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: Fighting in Arhab district kills two people; Saleh loyalists and protestors clash in Sana’a; bomb explosion kills two militants in south Yemen; fighting continues in Abyan; youth movement coalitions begin formation of transitional council

Horn of Africa: Roadside bombs injures three in Mogadishu; al Shabaab releases female cabinet minister; al Shabaab says UN has political objectives with aid; French commander in Djibouti says long-term commitment needed by peacekeeping troops in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Fighting between Republican Guard forces and armed men killed two people in Arhab district on the outskirts of Sana’a.  Arhab has been the site of heavy fighting in the past few days.[1]
  • Saleh loyalists clashed with anti-government demonstrators in Sana’a, leaving a man and woman dead.[2]
  • Yemen’s Defense Ministry reported two militants killed in south Yemen when a bomb they were placing exploded early.[3]
  • Yemeni military officials said the army attacked militant targets in Zinjibar and Jaar with heavy artillery and warplanes on July 20 and 21, killing at least 20 fighters.  They also reported that at least 13 soldiers have been killed and 60 wounded in clashes with militants in Kod district in the last 24 hours.[4]
  • A collection of youth movement coalitions announced in Sana’a that a revolutionary council is now “under formation.” The group has urged all other coalitions to join, and said the revolutionary council will be officially declared after consultation with all other elements of the opposition movement.  The coalitions announced Muhammad Abdul Wahab al Qadhi as the council coordinator and Abdul Bari Tahir as the official spokesman.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A roadside bomb blast injured two civilians and one soldier at the entry to a police station in Dharkenley district of Mogadishu.  The bomb targeted deputy district commissioner of Dharkenley Yusuf Ahmed Ibrahim.[6]
  • Al Shabaab released newly appointed cabinet minister Asha Osman Aqil on the evening of July 21.  A Somali parliamentarian confirmed that family member’s of Aqil negotiated with al Shabaab officials to ensure her release.  Aqil told reporters that “she is safe and sound” and has returned to her hometown of Bala’d.[7]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage said the UN’s declaration of famine in Somalia “is totally, 100 percent wrong and baseless propaganda.”  He claimed that “they [the UN] have another objective, and it wouldn’t surprise us if they were politicizing the situation.”[8]
  • Major General Thierry Caspar Fille Lambie, commander of the French forces in Djibouti, said the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia will have to retain a long-term presence to achieve its goals.  He said the mission lacks sufficient resources and manpower, which could make the mission last “a long, long time.”  He recommended that the mandate of the peacekeeping mission be amended to increase the force size to 20,000.  He nonetheless remarked that African Union troops have made significant progress against al Shabaab on the military front.[9]

[1] Mohammad Ghobari, “Three killed in clashes in two regions of Yemen,” Reuters, July 21, 2011. Available:
[2] Erika Solomon and Mohammed Ghobari, “Yemen says kills two Qaeda leaders, critics voice doubt,” Reuters, July 21, 2011. Available:
[3] Erika Solomon and Mohammed Ghobari, “Yemen says kills two Qaeda leaders, critics voice doubt,” Reuters, July 21, 2011. Available:
[4] “Senior Leader of Yemeni Qaeda Branch Is Said to Be Dead,” AP, July 21, 2011. Available:
[5] “Yemen Youth Coalitions Say Revolutionary Council Under Foundation,” Yemen Post, July 21, 2011. Available:
[6] “Roadside bomb wounds three in the Somali capital,” Shabelle Media Network, July 22, 2011. Available:
[7] “Al shabaab militants unchain female Somali minister after arrest,” Shabelle Media Network, July 21, 2011. Available:
Abdalle Ahmed, “SOMALIA: Abducted minister of women freed,” Raxanreeb Radio, July 22, 2011. Available:
[8]  Ibrahim Mohamed, “Somali rebels accuse U.N. of exaggerating drought severity, playing politics,” Washington Post, July 21, 2011. Available:
“US ‘to aid Islamist areas of famine-hit Somalia,'” BBC, July 20, 2011. Available:
[9] “AU Somalia pullout a long way off, says French General,” Shabelle Media Network, July 22, 2011. Available:
“French commander sees military progress in Somalia crisis,” Shabelle Media Network, July 22, 2011. Available:
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