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: Suicide attack on Yemeni troops in Aden; government forces clash with tribesmen in Taiz; tribesmen and security forces fight in Nihm district in Sana’a; security forces fight al Qaeda-linked militants near Zinjibar; massive demonstrations occur throughout Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab fighters clash with militiamen outside Mogadishu; al Shabaab beheads two local herders near Afgoi town; al Shabaab arrests at least four teenagers in Lower Owdhegle district of Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab bans sale of domestic meats in Afgoi; al Shabaab arrests ten traders in Beledweyne town for illegal shipment of Somali currency; U.S. officials accuse al Shabaab of blocking humanitarian efforts in Somalia; Somali prime minister meets with AMISOM officials, visits wounded soldiers in Mogadishu; UN holds emergency meeting to discuss aid options in East Africa; Kenya heightens security for Ugandan and Burundian diplomats and missions in-country; Mogadishu mayor claims there is corruption in IDP camps; Puntland officials reach ceasefire agreement with Atom

Yemen Security Brief

  • A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden truck near a convoy of soldiers, who were headed toward Zinjibar, outside of an air force base in al Mansura district in Aden. At least nine soldiers were killed and another 21 wounded in the blast.  Two military vehicles were destroyed at the site of the explosion.[1]
  • Yemeni government forces clashed with opposition fighters in Taiz on July 22.  Two civilians were killed when mortar shells struck their home in the neighborhood of Kalaba.[2]
  • Tribesmen attacked power towers in Nihm district and the Ma’rib gas-fired power station is currently out of commission. Fighting between security forces and anti-government tribesmen has been ongoing. Republican Guard forces shelled villages in Nihm and Arhab districts on the outskirts of Sana’a, killing six people and injuring others.  Two civilians and four medics were among the dead.[3]    
  • Control over Abyan governorate remains contested. Yemeni security forces clashed with al Qaeda-linked militants near an entrance to Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, on July 21. Two soldiers were killed and another four injured in the fighting. Tribesmen killed a militant at a checkpoint in Mudia.[4] 
  • Millions of Yemenis marched throughout the country protesting the “collective punishment” imposed on the people by the Saleh regime.  The protestors accused the government of creating fuel, water, and electricity shortages.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked armed militiamen in Garas Gawan village near Jazira area, which is outside of Mogadishu.  At least one fighter was killed and another captured by al Shabaab.[6] 
  • Al Shabaab beheaded two captured herders in Lant Buro village, outside of Afgoi in Lower Shabelle region on July 24. The group had accused local herders of fighting against the al Shabaab administration. Al Shabaab fighters attacked the local herders on July 22.  Three other herders remain in al Shabaab’s custody.[7]
  • Al Shabaab fighters arrested at least four teenagers accused of watching videos on their phones in Owdhegle district in Lower Shabelle region.[8]
  • Al Shabaab banned the slaughtering and sale of domestic animal meats in Afgoi town.  A local trader said the ban has had immediate negative impacts on residents in the town.[9]
  • Al Shabaab arrested at least ten local traders in Beledweyne in Hiraan region for an “alleged shipment of newly printed Somali currency into the area.”  The traders were arrested in a two-day security operation.[10]
  • Bruce Wharton, the deputy secretary of state for public diplomacy in the State Department’s Bureau of Africa Affairs, accused al Shabaab of exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Somalia by denying international assistance.  He said, “I think this brutal and senseless decision shows al-Shabaab’s true colors… They will continue to wage war against the people of Somalia even as the United States and the international community seek to provide food, medicine and other humanitarian assistance.”  USAID official Nancy Lindborg added, “Ultimately, al-Shabaab is the major problem in terms of enabling life-saving assistance to reach the people of Somalia.” The Red Cross delivered food aid to 24,000 people in Bardhere, an al Shabaab-controlled town northwest of Mogadishu.[11] 
  • Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali met with officials from the African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to discuss military issues.  The prime minister asked the African Union to provide “military and healthcare support” to government forces, and accepted a delivery of cars and motorcycles from AMISOM.  The donation included three vehicles that that will be used “to assist with disease control and food security programmes."  He also visited wounded soldiers in a hospital operated by AMISOM in Halane military base in Mogadishu.[12]
  • The United Nations planned an emergency meeting to discuss continued international assistance to drought victims in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.  The World Bank pledged to donate over $500 million to East African nations affected by the drought.[13]
  • Kenya has heightened security for Ugandan and Burundian diplomats and missions amid an increasing threat of terrorist attacks by al Shabaab.  Government officials said they have enhanced security at the Burundi Embassy and Uganda High Commission in Nairobi after obtaining information of possible attacks.[14]     
  • Mohamoud Ahmed Nur, the mayor of Mogadishu and governor of the Banadir region, said that there are high levels of corruption in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Mogadishu.  He said aid often does not reach its intended recipients.[15]
  • Puntland officials have reached a ceasefire with Mohammed Said Atom, an arms dealer with ties to al Shabaab.  Atom’s militia has been fighting Puntland security forces in the mountainous region of Galgala in northern Somalia.[16]

