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: 20 killed in overnight clashes in northern Yemen; AQAP blamed in death of five soldiers in Shabwah province; 163 Southern Movement separatists released so far under amnesty plan; foreign minister denies arms deal with Russia

Horn of Africa: American arrested for trying to fight with al Shabaab in Somalia; Puntland president says military fighting al Shabaab-linked militants in Galgala Hills; landmine blast kills soldier, wounds seven in Mogadishu; UN official says Somalia humanitarian efforts “seriously underfunded;” Somali president meets with Arab officials in Cairo, asks for aid against extremists; Amnesty International calls on TFG, Islamist militants to end abuses against journalists; Ethiopia releases four members of Ogaden National Liberation Front

Yemen Security Brief

  • Overnight clashes in northern Yemen between al Houthi rebels and the pro-government Bin Aziz tribes left at least 20 people dead, according to a tribal official.  State forces intervened to break up the fighting.[1]
  • Five Yemeni soldiers were killed and a sixth injured in a suspected al Qaeda attack on their patrol vehicle in the city of Ataq in Shabwah province.  The gunmen are believed to have carried out the attack in coordination with separatists.[2]
  • 163 Southern Movement separatists have been freed so far as part of a general amnesty announced by President Saleh on May 22.[3]
  • Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi has denied that Yemen recently signed a one billion dollar arms deal with Russia, as was widely reported in the media in June.  Al Qirbi insisted, rather, that President Saleh had engaged in talks with Russia regarding previous arms agreements.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A 20-year-old Virginia man was arrested Wednesday for attempting to travel to Somalia to fight with al Shabaab. Zachary Adam Chesser, a U.S. citizen and Muslim convert, attempted to fly to Uganda on July 10 from where he planned to go to Somalia, but was told he was on the “no-fly list.”. The FBI had been investigating Chesser since 2009, and court documents show that he had been in contact with U.S.-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al Awlaki.[5]
  • Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole said that his government is combating militants in the Galgala Hills and that Puntland security forces have their hideout surrounded. He claimed the rebels received training and funding from al Shabaab in southern Somalia.[6]
  • A landmine blast near 21st October in Mogadishu’s Waberi district killed one TFG soldier and wounded seven others Wednesday.  No group claimed responsibility for the attack.[7]
  • A UN humanitarian coordinator, Mark Bowden, said the UN’s humanitarian efforts in Somalia are “seriously underfunded.”  40 percent of Somalis, 3.4 million people, need humanitarian assistance, and a $596 million appeal to the UN has raised only $335 million.[8]
  • Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed visited with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa in Cairo seeking monetary assistance.  He warned, “Somalia can be helped today.  But it will reach a point of no return if help does not arrive now.”[9]
  • Amnesty International released a report documenting both the TFG’s and Islamist militants’ harassment and intimidation of journalists.[10]
  • Ethiopia released four members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front Wednesday in the city Jigjiga as part of an effort to seek reconciliation with the militant group.[11]

[1] “20 Dead in Overnight Clashes in North Yemen,” AFP, July 22, 2010.  Available:
[2] “Yemen Blames Al Qaeda for Ambush that Killed Five Soldiers in East,” Bloomberg, July 22, 2010.  Available:
[3] “Over 160 Southern Movement Captives Freed,” Yemen News Agency, July 22, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Foreign Minister Denies Reports over Yemeni-Russian Arms Deal,” Yemen Post, July 21, 2010.  Available:
[5] “Virginia man accused of trying to go to Somalia to join terror group,” CNN, July 21, 2010. Available:
[6] “Somalia: ‘Puntland under attack by foreign terrorists’: Farole,” Garowe, July 21, 2010.  Available:
[7] “Explosion kills one, injuries seven in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, July 21, 2010. Available:
[8] “U.N. worried about lack of aid funds for Somalia,” Reuters, July 21, 2010. Available:
[9] “Somalia: President Sharif asks Arab countries for help,” Garowe, July 21, 2010. Available:
[10] “Journalists under attack in Somalia as government steps up media crackdown,” Amnesty International, July 22, 2010. Available:
[11] “Ethiopia releases key ONLF members from prison,” Somaliland Press, July 21, 2010. Available:
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