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: Five al Qaeda members reported dead; al Qaeda denies Yemeni government reports of its leaders’ deaths; Ysusf al-Shehri – not Saeed al-Shehri – was captured by the Yemeni government; Islamic scholars warn against foreign intervention

Horn of Africa: Somalia and Yemen exchanging militants; 16 members of the Somali Parliament arrested in Nairobi; thousands of IDPs further displaced; duel explosions rock Somalia’s Galkayo; Puntland MP killed, suspect caught

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni Ministry of Interior confirmed the deaths of five AQAP members in an air force campaign last Friday. The ambush occurred in al Ajasher, located between the al Jawf governorate and al Booq’ district, near the Yemeni-Saudi border. The most senior member confirmed killed in the attack is Qasim al Raymi, AQAP’s military commander. It was also noted two of the AQAP members killed in the attack, Ammar al Wa’eli and Saleh al Tais, were selling weapons and ammunition to the al Houthis for operational funding.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) denies government reports of its leaders, including Qasim al Raymi, being killed in air strikes late last week. AQAP stated its leaders have suffered mild injuries and the Yemeni government has been making false claims about its advances in disrupting and dismantling AQAP’s activity in the region. Muttahar al Masri, Yemen's interior minister, has promised further attacks on AQAP in the future.[2]
  • The Yemen Observer corrected a previous report that stated Saeed al Shehri, deputy Emir (leader) of AQAP was captured. The captured al Qaeda militant turned out to be a low ranking militant named Ysusf al Shehri. Al Shehri was arrested, along with the rest of the militants in his company, as his car flipped over in a high speed chase in the Sylan district of the Shabwah province.[3]
  • Over 150 Islamic scholars from all the Yemeni governorates issued and signed a fatwah stating their rejection of any foreign intervention in Yemen’s affairs. The scholars stated any intervention will be rejected and a call for jihad will be made against foreign forces. Sheikh Abdul Majid al Zindani suggested foreign forces are trying to exploit the country’s riches through propaganda of their government collapsing.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabab stated it was exchanging fighters with AQAP. The group stated it, along with Muslims in other Islamic nations such as Yemen, is fighting for freedom against Western involvement and influence in their country, of which it cited Somalia’s western backed government (the TFG) as an example.[5]
  • Kenyan security forces stormed hotels and houses in Eastleigh by force and arrested sixteen Somali legislators. The motive behind the raid is still undetermined; however, the offensive by Kenyan forces comes days after the violent demonstrations in Nairobi, which the Kenyan government claims al Shabaab is responsible for.[6]
  • Thousands of internationally displaced people in Beledweyne, Somalia continue to be displaced as Islamist militias continue to conduct “heavy shelling” against one another. The fighting between Hizb al Islam, and Ahlu Sunna Waljaama'a, a pro-government Sufi Islamist group, has forced IDPs out of Somalia’s central town and blocked two important bridges, preventing food and other goods from reaching their destinations.[7]
  • Unknown assailants bombed two radio stations, Radio Galkayo in the Puntland-controlled north of Galkayo and Radio Voice of Mudug, in South Galkayo under Galmudug State control. The assailants launched hand grenades into the stations, however no one was injured. Puntland police arrested two suspects allegedly connected with the Radio Galkayo attack. No arrests were made for the Radio Voice of Mudug attack.[8]
  • An unknown assailiant gunned down Puntland MP Mahammed Hassan Jibril in Bassaso, the capital of  Puntland, a comparatively stable region. Police forces arrived immediately and arrested a suspect and two others who are suspected of aiding Jibril’s killer.[9]


[1] “Five Al-Qaeda members reported dead; Yemeni religious scholars reject foreign military intervention,” Yemen Times, January 18, 2010. Available:
[2] “Al-Qaeda denies Yemen death claims,” Al-Jazeera, January 18, 2010. Available:
[3] “(CORRECTION) Ysusf al-Shehri not Saeed al-Shehri was captured,” Yemen Observer, January 19, 2010. Available:
[4] “Muslim clerics send warning message to London Conference,” Yemen Observer, January 14, 2010. Available:
[5] “Somalia and Yemen 'swapping militants',” BBC News, January 17, 2010. Available:
[6] “Somali MPs arrested in Kenya,” Mareeg, January 17, 2010. Available:
[7] “IDPs on the Run Again as Fighting Hits Beletweyne,” IRIN, January 19, 2010. Available:
[8] “Explosions Rock Galkayo, Somaliland Officer Killed in Las Anod,” Garowe, January 15, 2010. Available:
[9] “Another Puntland MP killed, suspect caught,” Garowe Online, January 19, 2010. Available:
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