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: Security forces killed five al Qaeda militants in Abyan; Yemen’s army foiled terrorist plot in Aden; Yemeni soldiers search for al Qaeda suspects who escaped from al Mukalla prison; soldiers may conduct military operation to secure important pipeline; six men sentenced to jail terms for arms smuggling plot; AQAP released a new video as part of a series on martyrs; U.S. ambassador met with Chief of General Staff Major General to discusses U.S.-Yemen military relations; a UN humanitarian mission visits Yemen to assess conditions;  foreign al Shabaab mercenaries fled to Yemen from Somalia

Horn of Africa: Two government soldiers killed and four wounded in roadside bomb attack; al Shabaab starts collecting taxes in Kismayo; government official says al Shabaab kidnaps elderly civilians; Somali parliament approved Abdiweli Mohamed Ali as new prime minister

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemen’s state news agency, SABA News, reported that security forces killed five al Qaeda militants and injured others at Doves valley in Abyan governorate.  Seven soldiers were also wounded in the clashes.[1]
  • Yemen’s state news agency, SABA News, reported that Yemeni security forces foiled a terrorist plot targeting “vital and economic installations” in the southern port city of Aden.  An unidentified official source said, “Army soldiers arrested six dangerous elements of the al-Qaeda at a checkpoint as they were trying to infiltrate Aden.”  The Yemeni government has referred to the six al Qaeda operatives as “the Aden cell.” The militants were reported to be explosives experts and to have detonators and communications equipment with them.[2]
  • Thousands of Yemeni soldiers are currently involved in a hunt for 63 al Qaeda suspects that escaped from al Mukalla prison on June 15.  The Interior Ministry made the following statement, “Some of the prisoners are highly trained in explosives.  This could be a negative turning point in the Yemen war on terror if the government is not able to arrest them quickly.”[3]
  • A senior Yemeni government official said the army may conduct a military operation to secure and repair the Ma’rib oil pipeline that has been inactive since an attack by local tribesmen in mid-March.  The official said, “We’re close to reaching either a deal or a crackdown...There is mediation, we have been in contact with them.  But our patience is limited.”[4]
  • A court in Abu Dhabi sentenced six men to jail terms for attempting to smuggle 16,000 pistols into Yemen without a permit.  Dubai authorities discovered the weapons in shipping containers from Turkey, and suspect that they were bound for rebel groups in northern Yemen. The State Security Court gave five-year prison sentences to two Omanis and three Egyptians, and a three-year sentence to a cargo clearance officer.  Five other suspects were acquitted.[5]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video featuring Jamil bin Nasser al Anbari, also known as Abu Saber al Abyani, as part of a series on martyrs. Anbari is credited with helping to found AQAP and serve as a commander in the Aden-Abyan region. He also sent al Qaeda fighters to Iraq.[6]
  • U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein met with the Chief of General Staff Major General Ahmed Ali al Ashwal to discuss military relations between the United States and Yemen.  The meeting mainly focused on cooperative efforts that can be taken to train and rehabilitate Yemeni armed forces in their fight against al Qaeda and armed militants.[7]
  • A United Nations mission started a ten-day visit to Yemen to assess the humanitarian situation after approximately five months of violence and unrest.  The mission is expected to meet with key members of Saleh’s ruling party and opposition leaders.  The team plans to hold talks with President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son Ahmed, Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi, and tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar, a key leader in the opposition movement.[8]
  • Seventy-six foreign al Shabaab mercenaries sailed from the Somali port town of Kismayo en route to southern Yemen, said an al Shabaab fighter who identified himself as Abu Hureryah.  Al Shabaab militants in Somalia have been evacuating foreign mercenaries from the capital amid intensified military campaigns against al Shabaab.  Hureryah told All Headline News, “For the past several months we have been losing more lands and many fighters of us were killed, so this time it seems that our brothers in Yemen have more chance than we have here in Somalia so that is why the Mujahideens have left for Yemen.”  The19-year-old militant said that last week’s airstrike in Kismayo killed 39 al Shabaab militants, including 13 Somali and foreign commanders.”[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A roadside bomb near Ex-Control Afgoi, on the outskirts of Mogadishu, killed at least two Somali government soldiers and injured four others, according to witnesses and officials.  The bomb exploded while searches were conducting search operations in the district.[10]
  • The local al Shabaab administration in Kismayo has started to collect taxes from civilians, according to residents.[11]
  • A Somali government official said that al Shabaab has been kidnapping elderly civilians in regions under their control.  Mohamour Sayid Adam, a government official in Gedo region, said that elders have been trained by al Shabaab and participate in fighting against government and AMISOM forces.[12]&
  • Somali parliamentarians have approved the appointment of Abdiweli Mohamed Ali as the new prime minister with a vote of 337-2 and two abstentions.  Parliament speaker Sherif Hassan Sheikh Aden said, “The new PM has been approved by the parliament and so he is expected to appoint his cabinet ministers as soon as possible.”  Matt Baugh, the United Kingdom’s senior representative for Somalia, voiced the UK’s support for the new Prime Minister: “I am pleased that a new prime minister has been appointed. Dr Abdiweli has the UK’s full support in the difficult job that lies ahead. But we need to see much more progress on reform and the transitional tasks.”  The speaker announced that the primary goal of the new government will be to destroy al Shabaab and its affiliates.[13]

[1] “Terrorist plot foiled in Aden,” SABA News, June 27, 2011. Available:
[2] “Terrorist plot foiled in Aden,” Yemen News Agency (SABA), June 27, 2011. Available:
“Yemen foils Qaeda attack, Saleh speech seen on Tuesday,” Reuters, June 27, 2011. Available:
Yemen Post Staff, “Yemen Arrests Six Wanted al-Qaeda Suspects,” Yemen Post, June 28, 2011. Available:
[3] Hakim Almasmari, “Thousands of soldiers hunt 63 Al Qaeda suspects who escaped from Yemen jail,” The National, June 28, 2011. Available:
[4] Humeyra Pamuk, “Exclusive: Yemen weighs military option to repair pipeline,” Reuters Canada, June 28, 2011. Available:
[5] “Emirates court sentences 6 for Yemen arms plot,” AP, June 28, 2011.  Available:
“Dubai Foils Huge Arms Shipment Bound for Yemen,” AFP, March 24, 2011. Available:
[6] “AQAP Video Gives Biography of Slain Commander, Jamil al-‘Anbari,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 27, 2011. Available at SITE.
[7] “Yemeni official meets US envoy for talks,” Yemen News Agency (SABA), June 27, 2011. Available:
[8] Jamal al-Jaberi, “Saleh to speak on TV as UN launches Yemen mission,” AFP, June 28, 2011. Available:
[9] Shafi’l Abokar, “Foreign Al-Shabaab mercenaries pour into Yemen as unrest continues,” All Headline News, June 28, 2011. Available:
[10] “Two government soldiers killed in Mogadishu roadside bomb,” Shabelle Media Network, June 28, 2011. Available:
[11] “Al shabab begins taking taxation money from people in Kismayu,” Mareeg Online, June 27, 2011. Available:
[12] “Somali government official: Some elders ere held hostage by Al Shabaab,” Shabelle Media Network, June 28, 2011. Available:
[13] Ibrahim Mohamed, “Somalia parliament approves new prime minister,” Reuters, Junes 28, 2011. Available:
“UK lauds appointment of new Somali PM,” All Headline News, Junes 28, 2011. Available:
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