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: Violent AQAP clashes in Aden, Hadramawt, and Abyan; six people killed in protest clashes; GCC’s transition plan signing ceremony postponed “indefinitely;” ten AQAP militants put on trial

Horn of Africa: Eight TFG soldiers surrender to al Shabaab; Ahlu Sunna troops clash with AQAP in and near Garbaharey; at least six combatants killed in clash with al Shabaab near Beledweyne; at least two al Shabaab officials killed in clash near Elbur; two civilians killed in Mogadishu clash; al Shabaab reportedly withdraws from parts of Bakool region; Ahlu Sunna spokesman condemns al Shabaab mine-laying; Puntland’s president names TFG officials responsible for assassinations; U.S. senator visits Puntland; unidentified gunmen assassinate Puntland’s chief of traffic police

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni police clashed with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Aden who were blocking a major road; one militant was killed in the clash. In Sayun, Hadramawt, at least four soldiers were killed and four others were wounded when AQAP militants reportedly attacked a government patrol guarding the telecommunications headquarters; security officials reported that that the gunmen sped past in a car and opened fire on the soldiers. In Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate, three soldiers were killed and five others were reportedly injured when AQAP militants attacked a government complex.[1]
  • Clashes in Aden's al Mansura district killed two soldiers and four protestors, injuring at least 23 others. Local officials reported that protestors "opened fire" on soldiers trying to demolish roadblocks; the soldiers reportedly returned fire.[2]
  • The GCC's transition plan signing ceremony has been postponed "indefinitely." President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to sign the GCC's transition plan agreement personally and wished to sign as the head of the ruling General People's Congress party, not as president. This prompted Yemen's opposition bloc, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), to withdraw from the signing ceremony. Sultan al Atwani, an opposition leader, said that the JMP is waiting for U.S. and EU guidance on how to proceed. He added that the JMP is considering escalating demonstrations. The GCC issued a communiqué rejecting Saleh’s accusations that Qatar was conspiring against Yemen. The GCC reiterated that the transition plan was “the joint will of GCC states.” The GCC is dispatching the council's secretary-general, Abdul Latif bin Rashid al Zayani, to Sana'a to restart transition talks.[3]
  • Ten alleged AQAP militants were put on trial in Sana'a. The defendants are accused of setting off a bomb in Sana'a's Hadda district in April 2008, as well as attacks on "military, security services, a currency exchange bureau in the western port city of Al-Hudaydah, and the 21-day kidnapping of the son of a Yemeni tribal leader."[4]
  • The Yemeni Embassy in Washington D.C., released a statement welcoming the death of Osama bin Laden: “The Government of the Republic of Yemen welcomes the elimination of Usama Bin Ladin, the founding father of the Al-Qaeda’s terrorist network. The successful operation, spearheaded by U.S. forces, marks a monumental milestone in the ongoing global war against terrorism.”[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab released a communiqué reporting that eight Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers surrendered in the Lower Shabelle region. Al Shabaab added that "The Islamic Lower Shabelle province held a ceremony to celebrate the repentance of the soldiers."[6]
  • Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama'a fighters and TFG troops clashed with al Shabaab militants on the road between Garbaharey and Beled Hawo in Gedo region. TFG officials claimed that at least ten al Shabaab militants have been killed. Abdi Aziz Abu Mus'ab, an al Shabaab spokesman, claimed that al Shabaab militants had captured two military vehicles and scores of weapons. Fighting between Ahlu Sunna and al Shabaab resumed in the town of Garbaharey itself. Six combatants were reportedly killed in the clash.[7]
  • Fighters loyal to the Shabelle Valley administration clashed with al Shabaab fighters in Beledweyne in the Hiraan region. At least six people were killed.[8]
  • Ahlu Sunna troops clashed with al Shabaab militants in the village of Waradhumalo near Elbur in Galgudud region. At least two al Shabaab officials were reportedly killed and six others were injured in the attack.[9]
  • Two civilians were killed and “many more” were wounded when al Shabaab militants clashed with TFG and AMISOM troops near the former Defense Ministry compound in Mogadishu. Al Shabaab reportedly used mortars and heavy machine guns.[10]
  • Al Shabaab forces reportedly withdrew from parts of the Bakool region. This comes amid a joint TFG-Ahlu Sunna effort to push al Shabaab out of the Gedo, Bakool, and Bay regions.[11]
  • Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, the spokesman of Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama'a in the Gedo region, condemned the al Shabaab strategy of planting explosives and land mines along roads, citing the risk of collateral damage to civilians.[12]
  • Puntland's President Abdirahman Mohammed Farole accused TFG officials of ordering assassinations in Puntland: "killings in Puntland are politically motivated assassinations carried out by Somali Transitional federal government officials who failed in Somali politics and wants create [sic] insecurity in the state."[13]
  • U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) visited Puntland. Puntland's Presidential Communications Office released a press statement saying that Senator Kirk and Puntland officials "covered a range of topics" from humanitarian issues to counter-piracy efforts.[14]
  • Unidentified gunmen assassinated Somaliland's chief of traffic police in Las Anod. Twenty-four hours earlier in Las Anod, unidentified men wounded a police officer and two other people in a similar attack.[15]

