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 Houthi rebels clashed with opposition fighters in al Jawf governorate; Yemeni air force attacked militant checkpoint near Zinjibar; Saudi border command spokesman reported over 19,000 attempted infiltrations from Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab arrested ten people across central and southern Somalia; rival clans clashed in central Somalia; CIA has built secret facility in Mogadishu and helps interrogate suspected al Qaeda-linked militants; Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Somalia Augustine Mahiga met with top officials in Transitional Federal Government

Yemen Security Brief

  • Clashes between al Houthi rebels and members of the opposition party Islah have left 23 people dead and dozens injured in al Jawf governorate.  The fighting began on Friday when al Houthi fighters refused to leave an army base they seized from the government two months ago.[1]
  • The Yemeni air force attacked a militant checkpoint between Jaar and Zinjibar on July 12, killing five Islamist militants.  An anonymous security official said the air force has conducted at least eight airstrikes in Jaar and nearby areas in the past few days.[2]
  • Saudi border command spokesman Colonel Abdullah bin Mahfouz said that 19,145 infiltrators and 433 smugglers from Yemen were arrested in June.  He said that the guards have confiscated “dozens of weapons, along with ammunition and drugs.”  The number of infiltrators has double since May and comes amid increased violence and political instability in Yemen.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants apprehended ten people across south and central Somalia.  Militants arrested two personnel from international relief organizations in Baidoa, the capital of Bay region, for unknown reasons.  Reports suggest that Ali Moallim Black, a worker from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Abdirizak Mohamed, from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), were arrested separately.  Their whereabouts are unknown.  Al Shabaab arrested another eight people in Eldher district of Galgudud region after conducting search operations.  The detainees were accused of “consuming drugs and hashish inside the district.”  The arrested individuals have been sent to al Shabaab’s regional detention center for punishment.[4]
  • Violence erupted again on July 12 between rival clans in central Somalia over territorial disputes, leaving at least five dead and nine injured.  The clans are from administrations of Galmudug and Himan and Heeb, and have used heavy and light weapons in the clashes.  The fresh fighting comes as Somalia’s national reconciliation committee attempts to broker a peace agreement between the rival clans. Sheikh Ali Dhere, Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a’s security chief, warned the clans that he would take “suitable steps against the two administrations” if the violence did not stop.[5]
  • The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reportedly runs a secret facility in Mogadishu, Somalia for counter-terrorism purposes. The facility is “a sprawling walled compound” consisting of more than a dozen buildings in Aden Adde International Airport.  A senior U.S. official reported that CIA operatives have traveled to the new facility to build “an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted ‘combat’ operations.”  The CIA uses a secret prison under Somalia’s National Security Agency to assist in interrogations of suspected al Qaeda-linked militants in the region.  The CIA’s involvement is reportedly “very small” and operatives have only assisted in interrogations “one or two times.”  All suspects are under control of the Somali government and the CIA only assists on specific cases.[6]   
  • The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Somalia Augustine Mahiga met with top officials in Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to congratulate them on parliamentary approval of the Kampala Accord.  He said, “I came here to congratulate the prime minister over his appointment and his overwhelming support [endorsement] by parliament… I also came to give encouragement to the TFIs for the wonderful spirit of cooperation and solidarity which they have expressed so far [in] agreeing on the appointment of the prime minister and his endorsement and yesterday parliament overwhelmingly endorsed the Kampala accord.”[7]

[1] Mohammed Ghobari and Mohammed Mukhashaf, “Factional fighting brings Yemen unrest nearer Saudi,” Reuters, July 12, 2011. Available:
[2] Ahmed al Haj, “Yemen security: 5 militants killed in airstrike,” AP, July 12, 2011.  Available:
[3] “Saudi reports spike in infiltrations from Yemen,” AP, July 13, 2011. Available:
[4] “Somalia: Al Shabaab Apprehends Nearly 10 People in Central Region” Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu), July 13, 2011. Available:
“Somalia: Al Shabaab Arrests Aid Workers in Southern Town,” Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu), July 13, 2011. Available:
[5] “Somalia: Clan Related Battle Restarts in Central Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu), July 12, 2011. Available:
“5 killed, 9 hurt in central Somalia clan fighting,” Shabelle Media Network, July 13, 2011. Available:
“Somalia: Ahlu Sunna warns Himan lyo Heb, Gal-mudug,” Shabelle Media Network, July 13, 2011. Available:
[6] “CIA using secret Somalia facility, prison: report,” AFP, July 12, 2011. Available:
Barbara Starr, “U.S. official: CIA interrogating terror suspects in Somalia,” CNN, July 13, 2011. Available:
Jeremy Scahill, “The CIA’s Secret Sites in Somalia,” The Nation, July 12, 2011. Available:
[7] Abdalle Ahmed, “SOMALIA: UN envoy hails Somalia parliament’s approval of Kampala accord,” RBC Radio (, July 12, 2011. Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Aug '11
Jul '11
Jun '11