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: US and Yemen discuss strategy against al Qaeda; landmine kills man in southern Yemen; Eritrea releases detained Yemeni fishermen; Saudis clamp down on Yemeni border infiltrators; two prison guards killed in Taiz

Horn of Africa: Islamic Clerics state war in Somalia is not jihad; three civilians killed in Mogadishu; Islamist flog three civilians in southern town; explosion in Bosaso targeted Puntland official; thousands have fled Mogadishu due to ongoing conflict; Somali pirates operate closer to India

Yemen Security Brief

  • US Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence James Clapper met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana’a on Monday to discuss terrorism and the al Qaeda threat to ships off the coast of Yemen. The US Office of Naval Intelligence reported Monday that al Qaeda intended to strike maritime targets in the Gulf of Aden, the Bab al Mandab and the Red Sea.[1]
  • An elderly man was killed when he stepped on a landmine in Juban in Dhale governorate in southern Yemen. His 13-year old son was also injured in the explosion. Yemen remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world due to its ongoing internal conflicts.[2]
  • Eritrea has released 26 Yemeni fishermen in the past 48 hours. The fishermen were detained in what they claimed to be international waters. The fishermen were released to Hudaydah governorate in western Yemen.[3] 
  • Yemeni citizens caught illegally crossing the Saudi border are reportedly being dealt with harshly by Saudi security forces. Saudi forces have been vigilantly monitoring the border since the escalation of the al Houthi conflict last year, and are now reportedly even firing upon some individuals crossing illegally from Yemen to Saudi Arabia.[4]
  • Hundreds gathered to protest in Taiz last Saturday following the deaths of two prison guards. The guards were killed by an escaped prisoner and several compatriots while he was being transported to the hospital. Protesters gathered to denounce what they viewed as corruption within the prison system that allows prisoners to escape.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan, a prominent Somali cleric, has cited the war in Somalia as “un-Islamic and not jihad.” However, al Shabaab’s senior commander in Bay and Bakool, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, rejected Shiek Gurhan’s statement. Sheikh Gurhan also stated the wars in Galgudud, Hiraan and Banadir must also end because they are also un-Islamic.[6]
  • Heavy fighting and shelling in Mogadishu between Hizb al Islam and the TFG is responsible for the deaths of three civilians and injuring five.[7]
  • The Islamist rebel group al Shabaab flogged, under a Shari’a court sentencing, two men and a woman in the town of Bardhere, in the southern Somali region of Gedo. Halimo Mohamed Fidow was sentenced after being convicted of marrying two men; Omar Shiqow for using a cell phone, something considered by al Shabaab as being in violation of Shari’a; and Abdullahi Mohamed Abdirahman, for being accused of seducing a married woman.[8]
  • Deputy Major of Bosaso Abdukadir Yusuf Dahir was injured, along with four of his children, after an unidentified assailant hurled a grenade into his house. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack as of yet.[9]
  • The ongoing conflict in Mogadishu between Islamist militants and the Somali government has displaced over 55,000 since the beginning of February. Many refugees have headed to refugee camps Kenya. "Staying in Mogadishu now is like a death sentence: you are not safe; your neighbour is not safe," stated Hawo Sheikh Ali, a refugee.[10]
  • EU Naval forces have reported that Somali pirates have captured a Turkish vessel, along with its 21 person crew, over 1,000 miles from their bases, now closer to India than Africa.[11]

[1] “Yemen-US Discuss Anti-Terrorism Measures,” AFP, March 23, 2010. Available:
[2] “Landmines Continue to Kill, Wound People in South and North,” Yemen Post, March 22, 2010. Available:
[3] “Eritrea Continues Targeting Yemeni Fishermen,” Yemen News Agency (Saba), March 23, 2010. Available:
[4] “Saudi Repressive Measure Against Yemenis,” Sahwa Net, March 22, 2010. Available:
[5] “Protesters Demand Justice, After Two Prison Guards Killed in Taiz,” Yemen Times, March 22, 2010. Available:
[6] “Islamic clerics: 'Somalia war is not jihad',” Garowe Online, March 22, 2010. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Fresh Fighting Kills Civilians in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, March 23, 2010. Available:
[8] “Islamists Flog Three People in Southern Town,” Mareeg Online, March 23, 2010. Available:
[9] “Blast Targeted to Puntlaln's Official in Bosaso,” Shabelle Media Network, March 23, 2010. Available:
[10] “Kenya-Somalia - Thousands Flee Mogadishu 'Death Trap',” IRIN, March 22, 2010. Available:
[11] “Somali Pirates Extend Their Reach Towards India,”, March 23, 2010. Available:
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