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 intensifies between al Houthi rebels and government; al Houthi rebels capture 200 soldiers; suspected al Qaeda militants attack British Embassy; Southern Movement separatists kill four people and injure 13 others in two separate attacks

Horn of Africa: UN envoy to Somalia says current AMISOM mandate sufficient; intelligence report details foreign fighters in al Shabaab; Hizb al Islam leader Aweys calls all Somalis to jihad against AMISOM, says talks with al Shabaab continue; the Seychelles convicts 11 Somalis on piracy charges

Yemen Security Brief

  • Fighting in northern Yemen worsened Monday between al Houthi rebels, government forces, and pro-government tribes.  Rebels captured two strategic military posts and injured a prominent tribal chief and member of Yemen’s parliament, leading to calls for a harsher government crackdown on the rebels.[1]
  • Al Houthi rebels have captured 200 soldiers in northern Yemen who are part of 72nd Regiment of the Army’s Republican Guard, a military official announced Tuesday.  The announcement comes a day after reports that rebels captured 70 soldiers in the seizure of a strategic army post in al Za’ala.  Al Houthi spokesman Mohamed Abdul Salam refused to confirm reports saying, “It might be true that there are prisoners, but no information is available on either their number or their fate.”[2]
  • A group of suspected al Qaeda militants opened fire on the gates of the British Embassy in Sana’a late Monday from a moving vehicle and managed to evade capture by security forces.  Officials said fragments of a rocket-propelled grenade projectile were found in the Embassy following the attack.[3]
  • Suspected Southern Movement separatists killed four and wounded 13 in two separate attacks Monday.  In one incident, separatists ambushed a security patrol in Lahij, killing four soldiers and wounding nine others.  Later Monday evening, secessionists attacked military sites in Dhaleh with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, wounding a provincial security director and three soldiers.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The newly-appointed UN Special Representative to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, said the current AMISOM mandate is sufficient and does not need to change to “peace enforcement” as many African leaders requested.[5]
  • A report compiled for AMISOM say foreign fighters have taken over the leadership structure of al Shabaab and noted that a key figure in al Shabaab is Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, notable for his role in the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam U.S. Embassy bombings.  According to the report, other figures in the al Shabaab governing council began to arrive in early 2009: Sheikh Mohamed Abu Faid (Saudi financier and al Shabaab ‘manager’); Abu Suleiman al Banadiri (Somali of Yemeni descent, adviser to Godane); Abu Musa Mombasa (Pakistani who replaced Nabhan, in charge of training and security); and Abu Mansur al Amriki (financing for foreign fighters); Mohamoud Mujajir (Sudanese, recruitment of suicide bombers); and Abdifatah Aweys Abu Hamsa (Somali who trained in Afghanistan, in charge of Mujahidin al Quds).[6]
  • Hizb al Islam leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys called all Somalis to join in the jihad against AMISOM troops in Mogadishu, and said that talks between him and al Shabaab are continuing.[7]
  • The Seychelles Supreme Court convicted 11 Somalis on piracy charges, sentencing each of them to 10 years in prison. The court acquitted the pirates on other charges related to terrorism.[8]

[1] “Yemen: Fighting Intensifies Between Rebels and Government,” New York Times, July 26, 2010.  Available:
[2] “Yemen Shiite Rebels Capture 200 Soldiers: Military,” AFP, July 27, 2010.  Available:
[3] “Al Qaeda Militants Open Fire at British Embassy to Yemen,” Xinua, July 27, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Suspected Yemen Separatists Attack Troops, Kill 4,” Reuters, July 27, 2010.  Available:
[5] “UN says Somalia peacekeeping mandate adequate,” Mareeg, July 27, 2010. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Al Qaeda Veterans Now Run Al Shabaab Militia,” East African, July 26, 2010. Available:
[7] “Hizbul Islam leader calls people to join Jihad,” Mareeg, July 27, 2010. Available:  
[8] “Seychelles convicts 11 Somali pirates,” CNN, July 27, 2010. Available:
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