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: Al Houthis reportedly withdrew from old city of Sa’ada; Yemen investing money in Tarim to increase tourism; Yemen to sign agreements with Saudi Arabia on Saturday; over 40 human traffickers arrested

Horn of Africa: AU seeks more direct funding for TFG; IDPs protest water shortage; TFG to discuss return of WFP in southern Somalia; Hizb al Islam accused by al Shabaab of planting explosives in Bakara market

Yemen Security Brief

  • A source from the ceasefire committee reported that the al Houthi rebels have withdrawn from their strongholds in Sa’ada city, per the agreement reached on February 11.  Earlier, the rebels said the Yemeni army refused to lift a siege on the city and prevented residents from entering their home.[1]

  • Yemen is working on reviving tourism in Tarim in Hadramawt by fixing potholes, painting mosques, and renovating historic buildings.  Tarim is scheduled to become the next “capital of Islamic culture,” a title that rotates annually.  Tourism has suffered after an al Qaeda suicide bomber killed four South Korean tourists in a city in Hadramawt last year.[2]

  • The Preparatory Committee of the Yemeni-Saudi Coordination Council closed discussions in Riyadh and announced that there will be nine agreements signed on Saturday.  These include grants to finance water and sanitation projects, education, health, tourism, and other sectors of Yemen.[3]

  • Yemen announced that it has arrested over 40 human trafficking suspects in its efforts to prevent the movement of Islamists from the Horn of Africa.  The government has also closed off all water canals.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Wafula Wamunyinyi, the deputy special representative for the African Union Commission for Somalia, said that the Transitional Federal Government has increased the capacity and accountability of its state institutions and can now handle increased direct funding.  According to Wamunyinyi, over half of the $213 million pledged has been received and an additional Burundian and Ugandan battalion are awaiting deployment.[5]

  • Somali IDPs protested the shortage of water in their camps on the outskirts of Mogadishu.  Aid agencies have stopped providing water to the IDPs due to security concerns.[6]

  • The Somali Minister of International Relations, Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, announced that the Transitional Federal Government would seek the return of humanitarian aid in southern Somalia from the World Food Program.  This follows the official end of incoming aid from the WFP after it was banned by al Shabaab.[7]

  • Al Shabaab has accused Hizb al Islam of planting explosives in Bakara’s medical stores, fuel center, and at the Baar Ubax intersection.  Mohammed Ma’alin Ali, the spokesman for Hizb al Islam, has denied responsibility for the blasts and noted that his group was still committed to the unification of Islamist fighters in Somalia.[8]

[1] “Yemen’s Northern Rebels Quit Stronghold – Source,” Reuters, February 25, 2010.  Available:
[2] “Yemen Tries to revive Remote Region Hit by al Qaeda,” Reuters, February 25, 2010.  Available:
[3] “SAR 430 mln agreements to be signed by Yemeni-Saudi Council,” Saba Net, February 25, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Yemen Arrests Over 40 Human Traffickers,” Yemen Post, February 25, 1010.  Available:
[5] “Somalia Can Handle More Funds Directly: AU,” Reuters, February 25, 2010.  Available:
[6] “IDPs Stage Demo in Mogadishu Outskirts Over Water Shortage,” Garowe Online, February 25, 2010.  Available:
[7] “Minister – ‘We Will Talk to WFP to Return its Humanity Aid to South Region,’” Shabelle Media Network, February 25, 2010.  Available:
[8] “Insurgent Groups at Loggerheads Over Recent Bombings,” Garowe Online, February 24, 2010.  Available:
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