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: Saleh pledges to remain in office; defected general calls for troops’ defiance; at least five soldiers killed in AQAP attack in Ma’rib; at least three defected soldiers killed in clash with tribesmen in Taiz; Qatar withdraws from GCC’s mediation efforts

Horn of Africa: AMISOM force commander details Mogadishu operation; TFG Prime Minister said he would welcome U.S. direct action in Somalia; al Shabaab spokesman says militants will celebrate after killing Ugandan AMISOM soldiers in Mogadishu; at least six killed in Ahlu Sunna clash with al Shabaab in Galgadud; at least five combatants were killed in al Shabaab clash with Shabelle Valley militia in Hiraan

Yemen Security Brief

  • Republican Guard units were deployed to reinforce areas around the Yemeni presidential palace, radio station, and other key sites in the capital in anticipation of escalated demonstrations. President Ali Abdullah Saleh said, "We will confront a challenge with a challenge. Whoever wants power should head to the ballot box ... stop playing with fire…. I call on the opposition to join in a constructive dialogue under any organisation and in any place."[1]
  • Defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar issued a statement condemning the “brutal and barbaric” government response to the protests. He said to government troops, "Do not carry out orders from the regime to attack protesters and their peaceful demonstrations.”[2]
  • At least five soldiers were killed in Ma'rib when suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an army vehicle.[3]
  • Tribesmen loyal to the regime attacked a military vehicle carrying soldiers loyal to defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar delivering food to a checkpoint in Taiz. At least three soldiers were killed.[4]
  • Qatar withdrew from the GCC’s mediation efforts. Qatar’s official news agency said, “The government was obliged to take the decision because of the stalling and delays in the signing of the agreement, the escalation of the events, the severe confrontations and the lack of wisdom which contradict the spirit of the initiative.” Yemen’s ruling party replied, “Yemen is ready to deal with the Gulf initiative without the participation of the (Great) state of Qatar, which is involved in the conspiracy and events taking place not only in Yemen, but in the Arab region in general.”[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • AMISOM Force Commander in Mogadishu Major General Nathan Mugisha announced that an AMISOM operation in Hodan and Hawl Wadag districts of Mogadishu killed Burhan Ali “Ayatuulah,” al Shabaab’s military commander in Hawl Wadag district. Mugisha also announced that two AMISOM peacekeepers had been killed and three others injured.[6]
  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said he would welcome a U.S. Special Forces operation in Somalia. Mohamed said, "I would prefer training so we can do it ourselves, but in the absence of that, if there is a target or a threat to dismantle, I would welcome it." Mohamed warned that Somalia is the “first line of defense” against al Shabaab” and told Western leaders, “You have to fight Somalia and Afghanistan at the same level and intensity.” He said that 1,000 foreign fighters affiliated with al Qaeda assisted Islamist militias in taking control over southern Somalia.[7]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, warned Ugandans, who are celebrating the re-election of President Yuweri Museveni, that al Shabaab will celebrate in Somalia after killing the Ugandan soldiers that are part of AMISOM.[8]
  • Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama'a fighters clashed with al Shabaab militants in Guriel in the central Galgadud region. At least six people were killed.[9]
  • Al Shabaab militants clashed with Shabelle Valley administration militia in Jayga, a village outside Beledweyne in the Hiraan region. At least five fighters were killed and ten others were wounded.[10]

“Defiant Yemen Leader Calls Protesters Saboteurs,” Reuters, May 13, 2011. Available:
[3] Hammoud Mounassar, "Five Yemen soldiers killed in suspected Qaeda ambush," AFP, May 13, 2011. Available:
[4] Mohamed Sudam and Mohammed Ghobari, "Yemen's Saleh defies crowds demanding his exit," Reuters, May 13, 2011. Available:
[5] "Qatar Quits Yemen Mediation Bid; Protests Spread,” AP, May 13, 2011. Available:
[6] "Security operations in Hodan and Hawlwadag" AMISOM Press Release, May 12, 2011. Available:
[7] Joe Lauria, "Somalia Would Embrace U.S. Strike," Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2011. Available:
[8] "Al shabaan sends again a warning message to Uganda," Shabelle Media Network, May 13, 2011. Available:
[9] Abdalle Ahmed, "SOMALIA: 15 killed in fresh gun battle in Somalia," Raxanreeb, May 13, 2011. Available:
[10] "Central Somalia fighting leaves dead," Shabelle Media Network, May 13, 2011. Available:
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