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: AQAP releases biography of Abu Hammam al Qahtani; plot to poison U.S. food supply revealed; Yemeni authorities ask Interpol to make arrests; al Houthi rebels and tribesmen clash in Sa’ada governorate

Horn of Africa: Museveni says attacks will not force Ugandan withdrawal from Somalia; Hizb al Islam spokesman speaks further on merger with al Shabaab; al Shabaab kills boy outside of Mogadishu; clashes in Mogadishu’s Bondhere district kill two people; bomb explodes at UNDP’s main base

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a biography of Abu Hammam al Qahtani, the founder of its media arm, as the fourth part of AQAP’s series, “Martyrs of the Peninsula.”  Qahtani participated in a July 2007 attack on Spanish tourists in Ma’rib governorate, which killed eight people, and was then recruited to join al Qaeda.  He designed the group’s magazine, “Echo of the Epics,” and also served as a trainer in the “Camp of the Martyr Abu al Kheir al Asiri.”  Qahtani was reported to have died in a shoot-out with Saudi security forces in April 2010.[1]
  • The Department of Homeland Security said that the plot revealed yesterday that AQAP intended to poison the U.S. food supply with ricin and cyanide was similar to other plots openly discussed on jihadist forums.  An official added that the plot is not new, “We’re talking months, not weeks (ago), that this came into the threat stream.”[2]
  • Yemeni authorities submitted a request to Interpol seeking the arrest of 90 individuals.  36 of those named are accused of terrorism.  According to a Yemeni official, the most dangerous individuals on the list are: Samee Hameed Abdullah al Dhele, Abdul Hamid Mohammed Abdullah al Hubaishi, Abdullah Omar Hajjam al Hassani, Mohamed Ali Abdullah al Nashiri, and Mohammed Ameen Mohammed al Zubiadi.[3]
  • Al Houthi rebels and tribesmen fought in Sa’ada governorate when Sheikh Othman Mujalli’s tribesmen attempted to establish a checkpoint in al Abdien district.  Sources report the use of heavy weapons and that many were killed on both sides.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said in a statement, “Uganda will not succumb to terrorist activities…. After the World Cup tournament bomb blasts that rocked Kampala, Al-Shebab wrongly believed that Ugandans would abandon their Somali brothers and sisters….The continued stay in Somalia by Ugandan troops proved to the Somalis that Uganda is a reliable ally.”[5]
  • Hizb al Islam spokesman Mohamed Osman Arus spoke further on the merger with al Shabaab.  He said, “This does not mean we were captured…. We always had a common goal and now the objective is to increase our efforts to oust the so-called Somali government and its foreign allies.”[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants shot and killed a Somali teenager in the KM 13 village outside of Mogadishu.  The boy had his hair forcibly cut off and then tried to escape, which is when he was shot.  Shabelle Media Network reports that in mid-October, four people were killed and 12 others injured in Harardhere district in the central Mudug region when Hizb al Islam militants opened fire on demonstrators protesting the beating of village teenagers.[7]
  • Clashes in Mogadishu between al Shabaab militants and TFG and AMISOM forces in Bondhere district in Mogadishu killed two people and injured several others.[8]
  • A bomb exploded at the UN Development Program’s main base near the KM-4 intersection in Mogadishu and three hand grenades were thrown into the compound guarded by AMISOM troops.  No casualties have been reported and no one has claimed responsibility.[9]

[1] “AQAP Releases Biography of Slain Media Unit Founder,” SITE Intel Group, December 21, 2010.  Available at SITE.
“AQAP Military Commander Gives Eulogies for Slain AQAP Officials,” SITE Intel Group, May 17, 2010. Available at SITE.
[2] “Al-Qaeda Group ‘Considered’ Poisoning US Food,” AFP, December 22, 2010.  Available:
[3] “Yemen Tells Interpol to Arrest 36 Terrorists, 53 Criminals,” Yemen Observer, December 22, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Clashes Between Houthis and Tribesmen in Sa’ada Province,” Yemen Post, December 22, 2010.  Available:
[5] “Attacks Won’t Chase Uganda From Somalia: Museveni,” AFP, December 22, 2010.  Available:
[6] “Rival Group Agrees to Back Somalia’s Shabaab Rebels,” Reuters, December 22, 2010.  Available:
[7] “Al Shabaab Kills Teenager in Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, December 22, 2010.  Available:
[8] “Somali Forces, al Shabaab Clash in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, December 22, 2010.  Available:
[9] “Bomb Explosion Targeted at UNDP Base in Mogadishu,” Raxanreeb Radio, December 22, 2010. Available:
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