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 Qaeda militants attack a checkpoint in Sana’a; an al Houthi initiative over the war in northern Yemen is scheduled to take place today; U.S. officials state their development aid program to Yemen; European Union states the presence of al Qaeda in Yemen is not an essential problem

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab named a local market after a killed al Qaeda leader; al Shabaab Islamizes Somali schools; UK students were recruited for jihad in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Security officials in Yemen confirm al Qaeda militants were responsible for the attack on a checkpoint in Sana’a, which left three soldiers dead. Tribal leaders in the Shabwa governorate are negotiating with al Qaeda members to turn themselves in to the Yemeni government. Initial reports indicated that southern secessionists were responsible for the attack.[1]
  • Rebel leader Abdul Malik al Houthi announced an initiative over the war in northern Yemen is to occur sometime today. According to sources, the initiative will be issued through an audio tape.[2]
  • The Obama administration is working on a developmental aid plan to Yemen in order to limit Islamist recruitment. The program, headed by the U.S. Department of Defense, State Department, and USAID, focuses primarily on the Yemeni youth, specifically targeting the ones who are living in tribal regions and the countryside.[3]
  • The EU is claiming al Qaeda’s presence in Yemen “is an accidental matter” which was triggered by their dismal economy and political and security issues. The EU is considering adjusting their aid to Yemen through a 33% increase in the years 2011-2013.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab renamed a Barawe market after senior al Qaeda in East Africa leader Saleh Nabhan who was killed by U.S. forces last year. The Islamist rebels described Nabhan as “the great martyred Islamic figure who was killed by the enemy of Allah on our soil.”[5]
  • Al Shabaab Islamized schools in the town of Marka, according to the rebel group. Boys and girls are now separated during lessons and girls are to wear “thick veils” and “gowns which are inches below their heels,” and the boys with “trousers which are above their heels.” The group also renamed the schools with the names of the Prophet Mohammed’s followers.[6]
  • Students from prestigious British universities have been reported as traveling to Somalia to fight with al Shabaab. Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed, a moderate religious leader from north London has stated some families have been receiving phone calls from the Islamist group pressuring parents to send their children to Somalia in the name of Islam. The British police claim they cannot take action until the new recruits engage in rebel activity.[7]


[1] “Al Qaeda Did Checkpoint Attack, Yemen Official Says,” The New York Times, January 25, 2010. Available:
[2] “Al Houthi Initiative in Coming Hours, Says Media Office,” Yemen Post, January 25, 2010. Available:  
[3] “U.S. Says Working on Aid to 'Uncertain Yemen',” Yemen Post, January 25, 2010. Available:
[4] “EU: Al Qaeda Nonessential Problem of Yemen,” Yemen Post, January 25, 2010. Available:
[5] “Somalia's Shebab name market after slain Qaeda boss,” AFP, January 25, 2010. Available:
[6] “Al-Shabab imposes new rules in Learning centers,” Somaliweyn, January 25, 2010. Available:  
[7] “Somalia: UK students recruited for Somali jihad,” Somaliweyn, January 25, 2010. Available:
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