[1] Yasser Alarami and Laura Kasinof, “Suicide Bomber Hits Troops at Port City in Yemen,” New York Times, July 24, 2011. Available:
Mohammed Ghobari and Mohammed Mokhashaf, “Suicide attack near Yemeni port city kills 9 soldiers,” Washington Post, July 24, 2011. Available:
Ahmed al Haj, “Car bomb kills 8 soldiers in Yemen,” AP, July 24, 2011. Available:
“Yemen Says Suicide Attack on Military Convoy Bore Hallmarks of Al-Qaeda,” Yemen Post, July 25, 2011. Available:
[2] “Woman, girl killed in Yemen government-opposition fighting,” Reuters, July 24, 2011. Available:
“Froces of Yemen’s Saleh kill mother and girl in Taiz,” News Yemen, July 22, 2011. Available:
[3] “Several Killed as Army Continues Operations on Sana’a Outskirts,” Yemen Post, July 23, 2011. Available:
“Sana’a Plunged into Darkness as Attacks Continue on Power Towers,” Yemen Post, July 25, 2011. Available:
[4] “Two Yemeni soldiers, ‘Qaeda’ member killed in south,” AFP, July 22, 2011. Available:
[5] “Millions Mark Friday of Refusal to Collective Punishment in Yemen,” Yemen Post, July 22, 2011. Available:
[6] “Al shabaab, armed militias clash, one killed,” Shabelle Media Network, July 24, 2011. Available:
[7] “Al Shabaab beheads two herders in southern Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, July 23, 2011. Available:'
“Al shabaab, herders clash in southern Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, July 22, 2011. Available:
[8] “Al shabaab arrests teenagers for allegedly anti-Islamic deeds,” Shabelle Media Network, July 23, 2011. Available:
[9] “Al shabaab bans selling meat in southern Somalia town,” Shabelle Media Network, July 25, 2011. Available:
[10] “Al-Shabaab arrests local traders in Beledweyne,” Suna Times, July 24, 2011. Available:
[11] Reuben Brigety, “Humanitarian Situation in the Horn of Africa,” U.S. Department of State, July 22, 2011. Available:
Charlene Porter, “Al-Shabaab Should Not Block Humanitarian Aid, U.S. says,” U.S. Policy: Embassy of the United States – Brussels, Belgium, July 22, 2011. Available:
“Aid reaches drought victims in Islamist area of Somalia,” BBC, July 24, 2011. Available:
“Al shabaab: Relief agencies displace Somalis,” Shabelle Media Network, July 25, 2011. Available:
[12] “Somali PM meets AMISOM officials in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, July 24, 2011. Available:
“Press Release  - AMISOM supplies vehicles to Somali Transitional Federal Government,” AMISOM, July 24, 2011. Available:
[13] David McKenzie, “U.N., donors to meet on Somalia famine as aid groups seek more help,” CNN, July 25, 2011. Available:
[14] Walter Menya, “Security beefed up at Burundi and Uganda missions over terror threat,” Daily Nation, July 23, 2011. Available:
[15] “Mogadishu mayor: There is corruptions in IDPs Camps,” Shabelle Media Network, July 24, 2011. Available:
[16] “Somalia: Puntland, Islamist militants agree on ceasing fighting in Gal,” Shabelle Media Network, July 23, 2011. Available:
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