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: Yemen’s Foreign Ministry claims WikiLeaks document is inaccurate; Yemeni vice president says U.S. role in Yemen is only to provide technical support; Yemen will receive biggest increase in Red Cross aid in 2011

Horn of Africa: Unknown donor nation funding 1,050-man anti-piracy force in Puntland; six dead in fighting between al Shabaab and Hizb al Islam in Burhakaba; Burundi sends 850 soldiers to Somalia, brings AMISOM force to 8,000; Kenya asks that a new piracy court be established in the region; al Shabaab accuses Puntland of allowing missionaries to set up Christian schools in the region; former President’s brother shot in Puntland

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemen’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on Wednesday saying that the document recording a conversation between President Saleh and Gen. Petreaus that was included in the WikiLeaks leak was inaccurate.  According to the WikiLeaks document, Yemeni forces have been taking credit for U.S. missile strikes against al Qaeda operatives in Yemen.[1]
  • In response to the WikiLeaks claim that the U.S. has a military role in the conflict in Yemen, Yemeni Vice President Abed Rabbo Monsour Hadi said that the U.S. provides only technical support in the fight against al Qaeda.  According to Hadi, the role of the U.S. is in assisting with equipment and intelligence, and “this was the case even before the attempt to carry out terror attacks with the parcels.”[2]
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross has asked its donors to pledge $1.2 billion to fund its aid projects in 2011, the highest sum ever.  The country that will receive the biggest increase in aid is Yemen, due to its high number of IDP’s and refugees.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The AP reports that an unknown donor nation is funding the training and equipping of a 1,050-man anti-piracy force in Puntland.  The nation is also paying for the services of former Bush-advisor Pierre Prosper as an advisor to the Somali government and Michael Shanklin, former CIA chief in Mogadishu, as a security advisor and liaison between the unnamed donor country and the Somali government.  ICG analyst E.J. Hogendoorn voiced the concern that, “We don’t know if this unknown entity is operating in the interests of Somalis or their own self interest…  If it’s a company, there has to be a quid pro quo in terms of (oil and gas) concessions.  If it’s a government, they are interested in changing the balance of power.”  A Ugandan-based private security firm called Saracen International has been named as providing the training for the force, although they deny it, claiming that the sources naming Saracen were referring to a firm of the same name in Lebanon, which has no record of existing.  It is estimated that the unnamed country has already spent $10 million on the force.[4]
  •  A day after al Shabaab took control of Burhakaba in the Bay region, fighting between al Shabaab and Hizb al Islam in the town left at least six fighters dead and ten wounded.  Fighting broke out with Hizb al Islam militants attacked newly established al Shabaab bases in the town.[5]
  • Burundi has sent 850 soldiers to the AMISOM force in Somalia, bringing the total number of peacekeepers on the ground nearly to the full strength of 8,000.[6]
  • Kenya has taken on the burden of trying Somali pirates captured by international anti-piracy ships and is now asking that a piracy court be established in a third country.  It is currently unclear who would fund a new court.[7]
  • Al Shabaab is accusing Somaliland of allowing Christian missionaries to open schools in the region and teach Christianity to their students.  Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage said at a gathering in Mogadishu, “The government of Somaliland agreed a framework of establishing new Christian schools in many parts of their region.  I am urging the leaders to shut down this process of teaching Christianity and democracy which supports gays.”[8]
  • Col. Warsameh Yusuf Ahmed, brother of the former TFG president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, is in critical condition after being shot by three masked men in Galkayo in Mudug region in Puntland.[9]

[1] “Yemen Says WikiLeaks Information Inaccurate,” AP, December 1, 2010. Available:
[2] “Yemen Says US Aid is Limited to Logistical and Technical Support,” Saba Net, December 2, 2010. Available:
[3] “Red Cross Asks Donors for $1.2B to Fund 2011 Work,” AP, December 2, 2010. Available:
[4] “1,000 Man Militia Being Trained in North Somalia,” AP, December 1, 2010. Available:
[5] “Six Islamist Commanders Killed in a Second Day Fighting b/w Hizbul Islam, al-Shabab,” Mareeg Online, December 2, 2010. Available:
[6] “Burundi Sends 850 Peacekeeping Soldiers to Somalia,” Mareeg Online, December 2, 2010. Available:
[7] “Kenya Wants Somali Piracy Court Set Up in Region,” Reuters, December 1, 2010. Available:
[8] “Somalia: ‘Christian Schools Opened in Somaliland’-Al Shabaab,” Garowe Online, December 2, 2010. Available:
[9] “Somalia: Former President’s Brother Shot, Wounded in Puntland,” All Headline News, December 2, 2010. Available:,%20Wounded%20In%20Puntland
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