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 Qaeda militants attack military camp near Zinjibar; AQAP leader states allegiance to al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri; Vice President Hadi sends envoy to Taiz to negotiate peace; government soldiers and tribesmen take control of Zinjibar; Aden suicide bomber identified; prison guards shoot prisoners at jail in Aden

Horn of Africa: Thousands of drought-victims flee to Somali capital; Al Shabaab arrests at least 30 women for wearing improper veils; former Somali prime minister says government cannot defeat al Shabaab; Kenyan government seeks opening of refugee camp in a third country

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni security forces killed ten al Qaeda-linked militants when they attempted to storm a military camp near Zinjibar.  Al Qaeda operative Ali Saeed bin Jamil, who was the objective of military operations in Ma’rib in June 2010, was killed in the attack.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasser al Wahayshi, also known as Abu Basir, announced his allegiance to the successor of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri. AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem, produced the recording and released it on jihadist forums.[2]
  • Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi sent an envoy to Taiz to negotiate a ceasefire between government forces and armed tribesmen.  The proposed agreement outlines nine points, including an end to armed confrontations, withdrawal of government forces and “unofficial armed groups” from the city,  the deployment of “public police”, a return of government and private property, and a pledge by the government not to attack peaceful demonstrators.[3]
  • Recent reports suggest government soldiers and armed tribesmen control most of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate.  Residents claim that militants “remained only in pockets” of the city.  A tribal fighter reported that the town of Lawder has been cleared of militants.[4]
  • The suicide bomber who struck a military convoy in Aden on July 24 has been identified as Turki Sa’ad Muhammed Qulais al Shahrani.  Shahrani was “a Saudi national, explosives expert and a member of al Qaeda,” according to an interior ministry official.[5]
  • Prison guards at al Mansura jail in Aden governorate fired live ammunition and tear gas at prisoners on strike, killing one inmate and injuring six others.  Reports said the guards intervened when they saw prisoners on the roof of the jail and armed men outside the walls assisting would-be escapees.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Approximately 40,000 drought-victims have fled to Mogadishu in search of humanitarian assistance over the past month, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  Vivian Tan, spokeswoman for the UNHCR, expressed concern over the massive influx and the effect it will have on security conditions in the capital.  She said, “This creates strain on the fragile semi-arid environment, increases tensions with the local host communities and the risk of fire or the outbreak of diseases.”[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants apprehended at least 30 women in Afgoi corridor for not wearing “thick and broad veils” in public.  Al Shabaab officials said the women will be held in jail for refusing to accept orders.[8]
  • Former Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed told reporters that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) lacks the military capacity to defeat al Shabaab.  He also blamed the international community for not doing more to help drought-stricken populations in Somalia.[9]
  • The Kenyan government petitioned the African Union and foreign aid agencies to open a refugee camp in a “third country” to relocate some of the refugees.  Kenyan deputy internal affairs minister Orwa Ojode said the government is concerned al Shabaab will exploit the porous border region to infiltrate the country.[10]

[1] Mahmoud Haboush, “Yemeni army kills 10 al Qaeda militants,” Reuters, July 26, 2011. Available:
[2] “AQAP Leader Pledges to Ayman al-Zawahiri,” SITE Intelligence Group, July 26, 2011. Available at SITE.
[3] “Ceasefire agreement to be signed in Taiz,” Yemen Times, July 25, 2011. Available:
[4] Nasser Arrabyee, “Yemeni Military Tribesmen Push Back Militants in South,” New York Times, July 25, 2011. Available:
“Tribesmen say Yemen town cleared of Qaeda,” AFP, July 26, 2011. Available:
[5] “Yemen says Saudi bomber targeted military convoy,” AFP, July 26, 2011. Available:
[6] “Prisoner Killed as Police Control Riot inside Yemen Jail,” Yemen Post, July 25, 2011. Available:
[8] “Al shabaab apprehends 30 women for not wearing special veils,” Shabelle Media Network, July 26, 2011. Available:
[9] “Former Somali PM: Gov is not able to destroy Al shabaab,” Shabelle Media Network, July 26, 2011. Available:
[10] Peter Clottey, “Kenya Petitions AU, Humanitarian Groups to Aid Somali Refugees,” VOA, July 25, 2011. Available:
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