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: Gunmen kill three Yemeni soldiers in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate; clashes in Habilain in Lahij governorate kill five people; U.S. State Department confirms attack in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Second anti-piracy force considered in Mogadishu; continued clashes in Mogadishu kill at least 20 people; President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed speaks at military base; Saudi Arabia deports Somali refugees to Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Gunmen opened fire on a military base in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate.  The attack killed three Yemeni soldiers and wounded seven others.  An official reported that three attackers left on motorbikes.  A soldier said that the attackers arrived on three motorbikes and in two minibuses and fired machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and launched grenades during the attack.[1]
  • Clashes that erupted after soldiers shot and killed a wanted Southern Movement member, Abbas Tanbaj, in Habilain in Lahij governorate killed four Yemeni soldiers and an army officer.  Eight additional people are reported wounded, including five soldiers, two militants, and a civilian.[2]
  • The U.S. State Department confirmed that a U.S. embassy vehicle was attacked in Hadda, a Sana’a suburb, while parked in front of a restaurant frequented by Westerners.  The four embassy personnel were in the car and were not injured during the attack.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Associated Press reports that Somalia is considering permitting Saracen International, a private security company, to train a 1,000-man anti-piracy force in Mogadishu.  Somali Ambassador Mohamed Ali Nur said that this force, which would be the second such anonymously funded force, would strike the pirates on land.  A second program to train 300 men to be presidential guards is also under consideration.[4]
  • Radio Garowe reports that at least 20 people were killed and another 35 wounded in the fighting that has continued since Wednesday night in Mogadishu.  AMISOM forced reportedly responded to attacks by al Shabaab on the supply route, Makka al Mukarama road, with the shelling of al Shabaab positions.  AMISOM spokesman, Major Barigye Ba-Hoku, denied that AMISOM shelled Bakara Market and added that it is not an approved target.[5]
  • President of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed spoke at Villa Baidoa, the main military base in Mogadishu, Thursday and said, “We have spent the last days with the army here and I can tell you that we have already collected sufficient information to improve and reorganize the security forces.”  Ahmed added, “I can assure you that the armed forces will bring about the required changes to the situation across the country and in Mogadishu in particular… We are in the final stages of fully preparing the national armed forces.”  He also expressed concern over the recent clashes between Hizb al Islam and al Shabaab because of the effect that they have on the people.[6]
  • Shabelle Radio reports that 150 Somalis were deported back to Mogadishu from Saudi Arabia on Friday.[7]

[1]“Gunmen Kill Three Yemen Soldiers in South,” AFP, December 17, 2010.  Available:
[2] “South Yemen Clashes Death Toll Rises to Five,” AFP, December 17, 2010.  Available:
[3] “American Embassy Vehicle Attacked Outside of Sana’a, Yemen,” U.S. Department of State, December 16, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Somalia Mulls Privately Trained Anti-Piracy Force,” AP, December 17, 2010.  Available:
[5] “Somalia: 20 Killed, 35 Wounded in Mogadishu Attacks,” Garowe Online, December 17, 2010.  Available:
“AMISOM: Our Forces Don’t Shell Bakaara Market,” Shabelle Media Network, December 17, 2010.  Available:
“Somali President: Our Forces Ready to Take on Insurgents,” All Headline News, December 17, 2010.  Available:
[7] “Somalis Forcibly Deported from Saudi Land at Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, December 17, 2010.  Available:
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