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: UPDATE: Saudis arrest 113 members of AQAP cells; Yemeni journalist released from prison; Yemen signs security agreement with India; doubts exist over government’s commitment to end war with al Houthi rebels

Horn of Africa: Washington withholds aid to Somalia following UN report; EU Naval detachment frees pirates; Ugandan government says al Shabaab suspect not in Uganda; TFG dallying in preparation for offensive; Somali government asks WFP to distribute idle food aid    

Yemen Security Brief  

  • UPDATE FROM YESTERDAY’S BRIEF: Saudi forces reported that they have arrested 113 militants with ties to AQAP over the past five months. A spokesman for the Saudi security forces said the arrested militants belonged to three separate cells affiliated with AQAP. It is believed the militants were targeting oil and security facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia.[1]
  • The owner and editor of the independent newspaper al Ayyam was freed on Wednesday from a prison after nearly three months in captivity. Hisham Bashraheel was arrested on January 6th this year when government forces raided his newspaper’s offices for allegedly sympathizing with southern separatists. Al Ayyam was one of eight daily newspapers forcibly closed in southern Yemen for fomenting unrest against the government.[2]  
  • Yemeni and Indian ministers signed several bilateral agreements on Wednesday in Sana’a on security, judicial measures, and trade. The two sides agreed to meet on a consistent basis and set up a committee on security cooperation.[3]  
  • The Yemeni government removed MPs from the ceasefire committees overseeing the truce between government forces and the al Houthi rebels. The move came after the committee had made significant progress in implementing a permanent peace deal.  Some analysts question whether the move signals a lack of commitment on the part of the government to permanently end the rebellion in the north.[4]


Horn of Africa Security Brief  

  • The United States is withholding millions of dollars in aid to Somalia following a UN report linking the World Food Program to massive corruption in that country, including the diversion of aid to Islamist extremist groups like al Shabaab. WFP operations in southern Somalia have been suspended since January due to al Shabaab threats against its staff.[5]  
  • A Spanish vessel of the European Union Naval Force released six pirates that had attempted to hijack a cargo ship en route to Mogadishu. The Naval Force was forced to release the suspects after the commander of the ship that had been attacked refused to identify them.[6]  
  • Ugandan security agencies dismissed allegations that Hashi Hussein Farah, who has been linked al Shabaab and al Qaeda, is in Uganda. Farah escaped from police custody in the Kenyan border town of Busia, and was believed to have crossed into Uganda.[7]  
  • Following the desecration of the graves of several clerics by al Shabaab members on Wednesday, yet another grave of a prominent cleric was destroyed on Thursday. The grave of Mo’alin Mohamed was exhumed by al Shabaab militants on Thursday as part of their campaign to destroy the tombs of all revered clerics in Mogadishu to prevent people from worshipping them. The Islamist militants oppose the veneration of the dead as apostasy.[8]
  • The TFG has made slow progress in preparing for their long awaited offensive against Islamist militants in the capital city of Mogadishu. No move by TFG forces seems imminent, and the government may squander an opportunity to strike while Hizb al Islam and al Shabaab, the two main Islamist groups, are divided.[9]  
  • The Somali government has asked the WFP to distribute food aid that currently sits in warehouses across Mogadishu. While the agency has suspended its activity in the south of the country, they still distribute aid in government controlled areas in the north and certain neighborhoods of Mogadishu.[10]          



[1] “Saudis Arrest 113 Militants,” The New York Times, March 24, 2010. Available:
[2] “Editor of Banned Yemen Daily ‘Freed From Jail,” AFP, March 25, 2010. Available:
[3] “Yemen Inks Security Deal With India,” UPI, March 24, 2010. Available:
[4] “Doubts Arise About Regime Seriousness To End Sa’ada Crisis,” Yemen Post, March 25, 2010. Available:
[5] “Somalia Funds Dry Up After Aid Diversion Report: U.N.,” Reuters, March 25, 2010. Available:
[6] “Naval Force Frees Pirate Suspects After Firefight,” The New York Times, March 25, 2010. Available:
[7] “Somalia: al Shabaab Terrorist Not in Uganda,” The New Vision, March 24, 2010. Available:
[8] “Somalia: al Shabaab Destroys a Grave of Another Famous Cleric,” Shabelle Media Network, March 25, 2010. Available:
[9] “Somalia: TFG Staggers Toward Big Push,” UPI, March 24, 2010. Available:
[10] “Somalia Government Orders WFP To Distribute Food in Mogadishu Warehouse,” Garowe Online, March 24, 2010. Available:
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