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: AQAP commander confirms leaders’ deaths, promises revenge; Saudis recover two German girls kidnapped in Yemen last June; kidnapped Chinese workers reportedly released; Yemen sentences pirates to death

Horn of Africa: Somali PM rejects president’s call for new government; UN representative to Somalia backs president’s decision to dissolve government; Puntland forces arrest wanted pirate leader; former warlord claims unpaid TFG soldiers defecting with weapons; pro-government forces retake Elberde from al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • The military commander of AQAP, Qasim al Raymi, eulogized the death of militant Jamil Nasser Abdullah al Ambari and Nayef al Qahtani. He said al Ambari’s death gave al Qaeda “1000 reasons,” to attack America, also confirming for the first time that a March airstrike did indeed kill al Ambari as reported.  Qahtani, who had established AQAP’s media outlet and served as a link between the Saudi and Yemeni branches of AQAP, was designated as a terrorist by State and the UN on May 11.  He reportedly died in April in a gunbattle with Saudi forces.[1]
  • Saudi Arabia freed two German girls kidnapped in northern Yemen last June. A Saudi official said security forces received a tip from local tribesman and recovered the girls in a cross-border raid.[2]
  • The governor of Shabwa province, Ali Hassan al Ahmadi, reported that the two Chinese engineers taken hostage were in the process of being released.[3]
  • Yemen sentenced six pirates to death for their role in hijacking a Yemeni oil tanker in April 2009.  Six others were sentenced to ten years in prison.  One crew member was killed during the hijacking and another went missing.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke rejected his president’s call yesterday to appoint a new prime minister, and said he will stay in office until legally removed.[5]
  • The UN Special Representative to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said he will back the president’s decision to dissolve the government.[6]
  • Puntland security forces arrested wanted pirate leader Abdirizaq Abdullahi Boyah and four others Tuesday in Garowe.[7]
  • A former warlord and Defense Minister, Sheikh Yusuf Mohamed Siad, also known as Indha Adde, criticized the TFG.  He claimed that Somali forces were defecting to militant groups with thousands of weapons because the government could not pay their wages.[8
  • Pro-government forces recaptured Elberde, a town in southwest Somalia, from al Shabaab militants without confrontation Tuesday.  Residents report that Ethiopian troops backed the soldiers.[9]

[1] “US giving Qaeda ‘1,000 reasons’ to attack: Yemen chief,” AFP, May 17, 2010. Available: 
“Senior Yemen al-Qaida Leader Reported Killed in Saudi Arabia,” The Guardian, May 15, 2010.  Available:
“AQAP Military Commander Gives Eulogies for Slain AQAP Officials,” SITE Intel Group, May 17, 2010.
[2] “German girls freed in Yemen raid,” Times Online, May 18, 2010. Available:
[3] “Yemen: Kidnapped Chinese Oil Engineers Released,” AP, May 18, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Yemen Court Sentences Six Somali Pirates to Death,” Reuters, May 18, 2010.  Available:
[5] “Somalia prime minister resists sacking,” AFP, May 18, 2010. Available:
[6] “SRSG supports President Sheikh Sharif's decision to dissolve Government,” Garowe, May 18, 2010. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Puntland forces arrest wanted pirates in Garowe,” Garowe, May 18, 2010. Available:  
[8] “‘Somalia troops join insurgency,’: ex-defense official,” Garowe, May 17, 2010. Available:
[9] “Somalia: Pro government forces recapture town from al Shabaab,” Mareeg, May 18, 2010. Available:
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