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: A December 2009 cable confirms that U.S. military aid being used to fight al Houthis; three al Qaeda members sentenced in Hadramawt

Horn of Africa: Clan fighting in Mudug region leaves 20 people dead, 25 wounded; al Shabaab releases statement about fighting in Bondhere district; al Shabaab statement describes symposium in Banaadir province; one dead and five injured in Bakara market shelling; 100 Somali women protest ongoing fighting in Mogadishu; Yemeni foreign fighting killed in Mogadishu fighting; WikiLeaks discloses cable concerning the creation of a buffer zone in Jubaland, Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • A December 2009 cable released by WikiLeaks has confirmed U.S. concerns that military aid to Yemen is being used to fight President Saleh’s internal enemies as opposed to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  According to the cable, a U.S. trained and funded counterterrorism unit was sent to Sa’ada governorate in north Yemen to combat the al Houthi rebels.  The cable reads, “Increasingly desperate to defeat the Houthis, the [Yemeni government] continues to insist that fighting the Houthis is a legitimate component of CT [counterterrorism] operations, thus justifying the use of CTU forces in Sa’ada.”[1]
  • Three alleged al Qaeda members were sentenced to jail terms of four to six years by a court in Hadramawt governorate.  The men were accused of carrying arms and of planning attacks on oil facilities and Yemeni security forces.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Clan fighting in the Mudug region of central Somalia has left at least 20 people dead and 25 wounded.  Fighting between the Majerteen and Sa’ad clans began over access to land and water.[3]
  • Al Shabaab released a statement reporting three days of attacks on TFG and AMISOM troops in Bondhere district in Mogadishu.  According to the statement, the Mustafa Abu al Yazid battalion resisted an offensive by enemy forces and proceeded to defeat them through a series of attacks.  A second al Shabaab statement discussed a symposium held in Heliwa district in Banadir region called “The Harvest of Democracy in Hargeisa.”  The symposium was a reaction to reports of a German man having relations with Somaliland women, who al Shabaab claimed “did this because he knows that the area is ruled by democracy!!”[4]
  • One person is dead and at least five more injured after shelling in Bakara market in Mogadishu.[5]
  • Around 100 Somali women have gathered in Mogadishu to protest the ongoing fighting between government and peacekeeping forces and militant Islamist forces.  One of the women said, “Everybody knows that the fighting never brings benefits except dying civilians or injuring.  So we are kindly asking to all those who are fighting to cease it.  We are saying to you please and please stop fighting.  Stop killing the mothers, children and the others.  Change the fighting to dialogue.”[6]
  • A Yemeni man fighting with al Shabaab was killed in clashes in Mogadishu on Sunday.  Rabah Abu Qalid, alternatively Rajah Abu Khalid, is one of the estimated 300-1,200 foreign fighters operating in Somalia.[7]
  • A February 2010 cable uncovered by WikiLeaks discloses a Kenyan plan to create a buffer zone along the border between Kenya and Somalia in Jubaland.  The purpose of the initiative is to prevent the movement of arms and refugees across the border.  Ethiopian Prime Minster Zenawi expressed concern in the cable, partly over Kenya’s ability to execute the plan and partly over the stability of the nearby Ethiopian region Ogaden, which has a strong Somali presence.[8]

[1] “Yemen Diverted US Counterterrorism Aid Meant to Tackle al Qaeda, WikiLeaks Reveals,” Christian Science Monitor, December 6, 2010. Available:
[2] “Yemeni Court Jails Three al-Qaeda Suspects,” AFP, December 6, 2010. Available:
[3] “Clan Fighting in Central Somalia Kills 20,” AP, December 7, 2010. Available:
[4] “Shabaab Strikes in Bondere, Holds Symposium,” SITE Intel Group, December 6, 2010. Available at SITE.
[5] “Shelling Kills 1 and Injuries 5 Others in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, December 7, 2010. Available:
[6] “Somali Women: We Call for Rivals to Stop Deadly Clashes,” Mareeg Online, December 7, 2010. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Yemen-Born ‘Foreign Fighter’ Killed in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, December 6, 2010. Available:
[8] “Ethiopia and Kenya Differ on Somalia,” Daily Nation, December 5, 2010. Available:
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