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: Car bomb kills British maritime worker in Aden; Yemeni security forces kill 20 militants in Jaar; Yemeni jihadist asks information about AQAP developments on forum; JMP plans to create transitional council; U.S. official discusses counterterrorism cooperation between U.S. and Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab confiscates weapons from clan in Bay region; Somali government soldier executed for killing colleague; Amnesty International releases report on al Shabaab’s recruitment of child soldiers; UN declares famine in parts of Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • A car bomb killed a British maritime worker in Mualla district of Aden near his company’s office.  The man worked for the Aden-based Arab Company for Inspection and Marine Consulting.[1]
  • Yemeni security forces shelled the city of Jaar in Abyan governorate, killing at least twenty militants in the last two days.  Local resident Walid al Hawshadi said he witnessed militants driving twenty dead bodies “out of the city for burial.”[2]
  • A Yemeni jihadist reached out to two fellow fighters on the Ansar al Mujahideen forum to inquire about military developments in Yemen.  The jihadist said, “What are the developments of the situation in Dofes and the Aden-Lahij border? What are the circumstances in Shabwa? What is the latest news about the clashes that were reported days ago in Dalea? Do the mujahideen have any presence in Arhab or any role in the fighting there or areas in the north these days?” One of the Yemeni jihadists replied on July 17.  He said information exchange has stopped because jihadist leaders had ordered men to stop using cell phone due to targeting by foreign forces.  He also said a battalion arrested a group of government soldiers that “were released after they were made to repent.”[3]
  • The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) coalition announced its plan to create a “National Council for the Forces of the Revolution.”  The goals of the council will be to force President Saleh’s regime out of power and bring an end to the ongoing violence.  JMP spokesman Mohammed al Sabri said members of the new council would be named within two weeks.[4]
  • The State Department’s counter-terrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin testified, “It is a matter of great concern that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula sees this opportunity to establish a territorial hold on this area in Zinjibar.” He continued, “Obviously, when they have a safer haven in which to operate, we are worried that they threaten the city of Aden to some extent, and, if they are able to get access to the sea, that presents other concerns.”[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A local al Shabaab administration confiscated “battle vehicles and weapons” from a clan in Dinsor district of Bay region.  Militants seized rifles and approximately twenty battle wagons.  Al Shabaab has ordered local tribes to hand over their weapons to support the group’s fight against the Somali government.[6]
  • A Somali government soldier named Abdullahi Khalif Ibrahim shot and killed an Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (AWSJ) fighter in Garbaharey town of Gedo region on July 19.  Witnesses said the two soldiers disputed before the incident.  The soldier was condemned to death and executed by the Somali government and ASWJ administrations.[7]
  • Amnesty International reported on July 19 that al Shabaab has escalated its recruitment of child soldiers in parts of central and southern Somalia.  Many of the children are under 15 years old.  The report described other human rights violations committed by al Shabaab: “Al-Shabab…has imposed severe restrictions on the right to education, preventing some girls from attending school, banning certain subjects from being taught, or using schools to indoctrinate children into participating in fighting…Al-Shabab is also using increasingly threatening recruitment methods, luring children with the promise of phones and money or conducting raids on schools or abductions in public areas.”[8]
  • The UN officially declared a famine in Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions of southern Somalia.  UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden said that malnutrition rates have reached 50 percent in certain areas of the south and above 30 percent in southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions.[9]


[1] Ahmed al Haj, “Briton killed in car explosion in Yemen,” AP, July 20, 2011. Available:
“Car blast kills foreigner in Yemen port Aden-official,” Reuters, July 20, 2011. Available:
[2] Ahmed al Haj and Ben Hubbard, “Yemeni army shelling kills more than 20 militants,” AP, July 19, 2011. Available:
[3] “Yemeni Jihadist Comments on Current Situation in Yemen,” SITE Intelligence Group, July 19, 2011. Available at SITE.
[4] Mohammed Ghobari, “Yemen opposition forms council to oust president,” Reuters, July 19, 2011. Available:
[5] Eli Lake, “U.S. Officials Fear al Qaeda Faction is Making Gains,” Washington Times, July 19, 2011. Available:
[6] “Al shabaab confiscated clan owned weapons, battle vehicles,” Shabelle Media Network, July 20, 2011. Available:
[7] “Somali soldier guns down his colleague,” Shabelle Media Network, July 19, 2011. Available:
“Somali government, Ahlu-Suna sentences a soldier to death,” Mareeg Online, date not specified. Available:
“Somali soldier, who killed Ahlu Sunna fighter, executed,” Shabelle Media Network, July 20, 2011. Available:
[8] “Children in Somalia Facing War Crimes, Amnesty International, July 20, 2011. Available:
Brian Lathan, “Somali Islamic Militias Recruiting Child Soldiers, Amnesty Says,” Bloomberg, July 19, 2011. Available:
[9] “UN declares famine in two regions of southern Somalia, UN News Centre, July 20, 2011. Available:
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