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 ambush convoy in Lawder; Southern Movement militants kidnap four people; al Houthi rebels and deputy governor’s bodyguards exchange fire

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases three communiqués, describes IED attacks; al Shabaab announces communications channel; hand grenade attack in Mogadishu injures two people; TFG parliament speaker says Iran promises to support Somalia; Puntland issues emergency appeal for assistance

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda militants ambushed a military convoy transporting water supplies to a military camp in Lawder in Abyan governorate.  The militants fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and machine guns at the convoy and burned two military vehicles.  Sources report the casualty rate to run between five and ten soldiers with up to three additional soldiers wounded.[1]
  • Southern Movement supporters kidnapped an intelligence major and three civilians from the north in al Mussaymir area in Lahij governorate.   Authorities are searching for Southern Movement activist Abdullah Raweh and the kidnappings were in retaliation for this.  The Brigades of Arab South Freemen distributed a communiqué in Habilain last month that threatened retaliatory kidnappings.[2]
  • Al Houthi rebels and the deputy governor of al Jawf governorate’s bodyguards exchanged fire in al Khames central market.  One tribesman was killed and two others were injured.  Local sources report that an attempted al Houthi attack on the car of Fahd Abu Ras, the deputy governor, sparked the clash.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab released three communiqués on jihadists forums.  The first describes the punishment of Noor Ahmed Noor, a 29-year-old man convicted of armed robbery by an al Shabaab judge.  The second communiqué claimed that three soldiers were killed by two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by al Shabaab’s explosives brigade in the area between Housh and Ex-control in southern Mogadishu.  The second explosion was detonated when additional forces arrived in the area to investigate the first explosion.  The third communiqué claimed that an IED planted along the street near the seaport killed two soldiers and injured two others on January 5.[4]
  • Al Shabaab announced that it now has a communications channel for Muslims to contact the group in a message posted on jihadist forums on January 1.  The message gave email addresses and an encryption code.[5]
  • A hand grenade was thrown at the UN Development Program center in Mogadishu, near Bula-hubey in Wadajir district.  Two men were injured.[6]
  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) speaker of the parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam returned from a tour of Europe and Asia.  Hassan reported on his visit to Iran and said that Iran has promised to assist Somalia.[7]
  • Puntland issued an emergency appeal for humanitarian assistance for those affected by the drought.  According to the appeal, over 250,000 families have been affected.[8]

[1] “Al-Qaeda Suspects Kill 9 Yemeni Soldiers,” Saba News, January 7, 2011.  Available:
“Al Qaeda Hits Yemen Army Convoy, 10 Killed,” Reuters, January 7, 2011.  Available:
“’Qaeda Ambush’ Kills Five Yemeni Soldiers,” AFP, January 7, 2011.  Available:
[2] “South Yemen Militants Say Northerners Seized,” AFP, January 6, 2011.  Available:
[3] “Tribesman Killed in al-Jawf Governorate,” Yemen Post, January 6, 2011.  Available:
[4] “Shabaab Punishes Armed Robber, Bombs Soldier,” SITE Intel Group, January 5, 2011.  Available at SITE.
[5] “Shabaab Opens Communication Channel to Muslims,” SITE Intel Group, January 4, 2011.  Available at SITE.
[6] “Hand Bomb Attack Injuries 2 People in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, January 7, 2011.  Available:
[7] “Somali Parliament Speaker, Sharif Hassan Arrives in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, January 7, 2011.  Available:,-Sharif-Hassan-arrives-in-Mogadishu-&sid=18428&tirsan=3
[8] “Puntland Government Issues Emergency Drought Appeal,” Puntland Government Press Release, January 6, 2011.  Available:
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