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: At least thirty people killed in capital; al Houthis reportedly attack in Sa’ada governorate

Horn of Africa: UN eases asset freeze; Puntland ends agreement with Saracen International; TFG says presidential elections to be held; clashes in Mogadishu kill at least one person, injure five others; al Shabaab punishes two people in Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab meets with clan elders in Banadir region; Ethiopia said it would send troops if asked

Yemen Security Review

  • Witnesses report that Yemeni security forces and snipers fired on a protest in Sana’a, killing at least thirty people and injuring two hundred others. Tens of thousands of protestors had gathered in the main square of the capital after Friday prayers. Thousands of people also gathered in Taiz and Aden to demonstrate against the government.[1]
  • Al Houthi rebels reportedly killed Sheikh Saleh Mosfer Moaidh when they ambushed him and his body guards in Bakem district of Sa’ada governorate.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Review

  • The UN Security Council lifted some of its sanctions on Somalia for a period of 16 months. The assets freeze will no longer apply to “the payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources” necessary for UN humanitarian assistance.[3]
  • Puntland has ended its agreement with Saracen International, which was hired to train 1,050 men to fight pirates. The program was suspended on February 12 “after close consultation with the U.N.”[4]
  • The speaker of the parliament for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Sharif Hassan, announced that a presidential election would be held in Mogadishu before August 2011. The TFG’s mandate is set to expire on August 20, 2011.[5]
  • Clashes in Mogadishu between al Shabaab militants and TFG troops backed by AMISOM killed at least one person and injured five others. The fighting broke out in Hodan and Hawl Wadag districts, according to residents. At least one TFG soldier was killed and a civilian wounded in an exchanging fire in Hamarweyne district.[6]
  • Al Shabaab punished a man and woman accused of adultery in the Lower Jubba region. Hasan Dhubow and Hawa Hassan received one hundred lashes each and were then exiled.[7]
  • Al Shabaab’s chairman for the Banadir region Sheikh Mohammed Hassan Abu Abdurrahman hosted a meeting with local Mudulood clan elders to discuss clan support for the group.  Hassan Dahir Aweys and Sheikh Ali Mohammed Hussein, two al Shabaab officials, also attended the meeting. The clan elders announced that they were prepared to support al Shabaab.[8]
  • Ethiopia’s foreign affairs minister Berhan Jipkirist denied Ethiopian troop presence in Somalia. When asked if he would send troops, he said, “Ethiopia could answer if IGAD or TFG asks urgent support [for] military.”[9]

[1] “33 Killed in Yemen Clashes,” CNN, March 18, 2011.  Available:
“Yemeni Forces Open Fire on Anti-Government Protesters, Killing at Least 31, Wounding Dozens,” AP, March 18, 2011.  Available:
“Yemen Forces Open Fire at Protest, Eight Dead,” Reuters, March 18, 2011.  Available:
“Yemeni Police Open Fire on Protesters, Kill 2,” AP, March 18, 2011.  Available:
Laura Kasinof and J. David Goodman, “Yemeni Protesters Under Heavy Fire,” New York Times, March 18, 2011.  Available:
[2] “One Person Killed, Three Wounded in Sa’ada,” Yemen Post, March 18, 2011.  Available:
[3] “Security Council Eases Flow of Economic Resources in Somalia Needed for ‘Timely Delivery of Urgently Needed’ Humanitarian Aid, by Resolution 1972 (2011),” UN Press Release, March 17, 2011.  Available:
[4] “Somalia: Puntland Drops Deal with Mercenary Firm,” AP, March 17, 2011.  Available:
[5] “Parliament Said Presidential Election Will be Held in Mogadishu Before,” Shabelle Media Network, March 17, 2011.  Available:
[6] “Somali Forces, Al Shabaab Battle in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, March 18, 2011.  Available:
“Somalia: Firing Kills 1 Soldier, Injuries Other in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, March 18, 2011.  Available:
[7] “Al Shabaab Thrashes People Charged with Anti-Islam Sins,” Shabelle Media Network, March 18, 2011.  Available:
[8] “Al Shabaab Meets with Local Elders to Drum Up Support Mogadishu Battle,” Shabelle Media Network, March 18, 2011.  Available:
[9] Abdalle Ahmed, “Ethiopia Minister Says Ready to Send Troops into Somalia If Asked,” Raxanreeb Radio, March 17, 2011.  Available:
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