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: Potential al Qaeda suicide bomber arrested; 20 al Houthi insurgents killed by Yemeni security forces; Yemen rejects al Houthi ceasefire; U.S. considers funding and training Yemeni security forces

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab indicates its desire to align  with al Qaeda; two al Shabaab bases were attacked; fighting erupts in southern Somalia between Islamist groups; Djibouti warned by al Shabaab not to deploy troops

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni police forces arrested a potential al Qaeda suicide bomber in the Hardromout governorate. Abdulhabib al Shawish was arrested with explosives strapped around his body. Investigations revealed al Shawish was planning to bomb economic facilities in eastern Yemen.[1]
  • The Yemeni army killed 20 al Houthis while fighting with insurgents in the northern district of Almalaheedh. The fighting came a day after al Houthi leader Abdul Malik Al Houthi accepted a ceasefire issued months ago by the Yemeni government.[2]
  • Along with rejecting the al Houthi ceasefire offer, the government of Yemen issued a new demand towards the insurgents, not to attack Saudi Arabia. While Yemen’s Supreme Defense Council rejected the initial offer, it stated “under a certain framework” it would stop military operations against the insurgents.[3]
  • The U.S. is reportedly considering creating a specific fund for supplying and training Yemeni counterterror forces due to the increase in presence and influence of AQAP in Yemen. U.S. officials fear the money would not be allocated towards counterterror efforts but rather for what the Yemeni government deems more imminent threats, such as the al Houthi insurgency or southern secessionist movement.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Islamist rebel group al Shabaab has  again confirmed that it views itself as a partner of al Qaeda’s in fighting for the global Islamist movement. The group also declared its alliance with a smaller Somali group, Kamboni, which has a large influence in southern Somalia. This is seen as an attempt by al Shabaab to extend its influence in Somalia and strengthen its efforts of imposing Sharia law.[5]
  • Two al Shabaab controlled towns near the Somali-Kenyan border were attacked by pro-government Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a gunmen. Only one death has been confirmed and the group stated they will continue to fight al Shabaab.[6]
  • Fighting between Hizb al Islam and another armed group erupted in a southern Somalia village controlled by Hizb al Islam. Young armed gunmen attacked the Hizb al Islam controlled bases because the group was collecting money through the guise of charity. While the conflict continued for hours, casualties have yet to be determined.[7]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage warned Djibouti from sending troops into Somalia after it was announced it will deploy 450 troops to Somalia.[8]


[1] “Yemen Says Arrests Al Qaeda Suicider,” Yemen Post, January 30, 2010. Available:
[2] “20 Houthi Militants Killed in North,” Yemen Post, January 31, 2010.  Available:
[3] “Yemen Rejects Cease-Fire Offer,” Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2010. Available:
[4] “Pentagon Considers Yemen Fund to Train and Equip Forces,” Yemen Post, January 30, 2010. Available:
[5] “Somali Islamists al-Shabab 'join al-Qaeda fight',” BBC News, February 1, 2010. Available:
[6] “Al Shabaab bases attacked,” Mareeg Online, January 31, 2010. Available:
[7] “Fresh Fighting Between Islamists, Armed Group Breaks Out in Southern Region,” Shabelle Media Network, February 1, 2010. Available:
[8] “Somalia: Al-Shabab warns Djibouti not to deploy troops in Somalia,” Somaliweyn, February 1, 2010. Available:
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