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: Yemen halts issue of visas to foreigners; violent protests arise in Abyan over water shortage; U.S. to hold talks with Yemen; immigration to Yemen up 55% in 2009; Yemeni Air Force strikes terrorist hideout

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab warns Kenya against “invading Somalia;” Amnesty International calls for suspension of military assistance to Somali government

Yemen Security Brief

  • In an effort to stop the infiltration of suspected terrorists, Yemen is halting the issuance of visas to foreigners at border entry-points. Foreigners going to Yemen will now have to apply for visas at a Yemeni embassy abroad. This decision came after a report put out by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee stating concerns over Americans who had traveled to Yemen and disappeared, suggesting their participation in al Qaeda training.[1]
  • Violent protests arose after citizens began protesting a water shortage earlier in the week. Locals in Abyan have not had water in their area for over two months. Citizens grew tired of the government’s inactivity and began taking to the streets burning tires and blocking traffic. The Abyan governor, Ahmed Maisari, ordered 50 water trucks to dispense water to the locals in an effort to appease the protesters.[2]
  • Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC to discuss cooperation between the two nations on counter terror efforts and piracy. The leaders will also be addressing Yemen’s poverty and unemployment in order to achieve better security and stability in the nation.[3]
  • The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) has reported a 55% increase in immigration to Yemen in 2009. It was noted for the first time more Ethiopians, 44,814, left for Yemen than Somalis, 32,988. Conflict, famine, drought, and job opportunities are being cited for the increase in Ethiopian immigration. Yemen now has over 700,000 Africans residing in the country, with only 200,000 officially listed as refugees.[4]
  • The Yemeni Air Force launched an airstrike targeting the hideout of senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula commander,  Ayad al-Shabwani, in al Shabwan, in the Ma’rib province. The group has been suspected of conducting acts of terror in the province, such as attacking sources of energy and targeting foreign tourists.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Islamist militant group al Shabaab warned Kenya against invading the border areas between Kenya and Somalia. 1,500 Kenyan soldiers were reported as positioning themselves on the border and conducting military maneuvers. Al Shabaab accused Kenya of planning to invade Somalia.[6]
  • Amnesty International is calling for all military assistance to the Somali government to be suspended until more secure measures are taken to ensure weapons are not being used to commit human rights abuses and war crimes. The group is also calling for all assisting states to create oversight procedures and provide training in international humanitarian law and arms management.[7]


[1] “Yemen ‘Stops Issuing Visas at Airports’;” BBC News, January 21, 2010. Available:
[2] “Violent Protests Over Water Shortage in Abyan Trigger Positive Action,” Yemen Times, January 21, 2010. Available:
[3] “Yemen-U.S. talks to be Held,” Yemen News Agency, January 21, 2010. Available:
[4] “Yemen – Arrivals in 2009 Up 55 Percent,”, January 21, 2010. Available:
[5] “Yemeni Air Strike Targets Terrorist Hideout,” Yemen News Agency, January 21, 2010. Available:
[6] “Islamists warn Kenya against “invading Somalia,” Inside Somalia, January 21, 2010. Available:
[7] “Controls on Military Assistance to Somalia Must Be Tightened,” Garowe Online, January 20, 2010. Available:
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