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 Qaeda militant kills guard in failed hospital escape attempt; Saudi Arabia denies change in border with Yemen following conflict with rebels; 3 soldiers killed in military operation in Dhale; 27 arrested in southern Yemen
Horn of Africa: Canada places al Shabaab on terrorist list; Somali government plans to take back Mogadishu with American assistance; al Shabaab plans defense of capital; French ship captures 35 pirates; Ethiopia to release two Somali MPs
Yemen Security Brief
An al Qaeda militant killed a police guard as he tried to escape a hospital in Sana’a where he was being treated for injuries sustained during his arrest. The militant, Sharif Mobayli, is a German citizen of Somali origin. The militant surrendered to authorities after being surrounded. 
Saudi Arabia denied it is reconfiguring its border with Yemen after it entered into the long standing clash between the al Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government. Saudi Arabia was forced into the conflict after al Houthi rebels began using Saudi territory to launch attacks on Yemen.
Three soldiers were killed and dozens wounded in fighting between Yemen’s security forces and separatists in Dhale province. Approximately 20 suspects were arrested following the violence. Security forces used cannons and tanks to bomb houses of suspected separatists. Security forces are deployed throughout southern Yemen to stop unauthorized separatist rallies.
Police have arrested 27 separatists across Lahij, Dhale and Abyan provinces. Thirteen of the suspects arrested are accused of destroying property in the Houta district of Lahij province. The eight arrested in Abyan are charged with murder and highway robbery, while the remaining six were arrested in Dhale for participating in separatist rallies and shooting at security forces.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
Canada has officially designated al Shabaab as a “terrorist group,” to prevent the organization from gaining access to Canadian funds and resources. Canada took action after it received reports that al Shabaab members were reaching out to the Somali community in Canada to recruit members.
The Somali government is reportedly preparing to take back Mogadishu from Islamist militants that occupy much of the city. Somali officials say they are receiving assistance from Americans for the upcoming offensive. American advisers have helped train Somali government forces over the preceding months in anticipation of the recapture of the capital. American officials, however, have emphasized that there has been no increase in military aid for the coming operation.
An al Shabaab spokesman said Monday that the Islamist rebel group is prepared to defend any advance of their territory within Mogadishu from either TFG or “American” forces. The spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, also reiterated that al Shabaab will never negotiate with the TFG or allow the World Food Program to operate in southern Somalia. [Editor’s note: there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the U.S. has military personnel in Somalia.]
A French frigate has detained 35 pirates off the coast of Somalia in the last three days. Additionally four pirate “mother ships” and six smaller boats were captured. French officials claim the capture was the “biggest seizure” to date interrupting pirate activity.
Two Somali MPs and a security officer will reportedly be released soon from a prison in Ethiopia. The two MPs, Hussein Gagale and Abdullah Fahey, were arrested along with their security escort on January 30 as they entered Ethiopia from Somalia. Ethiopian officials claim that none of them had official documentation on them at the time of crossing.