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: Iran rebuffs Yemeni accusation; former Yemeni ambassador jailed for separatist activities; Yemen calls on aid donors to fulfill pledges; European men arrested in Yemen for undergoing weapons training; Yemeni security forces arrest doctors in Dhale; Yemeni ambassador to Ethiopia calls for international pressure on Eritrea

Horn of Africa: Somali legislator endorses al Shabaab protest; al Shabaab claims damaging helicopter; Islamist groups prepare for central war; emergency overnight curfew imposed in Dhusamareb; IDP crisis hitting rock bottom; Panamanian-flagged vessel hijacked near Yemen;  Somali pirates make unprecedented hijackings; Malta tanker escapes pirate attack; Hawiye clan elders to pirates: “release hijacked boats”

Yemen Security Brief

  • An Iranian diplomat said Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s remark that Iran was interfering in Yemen was “unwise.” President Saleh accused Iran of interference in a recent interview in the pan-Arab daily al Hayat newspaper.[1]
  • The former Yemeni ambassador to Mauritania, Kasem Askar, was sentenced on Saturday to five years in prison after calling for southern Yemen to secede. Askar has been in police custody since April of last year when he was arrested on charges of separatist activity.[2]
  • Yemeni officials met with a group of international donors in Abu Dhabi on Monday to urge them to deliver the aid they have pledged to Yemen. 20 Western and Arab countries were represented at the meeting, many of whom expressed concern with the tenuous security situation in Yemen.[3]
  • Two unidentified individuals from Europe were arrested in Yemen for allegedly undergoing weapons training in Dhamar province. Four weapons were found in their possession upon arrest. One suspect is believed to be of Arab heritage, although his ties to Yemen are unknown at this point.[4]
  • Security forces were reportedly arresting doctors in the southern Yemeni city of Dhale on Saturday in an effort to prevent them from treating wounded protesters. Dhale has been the scene of large demonstrations to demand the secession of southern Yemen. Sources reportedly saw security forces enter a local hospital and arrest two doctors.[5]
  • Dirham A. Noman, the new Yemeni ambassador to Ethiopia, said there must be an international effort to quell Eritrea’s destabilizing role in the region. Ambassador Noman said the current U.N. Security Council sanctions on Eritrea were appropriate and that he would continue to work with Ethiopia to create peace in the Horn of Africa region.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Hussein Arale Cadan, a Somali National Assembly man, passionately endorsed yesterday’s al Shabaab protest in Mogadishu stating “[the] demonstration [was] staged at the most appropriate time.”[7]
  • Islamist group al Shabaab claims it has damaged a helicopter flying over the coastal town of Marka.[8]
  • Somali Islamist rebel groups al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a have been building up their forces in the central region of Galgudud, which has created panic amongst residents in the region, in preparation for fighting over central Somali towns where the groups maintain a strong presence. Al Shabaab reportedly sent out 2,000 fighters with armory vehicles yesterday to central towns, including Dhusamareb.[9]
  • Somali Islamist group Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a imposed an unexpected overnight curfew in the capital town of Dhusamareb in the central Somali Galgudud region. The curfew began at 8:00 pm and lasted until daybreak.[10]
  • Hawa Abdi, a doctor-turned-relief-worker, has stated as more aid groups pull out of IDP camps and people flee to escape violence, the IDP crisis nears its most extreme level. Abdi stated the crisis is at the point where the need for aid and assistance is at its highest level and aid is at its lowest.[11]
  • The Panamanian vessel MV Iceberg 1, along with its 24 person crew, has been hijacked 10 miles outside the Gulf of Aden port. The crew was made up of nationals from the Philippines, Yemen, Pakistan, Ghana, India, and Sudan. The vessel was bound for Jebel Ali, in the United Arab Emirates, with mechanical equipment as its cargo.[12]
  • Somali pirates conducted unprecedented hijackings by seizing 8 ships in three days, while 120 crew members have been taken captive. The ships were hijacked shortly after leaving the coastal city of Kismayo for Dubai  No demand for ransom has been made as of yet.[13]
  • The Maltese vessel MV Saveh escaped a two-hour pirate attack 300 miles north of the Seychelles. The MV Saveh was headed from Durban to Kuwait.[14]
  • Ahmed Dirie Ali, spokesman of the Hawiye clan elders, called for the pirates to release the many vessels they are holding captive.[15]

[1] “Yemeni Accusation Against Iran ‘Unwise,’” Press TV, March 29, 2010. Available:
[2] “Diplomat Jailed Over Charges Of Abusing Yemen’s Unity,” Yemen Observer, March 30, 2010. Available:
[3] “Yemen Urges Donors To Honour Aid Pledges,” AFP, March 30, 2010. Available:
[4] “Yemen Nabs Europeans Training on Weapons,” Yemen Observer, March 30, 2010. Available:
[5] “Doctors Arrested in Southern Governate,” Sahwa Net, March 29, 2010. Available:
[6] “Yemeni Ambassador Calls For Additional Pressure on Eritrea,” Sahwa Net, March 29, 2010. Available:
[7] “Somali Legislator Endorses Protest Against Al-Shabab,” Somaliweyn, March 30, 2010. Available:
[8] “Al Shabaab Claims Damaging a Helicopter,” Mareeg Online, March 30, 2010. Available:
[9] “Al Shabaab Prepares Fighters for War in Central Somalia,” Garowe Online, March 30, 2010. Available:
[10] “Emergency Overnight Curfew Imposed on Dhusamareb Town,” Somaliweyn, March 30, 2010. Available:
[11] “Situation of IDPs "At Its Worst" As Aid Runs Out,” IRIN, March 29, 2010. Available:
[12] “A Ship with Filipinos Hijacked in Somalia,” Xinhua, March 30, 2010. Available:
[13] “Somali Pirates Hijack Eight Ships in Three Days,” The Christian Science Monitor, March 30, 2010. Available:
“India probing multiple hijackings off Somalia,” AFP, March 30, 2010. Available:
[14] “Malta Flagged Oil Tanker Evades Pirate Attack,” European Union Naval Forces Somalia (Northwood), March 29, 2010. Available:
[15] “Elders Call on Pirates to Release Hijacked Boats,” Mareeg Online, March 30, 2010. Available:
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