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: Opposition leader to be released; Saleh orders release of al Houthi rebels; clashes in Sa’ada city kill tribal sheikh, injure two other people

Horn of Africa: Somali parliament suspends foreign contracts; China pledges $4 million to AMISOM; clashes in Mogadishu kill 17 people; Aweys warns Uganda and Burundi; fighting occurs in Hiraan district; Ethiopians troops reportedly clash with Somali government troops over soldier’s arrest

Yemen Security Brief

  • Mohammed Ghaleb Ahmed, a leader of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), will be released today due to “lack of evidence” against him.  He was accused of offering $50,000 to militants to “sabotage” the soccer tournament, the Gulf Cup, in November.[1]
  • Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered the release of 500 al Houthi rebels from Yemeni prisons as part of the first stage of the ongoing ceasefire negotiations, according to Mohammed Albasha, the embassy spokesman.  Sources say 150 rebels have already been released.  The rebels are to surrender weapons seized during the fighting as a reciprocal move.[2]
  • Clashes between al Houthi rebels and tribesmen killed a tribal sheikh and injured two other people in the old city of Sa’ada.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somalia’s parliament passed a resolution that suspended government contracts with foreign companies, including with Saracen International.[4]
  • China has pledged $4 million to the African Union for the provision of aid to the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The money will be put toward supplying equipment and materials for AMISOM forces.[5]
  • Clashes in Mogadishu between al Shabaab and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM forces killed at least 17 people on Tuesday.  The fighting was centered in the Hodan, Bondhere and Abdi Aziz districts.  Witnesses report that 8 civilians died when two artillery shells struck in Karan and Hawl Wadag districts.  AMISOM commander, Major General Nathan Mugisha, condemned the shelling of civilian residences.[6]
  • Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, formerly the leader of Hizb al Islam; Sheikh Fuad Mohamed Khalaf (Shongole), al Shabaab’s propaganda chief; and Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage (Ali Dhere), al Shabaab’s spokesman, appeared at a public rally in Afgoi, outside of Mogadishu.  Aweys threatened Uganda and Burundi to “pull out your troops or they will return to you dead.”[7]
  • Al Shabaab and government forces clashed outside of Beledweyne in the central Hiraan region at Elgal and Kalabeyr junctions.  Ahmed Osman Abdalle, a government commander said that there was also an attempted suicide attack against his troops.[8]
  • Shabelle reports that Somali government troops clashed with Ethiopian troops in Hiraan region in Jawil district, outside of Beledweyne.  The Ethiopians attempted to take a Somali soldier into custody.[9]

[2] “Yemen Releases Hundreds of Shiite Rebels,” AFP, December 30, 2010.  Available:
“Yemen Freeing Insurgents Under Peace Deal,” CNN, December 30, 2010.  Available:
[3] “Tribal Chief Killed, Two Citizens Wounded in Sa’adah,” Yemen Observer, December 30, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Somali Parliament Orders Contracts Suspended,” AP, December 30, 2010.  Available:
[5] “China Donates Over 4 Million Dollars Worth of Aid for the AU Mission in Somalia,” AMISOM Press Release, December 24, 2010.  Available:
[6] “Somalia: 17 Dead in Mogadishu Clashes, Aweys Praises al Shabaab,” Garowe Online, December 29, 2010.  Available:
“Press Release: AMISOM Condemns Attack on Civilians,” Mareeg Online, December 30, 2010.  Available:
[7] “Somalia: 17 Dead in Mogadishu Clashes, Aweys Praises al Shabaab,” Garowe Online, December 29, 2010.  Available:
[8] “Shabab and Government Forces Fight in Hiiraan Region,” Mareeg Online, December 30, 2010.  Available:
“Somali Forces, al Shabaab Battle in Hiran,” Shabelle Media Network, December 30, 2010.  Available:
[9] “Somali Forces, Ethiopian Military Clash in Central Somalia,” Shabelle Media Net, December 30, 2010.  Available:
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