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: Yemeni defense ministry reports airstrikes killed 22 al Qaeda-linked militants in Abyan; senior adviser reports president to return Friday; death toll in Zinjibar fighting reaches one hundred

Horn of Africa: Four people killed in Puntland mosque attack, witnesses blame clan violence; intelligence reports indicate al Shabaab was plotting attacks on government officials; al Shabaab and Somali government forces gather in Bohol Bashir village; ten people killed in Gedo region in fighting between al Shabaab and Somali troops; Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram issued a statement linking its training to al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Yemeni defense ministry official reported that 22 al Qaeda-linked militants were killed in Abyan governorate by airstrikes. He also claimed that dozens of militants were injured in Abyan’s capital city of Zinjibar.[1]
  • Senior adviser Ahmed al Soufi reported to CNN that President Ali Abdullah Saleh will return from medical treatment in Saudi Arabia on Friday. “When he is back, he will rule as normal and the country will continue to be under his control. Saleh will return strong and the will of the people will stand against any other will," al Soufi stated.[2]
  • Fighting in Abyan governorate’s capital city, Zinjibar, between Yemen’s army and alleged al Qaeda militants killed over 100 soldiers since it began. Two artillery brigades were forced to move back 1.8 miles (3 km) from the fighting in what a Yemeni official described as a “tactical move.” "We are facing heavy resistance from the network's militants as they are well-trained in gang fighting, and have foreign fighters within their ranks, including Arabs,” the official stated.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, swore his group’s allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri. “You are more experienced than us and you have better views than us in the future of the jihad of our Ummah against the enemy, as we experienced from you before. We await your instructions and we will act according to what you see in the coming stage to be in the interests of jihad and the Muslim Ummah,” he said in a public statement to al Zawahiri.[4]
  • At least four people were killed in a Puntland mosque when unidentified attackers fired at a crowd of worshippers. Witnesses believe it was the result of clan rivalries in Ufhayn district in the Bari region. Ten elders were arrested for inciting the violence.[5]
  • A guard at Villa Somalia, Abdullahi Ali Anod, reported that intelligence has indicated that al Shabaab is planning conduct suicide attacks against government officials. The guards were put on high alert.[6]
  • Sporadic gunfire was exchanged in the village of Bohol Bashir as al Shabaab militants and Somali government forces backed by Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a fighters gathered in the area.[7]
  • Ten people were killed after fighting erupted in Luq town in Gedo region between Somali forces backed by Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a fighters clashed with al Shabaab. The fighting started after al Shabaab insurgents attacked a Somali convoy.[8]
  • Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram issued a statement last week linking itself to al Shabaab in Somalia. “Very soon, we will wage jihad. . . We want to make it known that our jihadists have arrived in Nigeria from Somalia where they received real training on warfare from our brethren who made that country ungovernable. . .” the statement said.[9]

[1] “20 Al Qaeda-Linked Militants Killed in Air Strikes in Yemen,” Fox News, June 21, 2011. Available: 
[2] Mohammed Jamjoon, “Official: Yemeni president to return this week,” CNN, June 21, 2011. Available:  
[4] “Shabaab Gives Allegiance to New al-Qaeda Leader Zawahiri,” SITE Intelligence, June 20, 2011. Available:
[5] “Mosque Attack in Northern Somalia Leaves 4 Worshippers Dead,” Shabelle Media Network, June 21, 2011. Available:
[6] “Somali Officer: Al Shabaab Plotting Terrorist Attacks in the Capital,” Shabelle Media Network, June 21, 2011. Available:
[7] “Tense is high in southern Somalia town as new fighting is looming,” Shabelle Media Network, June 21, 2011. Available:
[8] “Ten Killed in Somali Gedo Region Fighting,” Shabelle Media Network, June 20, 2011. Available:
[9] “Nigerian Taliban Says They’ve been Training with Al Shabaab in Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, June 20, 2011. Available:
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