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: Times Square bomber Shahzad influenced by Awlaki; Yemeni government downplays US warnings; Yemeni officials probe American al Qaeda shooting in hospital

Horn of Africa: Power sharing deal between TFG and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a strained; Russia frees Somali pirates that seized oil tanker; Seychelles to create pirate court; al Shabaab threatens exiled Somali journalists in Kenya; al Shabaab cuts off hand of man accused of stealing

Yemen Security Brief

  • Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani man arrested for the Times Square car bomb, admitted that Anwar al Awlaki inspired him.  It is not clear whether Shahzad and Awlaki ever communicated directly.[1] 
  • Yemen has downplayed the U.S. security warning for U.S. citizens in Yemen saying that there are no threats to the embassy and to Americans in Yemen.[2] 
  • Yemeni authorities have begun questioning Sharif Mobley, a U.S. citizen accused of being a member of al Qaeda who shot and killed a guard when he tried to escape a hospital in Sana’a.  A Yemeni official said that Mobley might have ties to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day bomber.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The power-sharing agreement between Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a and the TFG is strained after Ahlu Sunna denounced the inclusion of politician Ahmed Abdisalan Haji Adan and ex-Mogadishu warlord Mohammed Qanyare.  Ahlu Sunna labeled them as “foreign elements” and objected strongly to their “interference” in the deal.[4]
  • Russia says that it has released the ten pirates that it had arrested for capturing a Russian tanker due to “imperfections” in international law.  Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Alexei Kuznetsov did not elaborate on the legal reasons behind their release.[5]
  • The Seychelles announced the establishment of a center to prosecute suspected pirates.  The regional center receives UN, EU, Australian, Canadian, and German support.[6]
  • Fourteen exiled Somali journalists camped outside the UNHCR headquarters in Nairobi to publicize their plight.  The journalists say that they are receiving death threats from al Shabaab, despite having left Somalia.[7]
  • The al Shabaab administration in Hudur in Bakool region publicly amputated the right hand of a man convicted of stealing mobile phones and money.[8]


[1] “Times Square Bomb Suspect Is Linked to Militant Cleric,” The New York Times, May 6, 2010. Available:
[2] “Yemen Plays Down U.S. Warning to Citizens,” Saba Net, May 6, 2010.  Available:
[3] “Yemen Court Questions US Al-Qaeda Suspect,” Arab News, May 7, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Ahlu Sunnah And The Collapse Of Power Deal With TFG,” Garowe Online, May 7, 2010. Available:
[5] “Russia Says Pirates Who Held Tanker Are Freed,” AP, May 7, 2010. Available:
[6] “Seychelles to Establish Regional Court to Prosecute Pirates,” VOA, May 6, 2010. Available:
[7] “Exiled Somali Journalists Threatened By Hardliners,” AFP, May 6, 2010. Available:
[8]  “Somalia: al Shabaab Cuts Thiefs Hand,” Mareeg, May 7, 2010. Available:
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