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: Yemeni security forces conduct operations against al Houthi rebels in Sa’ada province; national dialogue delayed for second time; Yemen declares open war on al Qaeda; Western intelligence provides new information on al Qaeda

Horn of Africa: Somali military chief escapes assassination attempt; body of white teenage boy found in Wajadir in Mogadishu; Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a and Hizb al Islam fight outside of Beledweyne; President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed reportedly trying  to oust Speaker of the House Sheikh Aden Madobe

Yemen Security Brief

  • Security forces killed and injured “tens” of al Houthi rebels in operations throughout Sa’ada province.  In addition, security forces destroyed a vehicle transporting weapons and forced al Houthi rebels from hide-outs in the area near al Mothalath.[1]

  • The national dialogue in Yemen that was first supposed to take place on December 26, and then on January 4, has been delayed for a second time.  The preparatory committee in charge of the dialogue announced that it would be delayed until at least January 30.  The goal of the dialogue is to provide a forum for various representative groups to discuss the challenges that Yemen faces, including the northern rebellion, southern separatists, and national economy.[2]

  • Yemen has declared open war on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  A series of operations over the past week have led to the arrest of several militants.  The next strike is purported to be in Ma’rib province, where local tribesmen loyal to the government have warned al Qaeda members against staying there.  Qasem al Raimi, an al Qaeda leader, was reportedly killed in a January 4 raid by security forces.[3]

  • Western intelligence has uncovered that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has received an arms shipment from Somalia and that, according to Kuwaiti sources, has trained operatives prepared to carry out attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Aden.  The intelligence also listed the names and locations of new al Qaeda posts in Somalia, along with the names of field commanders and members within the Gulf states, that were previously unknown.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Newly appointed military chief, Mohamed Gele Kahiye, escaped an assassination attempt.  A roadside bomb exploded after his vehicle had passed and one of his bodyguards died in the attack.  Al Shabaab claimed responsibility, saying that the group had heard that the government was planning a new offensive.[5]

  • The body of an unidentified teenager was discovered near the police station in Wadajir district of Mogadishu.  Witnesses describe the boy as white and as wearing jeans and other clothes.  He had been shot.[6]

  • Somali government soldiers conducted search operations in Hamar Jajab and Hamarweyne districts of Mogadishu.  Reportedly, the soldiers were checking for roadside bombs.[7]

  • A minor skirmish between Hizb al Islam and Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a outside of Beledweyne took place over night.  Reports say that six combatants were killed.[8]

  • Reportedly, top Somali officials are meeting in a hotel in Mogadishu to discuss how to force Sheikh Aden Madobe, the Speaker of the House, out of his position.  Deteriorating relations between Sheikh Madobe and President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed have caused a rift in the government.[9]

[1] “Tens Houthi Rebels Killed,” Saba Net, January 6, 2010.  Available:
[2] “Yemen Dialog Delayed for Second Time,” Yemen Post, January 6, 2010.  Available:
[3] “Yemen Declares Open War with al-Qaeda,” Yemen Observer, January 7, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Western Intel Warns Gulf States of al Qaeda Attacks,” AFP, January 7, 2010.  Available:
[5] “Somalia’s Army Chief Escapes Bomb Attack,” AFP, January 7, 2010.  Available:
[6] “Body of Teenager Put Around Wadajir Police Station in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, January 7, 2010.  Available:
[7] “Government Troops Conduct Search Operations in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, January 7, 2010.  Available:
[8] “Short Time Combat in the Outer Edge of Baladweyn Town,” Somaliweyn Media Center, January 7, 2010.  Available:
[9] “Somali President and Allies Plan Ouster of Speaker,” Garowe Online, January 7, 2010.  Available:
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