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 released video on American intervention in Yemen; Ma’rib tribesmen agree to truce after botched airstrike kills deputy governor; American couple freed; two men sentenced to death for spying for Iran; European arrested entering Yemen illegally

Horn of Africa: TFG rejects al Shabaab claims of Villa Somalia mortar attacks; German prosecutor investigating legality of reported mercenary contract; piracy trial underway in Netherlands; Hizb al Islam arrests journalists in Afgoi; land mine kills woman in Mogadishu; TFG finance minister resigns to run for parliament speaker

Yemen Security Brief

  • AQAP released a video on U.S. intervention in Yemen and its role in airstrikes on suspected al Qaeda camps.  The video contains footage of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day bomber; Uthman al Ghamdi, a former Guantanamo prisoner; Fahd al Quso, a USS Cole bombing suspect; and Qassim al Raymi, also known as Abu Hureira al Sana’ani, AQAP’s military commander.[1]
  • Ma’rib tribesmen agreed to a truce with the Yemeni government following a botched airstrike Tuesday that killed the region’s deputy governor, Jabir bin al Shabwani, and two of his bodyguards.[2]
  • Tribesmen near Sana’a freed an American couple Tuesday that they had kidnapped to demand the release of one of their kinsmen by local authorities.[3]
  • A court upheld death sentences for two Iranian men convicted of spying for Iran to support the al Houthi rebellion.[4]
  • Security forces arrested a European of Arab descent attempting to enter the country illegally in Lahij province.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The TFG refuted claims by al Shabaab that the militant group had launched deadly mortar attacks on the presidential palace in Mogadishu.[6]
  • A German prosecutor opened an investigation into reports that a Somali warlord contracted a German mercenary army to fight in his personal militia against the TFG. The deal could violate both German law and UN sanctions against Somalia.[7]
  • Europe’s first modern piracy trial commenced Tuesday in the Netherlands, trying five Somali men who attempted to hijack a Dutch Antilles-flagged ship last year. Although the targeted ship’s crew reported the pirates fired upon them with automatic weapons and rocket launchers, the pirates claim they were fishing for sharks when Danish marines captured them.[8]
  • Hizb al Islam authorities arrested three journalists Tuesday in Afgoi.[9] 
  • A land mine in the TFG-controlled Wadajir district of Mogadishu killed a woman Wednesday, but no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[10]
  • TFG finance minister Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden will resign his cabinet post to run for speaker of the Somali parliament following the resignation of Sheikh Adan Mohammed Nur Madobe last week.[11]

[1] “AQAP Releases Video Showing Failed Christmas Day Plane Bomber,” SITE Intel Group, May 26, 2010.
[2] “Yemeni tribesmen agree to truce,” Al Jazeera, May 26, 2010. Available: 
[3] “U.S. couple taken hostage in Yemen released,” Reuters, May 25, 2010. Available:
[4] “Yemen sentences ‘Iranian spies’ to death,” UPI, May 25, 2010. Available:  
[5] “European arrested for illegal entry into Yemen,” AFP, May 24, 2010. Available:
[6] “Somalia: There was no fighting in the Somali Presidential Palace,” Horseed Media, May 25, 2010. Available:
[7] “Investigation opens into German mercenaries in Somalia,” Deutsche Welle, May 26, 2010. Available:,,5609937,00.html
[8] “‘Pirates’ claim they were just fishing for sharks… with rocket launchers,” The Telegraph, May 25, 2010. Available:
[9] “Somalia: Three journalists arrested,” Mareeg, May 25, 2010. Available:
[10] “Somalia: One killed in a blast in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, May 26, 2010. Available:
[11] “Somalia: Sharif Hassan to ‘run for parliament speaker,” Garowe, May 25, 2010. Available:
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