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: AQAP militants collect remains of crashed U.S. drone; Saleh continues tour of infantry units; Yemeni cabinet approves pension increase for military and security personnel; prime minister says unrest benefits AQAP; Australian security official claims 22 Australian citizens are training with AQAP

Horn of Africa: Gunmen assassinate former Puntland judge; Ahlu Sunna condemns extension of parliamentary mandate; TFG minister says that parliamentary extension was made without approval of TFG

Yemen Security Brief

  • A device suspected to be a U.S. spy drone crashed in the village of Jahayn, near the town of Lawder in Abyan governorate. Local police retrieved the debris, but suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants intercepted the police en route to their headquarters and stole the wreckage before fleeing. No casualties were reported. A police official told AFP that he believed the drone was a Predator, adding that it was likely “monitoring the movements of al Qaeda partisans, who have a strong presence” in the area.[1]
  • President Saleh’s personal website reported that Saleh visited the camps of the First and Second Mountain Infantry Brigades. At each base, Saleh spoke to the soldiers and assured them that the Yemeni administration recognized the value of a loyal and effective military and promised to secure further benefits for military personnel.[2]
  • SABA News, Yemen’s News Agency, reported that the Yemeni Cabinet approved the third stage of President Saleh’s promised financial reforms, granting a 50 percent increase in pension to retired defense and security personnel.[3]
  • Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Mujawar told CNN that the political unrest in Yemen could benefit AQAP, saying “everything is possible. Those extremists who are in Yemen found a suitable environment where there is poverty and unemployment.” Mujawar noted that the “complex and difficult” terrain of Yemen affords AQAP militants a myriad of places to hide.[4]
  • Australian Homeland Security Asia Pacific director Roger Hennings told the Australian Associated Press that “the government of Australia is aware of the identify of 22 Australians who went missing four months ago” and are believed to be training in AQAP camps, adding “they just got to Yemen and disappeared.” Hennings claimed that a total of 66 Australian citizens and residents are believed to be training abroad with al Qaeda and other extremist groups, and called attention to the weak state of Australia’s airport security, concluding “we don’t want to be alarmist, we want to be proactive.”[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unknown gunmen shot and killed Sheikh Hussein, a former court judge in the Puntland administration, as he left a mosque in the town of Galkayo in the Mudug region. Local police officer Adam Nor has stated that he believes al Shabaab militants carried out the killing.[6]  
  • Sheikh Omar Abdulkadir Adam, chairman of the consultation committee of Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a, told Shabelle Media Network that Ahlu Sunna is strongly against the extension of the mandate of the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) and will not accept the decision.[7]
  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) deputy minister of Sports and Labor Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig told Shabelle Media Network that the TFP’s decision to extend its own mandate three years was made in haste, adding that the TFG was not aware of the decision until after the fact.[8]

[1] “Suspected U.S. Spy Drone ‘Crashes in Yemen,’” AFP, February 8, 2011. Available:
[2] “Saleh Visits 1st and 2nd Mountain Infantry Brigades,” Website of President Saleh, February 7, 2011. Available:
[3] “Gov’t Approves Payroll for Phase III of Wages Strategy as of February,” Saba News, February 8, 2011. Available:
[4] Mohammed Jamjoom, “No Egypt-Style Protests in Yemen, Says Prime Minister,” CNN, February 8, 2011. Available:
[5] “Australian Terrorist Threat to Airports,” Sky News Australia, February 8, 2011. Available:
[6] “Court Official of Puntland Administration Killed In Galka’o City,” Mareeg Online, February 8, 2011. Available:
[7] “Ahlu Sunna: We are Against Somali Parliament Mandate Extension,” Shabelle Media Network, February 8, 2011. Available:
[8] “TFG: Parliament’s Term Extension by Three Years Was Hasty Decision,” Shabelle Media Network, February 8, 2011. Available:
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