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 Houthi rebels release 178 prisoners; Yemen protects oil resources against al Qaeda; Yemen and Saudi Arabia sign security agreement; 69 Somali refugees enter Yemen; large explosions mark clashes between protesters and government security forces in Dhale

Horn of Africa: UN calls for aid investigation in Somalia; UN report on the conflict in Somalia signifies that no side can stabilize the entire nation; Canadian reportedly killed in Somalia while fighting with al Shabaab; President Sheikh Sharif downplays UN corruption report; journalist captured by al Shabaab is released

Yemen Security Review 

  • The al Houthi rebels in northern Yemen have released 178 prisoners captured in their long running conflict with the Yemeni government. The prisoners are comprised of both government soldiers and civilians. The release follows accusations by the Yemeni government that the al Houthi rebels were not abiding by the terms of the truce agreed upon by both sides last month.[1]
  • Yemen has increased security around many of its major oil facilities to protect against the prospect of an al Qaeda attack. The security presence has increased drastically in Abyan, Aden, Hadramawt, and Shabwah, where the majority of the oil facilities are located. Al Qaeda has targeted Yemen’s oil sector before, which generates a large portion of the country’s GDP.[2]
  • Yemen and Saudi Arabia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve security relations between the two countries. The agreement includes cooperation on training and counterterrorism. The Saudis intervened last year in the clash between al Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government.[3]
  • 69 Somali refugees reached Yemeni shores in recent days. 39 of the refugees came ashore on the Broom coast in eastern Hadramawt, while another 30 landed on the Thubab coast in Taiz.[4]
  • Large explosions were reported in Dhale, sparking a new round of violence between government security forces and armed separatist gangs. Reports indicate that many of the clashes took place near government military facilities near the entrances to the city and in the suburbs. Dhale has been under tight security for the past several weeks due to large secessionist demonstrations within the city.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • UN Security Council members are calling for an “outside investigation” of Somalia’s aid program based on the charges of aid being distributed to Islamist rebels, corrupt contractors, and local UN workers. Security Council members stated they want to hear directly from the World Food Program (WFP) on the charges. WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran stated the agency is ready to fully cooperate with any investigation into its program.[6]
  • A recent report put out by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia concluded that no side in the Somalia conflict, including the government and Islamists, has the capacity to stabilize the nation and effectively impose its will on all Somalis. The report recommends sanctions against specific individuals and groups and a reassessment of the 1992 arms embargo.[7]
  • Mohamed al Muhajiri, a Somali-Canadian from Toronto who worshipped at the Abu Huraira Mosque, was killed while fighting with al Shabaab in Somalia. A video of al Muhajiri in Saudi Arabia was posted on YouTube, while the video and a statement lauding his service was posted on the al Qimmah Somali jihadist web forum.[8]
  • President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed belittled the UN Monitoring Group report on his government, stating the report was partly, not entirely, true. He described the report as filled with fabricated information based on street rumors and said it did not acknowledge the positive aspects of his government.[9]
  • Ahmed Omar Salihi, a director of Radio Markabely, has been released by al Shabaab after a temporary capture. The Islamist rebel group attacked his house and took him captive for a brief period.[10]


[1] “Yemen Houthi Rebels in the North ‘Release 178 Capitives,’ BBC News, March 17, 2010. Available:
[2] “Yemen Ups Oil Sector Security on Qaeda Attack Fears,” AFP, March 17, 2010. Available:
[3] “Yemen, Saudi Arabia Sign Security Memo,” Yemen News Agency (Saba), March 17, 2010. Available:
[4] “Fresh 69 Somali Refugees Reach Yemen,” Yemen News Agency (Saba), March 17, 2010. Available:
[5] “Explosions Shake Dhale, Trigger Fierce Clashes with Security Forces,” Yemen Post, March 17, 2010. Available:
[6] “UN Council Wants Investigation on Somalia Aid Diversion,”, March 17, 2010. Available:
[7] “UN: No Side Strong Enough to Stabilize Somalia,”, March 17, 2010. Available:
[8] “Martyr Video Claims Toronto Man 'Succeeded',”, March 17, 2010. Available:
[9] “President Shariff of Somalia Brushes Aside UN Report on Corruption,” Somaliweyn, March 17, 2010. Available:
[10] “Journalist Regains His Freedom,” Mareeg Online, March 17, 2010. Available:
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