[1] Shuaib M. al-Mosawa, "Yemen police kills high profile al-Qaeda, detects two," Yemen Observer, April 30, 2011. Available:
"Four Soldiers Killed and Four Wounded in Hadramout Province," Yemen Post, May 1, 2011. Available:
"Al-Qaeda gunmen kill 3 soldiers in Abyan," SABA Net, May 1, 2011. Available:
"Three Soldiers Killed in Militant Attack in Abyan," Yemen Post, May 1, 2011. Available:
Ahmed al Haj and Hamza Hendawi, "Gulf bid to end Yemen crisis nears collapse," AP, May 1, 2011. Available:
[2] "Yemen pact in tatters after Saleh refuses to sign," AFP, April 30, 2011. Available:
[3] Ahmed al Haj and Hamza Hendawi, "Gulf bid to end Yemen crisis nears collapse," AP, May 1, 2011. Available:
"Saleh refuses to sign transition deal: Yemen's opposition," Reuters, April 30, 2011. Available:
Hammoud Mounassar, "Gulf pact to renew Yemen mediation," AP, May 1, 2011. Available:
"Yemen unrest: Deal postponed as Saleh refuses to sign," BBC News, May 1, 2011. Available:
"Gulf official says Yemen deal postponed," AP, May 1, 2011. Available:
“GCC ministers reject Yemen ‘conspiracy’ claim,” AFP, May 2, 2011. Available:
[4] "Defiant Al-Qaeda suspects go on trial in Yemen," Daily Monitor, May 2, 2011. Available:
[5] “Press Statement,” Embassy of the Republic of Yemen Washington D.C., May 2, 2011. Available:
[6] "Shabaab Reports Surrender of Somali Soldiers, Ambush," SITE Intel Group, April 29, 2011. Available at SITE.
[7] "Al shabaab cut off road between Belet Hawo and Garbaharey," Shabelle Media Network, May 1, 2011. Available:
"Somali forces, Shabaal [sic] clash in southern Somalia town," Shabelle Media Network, May 1, 2011. Available:
"Battle between Somali troops, Al shabaab restarts in southern Somalia," Shabelle Media Network, May 2, 2011. Available:
[8] "6 killed in central Somalia clash," Shabelle Media Network, May 1, 2011. Available:
[9] "Somalia: Ahlu Sunna claims Al shabaab officers killed in central Somal [sic]," Shabelle Media Networks, May 1, 2011. Available:
[10] “Al-Shabaab attack TFG and AMISOM positions around the EX-Defense Ministry Compound,” Mareeg Online, May 1, 2011. Available:
[11] “Al-shabaab withdraw from parts of Bakool Region,” Mareeg Online, April 30, 2011. Available:
[12] "Somalia: Ahlu Sunna criticizes Al shabaab," Shabelle Media Network, May 1, 2011. Available:
[13] "Somalia: President Farole accused TFG assassination killings in Puntland," Garowe Online, April 29, 2011. Available:
[14] "U.S. Senator Kirk Visits Somalia’s Stable State of Puntland," Puntland Presidency, May 1, 2011. Available:
[15] "Somaliland official shot and wounded in northern Somalia town," Shabelle Media Network, May 1, 2011. Available:
"After shooting, Somaliland official dies from his wounds," Shabelle Media Network, May 1, 2011. Available:
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