

Yemen Security Brief

  • The al Houthi rebels have warned the government that it will respond to the “brutal massacre” that occurred in the Political Security prison in Sa’ada.  The group says it will force the release of its detained members and warned the authorities against targeting any of its followers.[1]
  • U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said that the U.S.’s “work with the Yemeni government on security issues is done with the permission, coordination, request of the Yemen government.”  The WikiLeaks cables will not affect the U.S.’s relationship with Yemen.  Feltman added, “Our policy toward Yemen remains that we want to have a long-term partnership with the people and government of Yemen.”[2]
  • Yemeni security forces shut down opposition parties’ demonstrations in Sana’a.  The opposition says that if its demands are not met, it will boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) issued a statement clarifying that the government has not suspended the work of any humanitarian agencies and renewing a call for opposition groups within Somalia to allow agencies to operate.  The media reported that the TFG’s deputy minister at the water, energy, and mining ministry, Abdurahman Yusuf Farah, had said that the ministry had issued a statement suspending the work of several agencies, including UNICEF, the Red Cross, Concern, the Norwegian Refugee Council, and the Danish Refugee Council, for failure to attend a meeting.[4]
  • TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said, “The country is under attack by foreign invaders who are culprits in their origin countries.  Misfortunately they get help from people who have no nationalism.”  The president called on the military to free the country from these foreigners.[5]
  • Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and TFG Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed met to discuss the security situation in Somalia.  Zenawi reaffirmed Ethiopia’s commitment to African Union efforts in Somalia and added that the Ethiopian government will work closely with the TFG.[6]
  • Fighting between al Shabaab militants and TFG soldiers backed by AMISOM peacekeepers broke out in Hodan district Tuesday morning.  The fighting reportedly began at 5:45 am and ended an hour later.  The clashes reportedly killed three people and injured seven others.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants took over the village of Toratorow in the Lower Shabelle region from Hizb al Islam.  Reportedly, Hizb al Islam militants had deserted the town overnight.  Local residents report that al Shabaab also has control over Furuqley, Farsooley, and Dugulle villages in the Lower Shabelle region.  Witnesses also report that al Shabaab militants are now in control of Bur-Hakaba town.  Hizb al Islam leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys reportedly said, “We [Hizb al Islam] will die for Afgoi or win from Shabab.”  Afgoi district is the only remaining district completely under Hizb al Islam’s control.[8]
  • Al Shabaab militants cut off the hand of a teenage boy charged with theft in public in Diinsoor district in Bay region.  An al Shabaab judge, Sheikh Mohammed Adow, said that the boy had confessed to stealing money and other materials.[9]
  • AMISOM issues an apology for hitting the building of Shabelle Radio and promised to immediately repair the building.  AMISOM also offered to erect military barriers around the perimeter.[10]
  • Puntland security forces rounded up over 130 individuals on Tuesday in Boosaaso.  Awil Osman, known as Ilka Dahab, a Puntland police officer, reported that many of those arrested had ties to al Shabaab.[11]


[1] “Al-Houthi Warns Authorities of Fierce Response,” Al Sahwa Net, December 14, 2010.  Available:
[2] “US Official Says Leaks Did Not Hurt Yemen Ties,” AP, December 14, 2010.  Available:
[3] “Security Forces Break up Opposition Protest,” Yemen Observer, December 15, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Somali Government Clarifies Deputy Minister’s Comments on Aid Agencies,” Government of Somalia Press Release, December 15, 2010.  Available:
“Somalia Suspends UNICEF, Red Cross Operations,” AFP, December 14, 2010.  Available:
[5] “Somalia President Calls for War Against Foreign Criminals,” Sunatimes, December 14, 2010.  Available:
[6] “Ethiopia Holds Talks with Somalia,” Xinhua News, December 15, 2010.  Available:
[7] “Dawn Battle Erupts in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, December 14, 2010.  Available:
“Somali Government Forces, Islamist Militia Clash in Mogadishu; Three Dead,” Bloomberg, December 14, 2010.  Available:
[8] “Al Shabaab Takes Over Parts of Somalia From Hizb al Islam,” Shabelle Media Network, December 14, 2010. Available:
“Al-Shabab Takes Over Control of Several Villages Under Hizbul Islam’s Control in Southern Somalia,” All Voices, December 14, 2010.  Available:
“Hisbul-Islam Militias Decide to Fight with al-Shabab,” Mareeg Online, December 15, 2010.  Available:
[9] “Al Shabaab Cuts off Teenager’s Hand in Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, December 14, 2010.  Available:
[10] “AMISOM Apologizes for Destroying Part of Radio Station,” All Headline News, December 14, 2010.  Available:
[11] “Somalia,s Puntland Arrests al Shabaab Suspected Elements,” Mareeg Online, December 15, 2010.  Available:
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