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: General David Petraeus assesses AQAP threat; Yemeni forces arrest 80 separatists amid violence and unrest; southern separatists assassinate police chief; Yemen tightens coastal security and arrests 46 Somali refugees; Yemen orders the Coast Guard to shutdown main waterways

Horn of Africa: Explosion in Mogadishu leaves three dead; al Shabaab declares victory in central Somalia fighting; al Shabaab kills southern tribal chief; al Shabaab targeted by roadside bomb; Hizb al Islam officials arrested by al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. General David Petraeus stated the threat of al Qaeda is diminishing in the Middle East and South Asia, except for in Yemen. General Petraeus said progress has been made in Iraq and Pakistan but that al Qaeda remains “flexible” and “adaptable.” Petraeus continued the assessment of al Qaeda by stating, “It may be barbaric. It may believe in extremist ideology as it does, but this is a thinking, adaptive enemy. We must maintain pressure on it everywhere. It is a network.”[1]
  • Yemeni forces arrested 80 suspected southern separatists after secessionists attacked an army post, burnt northern-owned businesses, and attempted to shutdown a main road.[2]
  • Director of Criminal Investigations in the southern Dhaleh province, Ali Ahmed al Halimi, was killed in an ambush by southern separatists in the city of Dayla. The attack came after a call was made by prominent secession leader Tariq al Fadhli for southern Yemenis to launch an “intifada”.[3]
  • Yemeni forces tightened security measures in an effort to put “Somali refugees” and “African infiltrators” under stricter security control. The measures taken were mainly due to the increase of potential terrorist elements from the Horn of Africa. Yemeni security forces also arrested 46 Somali refugees at the coastal town of Dhubab and sent them to the Kharaz refugee camp in the Lahj governorate.[4]
  • The Yemeni Interior Ministry ordered the Coast Guard to shutdown main waterways to prevent “terrorist elements in the Horn of Africa” from entering the country. Sources at the Coast Guard stated Yemen cannot secure its entire 2,400 km coastline and refugees and other “African infiltrators” are entering Yemen through informal passages.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • An explosion left three dead in Mogadishu. No group has claimed responsibility, and there is no indication of what the intended target was..[6]
  • Islamist militant group al Shabaab declared victory in its fight with TFG forces in the central Somali region of Galgudud. No comments about the fight or victory have been made as of yet by TFG forces. Two TFG soldiers allegedly died and others turned their weapons over to the terrorists.[7]
  • A tribal chief from the southern Somali village of Warmahan was shot dead by an al Shabaab militant. A witness claimed the chief was killed after he argued with the militant. The militant did not flee the village and continues to reside in the village conducting business in the area.[8]
  • Al Shabaab official Shiekh Fu’ad Mohamed Qalaf, known as Shongole, survived an assassination attempt after a roadside bomb went off in the Bar Ubah neighborhood in Mogadishu. No group has claimed responsibility for the bomb as of yet; however, witnesses stated al Shabaab killed three people after the explosion, some suggesting they were Hizb al Islam militants.[9]
  • Al Shabaab militants arrested three Hizb al Islam officials accusing them of being responsible for the roadside bomb attack which targeted an al Shabaab official. Local residents claim the Hizb al Islam officials were captured in the Bakaro Market in Mogadishu and will be brought before a court.[10]


[1] “Petraeus singles out Al-Qaeda threat in Yemen,” AFP, February 21, 2010. Available:
[2] “Yemen arrests 80 separatists over southern unrest | World | Reuters,” Reuters – Africa, February 22, 2010. Available:
[3] “'Separatists' Kill Police Chief, Soldier in Yemen,” Yahoo, February 19, 2010. Available:
[4] “Security Tighten Measures against African Inflators; Yemen Arrests 46 Somali Refugees,” Yemen Post, February 20, 2010. Available:
[5] “Yemen Closes Waterways against Illegal African Migrants,” News Yemen, February 22, 2010. Available:
[6] “Deadly Explosions Occurs, Kills Three in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, February 22, 2010. Available:
[7] “Harakat Al-Shabab Mujahideen Claims Victory Over Fighting in Central Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, February 21, 2010. Available:
[8] “Al Shabaab Kills A Clan Chief in Southern Town,” Mareeg Online, February 21, 2010. Available:
[9] “Roadside Bomb Targets Al Shabaab Official,” Mareeg Online, February 22, 2010. Available:
[10] “ Al Shabaab Arrests Hizbul Islam Officials,” Mareeg Online, February 22, 2010. Available:
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