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: AQAP deputy leader calls for kidnapping of Christians, Saudi princes, and high-ranking officials, demands release of prisoner; southern secessionists give ultimatum for northern workers to leave Yafea district in Lahij province; government reports Somali piracy costing Yemen 350 million dollars annually

Horn of Africa: TFG launches counter-offensive against Islamists in Mogadishu; Somali man on no-fly list for suspected terror ties detained in U.S.; al Shabaab releases video of parliament attack; Puntland troops free hijacked cargo ship after brief shootout with pirates; crew of hijacked Libyan ship overpowers pirate captors; Somaliland officials arrest three journalists

Yemen Security Brief

  • AQAP deputy leader Abu Sufyan al-Azdi called for Muslims to kidnap Christians, Saudi princes, and other government officials to force the Saudi government to release its female prisoners. The audio message, released Wednesday on jihadist forums, demanded the Saudi government free AQAP operative Haila al-Qassir.[1]
  • Militants from the Southern Movement gave northern workers an ultimatum to leave the Yafea district Lahij province by Thursday. However, local tribesman decried the move and indicated they would defend the workers, who are mostly from Ta’izz and Ibb.[2]
  • A government report stated that Yemen is losing 300 to 350 million dollars annually in fishing revenue to Somali piracy.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • TFG soldiers backed by AMISOM forces launched a major counter-offensive against Islamist rebels in Mogadishu. A government security official, Colonel Ahmed Ibrahim, claimed that TFG forces took control of several neighborhoods that had been under Islamist control.  Early counts reported 21 civilians dead in the fighting.[4]
  • Canada handed a Somali man to American authorities after his plane from Paris to Mexico was barred from U.S. air space and forced to land in Canada. The man, Abdirahman Ali Gaal, is on the U.S. no-fly list for suspected terrorist ties, but established permanent residency in the country two years ago. Homeland Security officials will deport him following their questioning of him.[5]
  • Al Shabaab released a video of its May 16 attack on the Somali parliament on jihadist forums.[6]
  • Puntland troops stormed a hijacked Panama-flagged cargo ship Thursday, capturing seven pirates and freeing its crew. The pirates killed the ship’s captain and refused to surrender before a brief shootout subdued them.[7]
  • The crew of a hijacked Libyan ship attacked its Somali pirate captors as they were sleeping, overpowered them and freed the ship after three months of captivity.[8]
  • Security officials in Somaliland arrested three journalists for taking photographs of an opposition party’s flag.[9]

[1] “Al Qaeda Threatens to Kidnap Saudi Royals: TV,” Reuters, June 3, 2010.  Available:
“AQAP Deputy Leader Calls for Kidnapings to Support Prisoners,” SITE Intel Group, June 3, 2010.
[2] “Southern Mobility to Let Off Workers from Northern Provinces,” Yemen Post, June 2, 2010. Available:
[3] “Somali pirates cause Yemen $350m,” Africa News, June 3, 2010. Available:
[4] “At least 21 civilians killed in Mogadishu battle,” AFP, June 3, 2010. Available:
[5] “Terror Suspect Handed Over to American Authorities May Be Deported,” Newsweek, June 2, 2010. Available:
[6] “Shabaab Video Shows Raid on Somali Parliament,” SITE Intel Group, June 1, 2010.
[7] “Somali troops free pirate-held cargo ship,” BBC, June 3, 2010. Available:
[8] “Somalia: After 3 Months, Ship’s Crew Turns Tables on Pirate Captors,” AP, June 2, 2010. Available:
[9] “Somalia: 3 Journalists detained for taking photographs,” Somaliweyn, June 3, 2010. Available:
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