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: Yemeni FM claims that AQAP could target ships in key strait; AQAP leaders call for shari’a law in Yemen; al Houthi rebels leaving Old Sa'ada City; southern separatists kill court guard; up to 130 southern rioters now arrested; al Houthi rebels confirm the death of remaining Saudi captives

Horn of Africa: Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a denies claims of power sharing agreement; deputy commissioner killed in Puntland; pirates apprehended in Gulf of Aden

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi assessed the threat AQAP poses to the key Bab al Mandab strait. Qirbi stated AQAP could attack ships with missiles or seize them in international waters; however, they would not be able to completely control the strait or other critical shipping lanes. The Foreign Minister continued by stating Yemen is preparing for the possibility of land and sea attacks.[1]

  • AQAP leader Nassir al Wuhayshi and deputy leader  Said al Shihri released a video on jihadist forums calling for the implementation of Shari’a law in Yemen due to corruption and anti-Islamic policies adopted by the Yemeni government. Wuhayshi also called for Yemeni Muslims to align with the mujahideen and fight against the “aggressor,” Yemen.[2]

  • The Yemeni committee in charge of supervising the implementation of the ceasefire between the Yemeni government and al Houthi rebels in Sa'ada governorate indicated that the al Houthi rebels are expected to leave the city within the next two days. The al Houthis also reportedly re-opened the Harf Sufayan-al Jawf road and the Barat road.[3]

  • An al Maflahi district court guard in the Lahj governorate was killed by southern separatists in a two car drive-by-shooting. Local sources claim the Taher Tamah gang was behind the killing. The shooting comes after the Lahj Local Council condemned recent separatist rioting and violence in the region.[4]

  • The Yemeni Interior Ministry announced security forces in the Dhale, Lahj, and Hadramout governorates have now arrested up to 130 southern separatist rioters and “destructive elements.” The arrests follow the recent rioting and violent behavior by southern separatists. About 50% of the arrested are said to have been turned over to prosecutors, while the remaining are still under investigation.[5]

  • Al Houthi rebels confirmed the deaths of the two remaining Saudi captives. It was believed the two Saudi soldiers held captive by al Houthi rebels were still alive and pending release. However it was confirmed by al Houthi spokesman Mohammad Abdul Salam that the last two Saudi captives were apparently killed in battle last November in a fight between the rebels and Saudi Arabia. This announcement confirms all Saudi captives are now accounted for; three released under the current ceasefire and two dead.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Chairman of the Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a clerics, Sheik Omar Sheik Mohamed Farah, denied speculation that a power sharing agreement was reached between the clerics and the TFG. Farah stated the two groups did reach an agreement of cooperation.[7]

  • Deputy Commissioner Abdi Keyre Mire of the Bursalah Village in the Mudug region of central Somalia was killed by a group of unidentified gunmen. Reports indicate one other person was wounded in the attack.[8]

  • A boarding team from the USS Farragut boarded a boat of eight pirates trying to hijack a Tanzanian-flagged ship in the Gulf of Aden. The pirates were apprehended and taken aboard the USS Farragut.[9]


[1] “Qaeda Could Target Ships in Key Waterway: Yemen FM,” Zawya, February 23, 2010. Available:
[2] “AQAP Leaders on Need for Islamic Governance in Yemen,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 23, 2010. Available:
[3] “Arabs among Evacuated Houthis in Old Saada- Site,” Yemen Post, February 24, 2010. Available:
[4] “Destructive Gang Kills Court Guard in South Yemen,” Yemen News Agency (SABA), February 24, 2010. Available:
[5] “130 Rioters Arrested in South and East Yemen This Month,” Yemen News Agency (SABA), February 24, 2010. Available:
[6] “Houthi Rebels Affirms Killing of Two Saudi Captives,” Al Sahwa, February 24, 2010. Available:
[7] “Islamist Official Denies Power Sharing Between TFG and Ahlu Sunna Clerics,” Shabelle Media Network, February 24, 2010. Available:
[8] “Gunmen Killed Commissioner in Puntland,” Mareeg Online, February 24, 2010. Available:
[9] “Singapore Led Flagship Apprehends Pirates,” U.S. Naval Forces, 5th Fleet Public Affairs, February 22, 2010. Available:
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