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: FBI and DHS officials deny AQAP is responsible for September plane crash in Dubai; British police say that parcel bomb could have exploded in U.S. airspace; AQAP releases video portraying its militant action as “deterrence” against western aggression; two gunmen attack security checkpoint in Dhaleh, wound four soldiers; high level al Qaeda officials reportedly relocating to Yemen; U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security John Brennan believes President Saleh is doing his best to fight terrorism; Yemeni general denies creation of a multinational security force in Yemen; bomb explodes outside leading party’s headquarters in Abyan governorate

Horn of Africa: Hizb al Islam leader calls on his group and al Shabaab to launch joint offensive; 11 people dead and 25 wounded in Mogadishu violence; Ugandan foreign ministry secretary says UN should allocate resources to AMISOM instead of anti-piracy operations; al Shabaab militants kill elderly woman in Beledweyne; Panama tanker taken hostage by pirates; al Shabaab recruiting child soldiers from Kenyan refugee camp; TFG troops detain 40 people in Hamar Weyne district of Mogadishu; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a spokesman apologizes for al Shabaab’s actions in Beled Hawo; UN envoy to Somalia praises Puntland’s security efforts

Yemen Security Brief

  • According to an internal bulletin, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security deny that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is responsible for the September crash of a UPS plane in Dubai.  The bulletin reads, “Other terrorist organizations have falsely claimed credit for events with a high media profile to bolster their image and external perceptions of their operational capabilities.”[1]
  • British police believe that new forensic evidence indicates that the October parcel bomb discovered in London could have exploded over the eastern seaboard.[2]
  • AQAP’s media arm al Malahem Foundation released a 31 minute video on jihadist forums justifying its militant action against Yemeni troops as “deterrence.”  The video shows footage of 14 attacks carried out by AQAP between August 19 and October 16 of this year.  The video, entitled “Deterrence of Aggression,” portrays the Yemeni government and troops as accomplices of the U.S. and accuses them of attacking both civilians and AQAP militants.[3]
  • Two gunmen, believed to be separatists, were injured during an attack on a security checkpoint in Dhaleh governorate that wounded four soldiers.  Local sources also report that armed separatists closed the Sana’a-Aden road in Kawbah Sanah area.  These attacks coincide with continuing protests against the detention of Southern Movement leader Hassam Baoum.[4]
  • The Yemen Post reports that, according to a Kuwaiti newspaper, a number of al Qaeda leaders have relocated from Iran to Yemen.[5]
  • U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security John Brennan said, “I am confident President Saleh does his best and cooperates with us, and his government sticks to the law when fighting terrorism” in Yemen.  He added  that “all measures taken by Yemeni officials were in accordance with the law and in the best interest of the Yemeni people.”[6]
  • General Yahya Mohamed Abdullah Saleh, commander of the Central Security Forces and Yemen’s counterterrorism unit, rejected claims by a London newspaper that a multinational security force was established in Yemen to fight terrorism.[7]
  • A bomb exploded near the General People's Congress headquarters in Lawder in Abyan governorate on November 11.  Local officials do not know who is responsible for the explosion.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Hizb al Islam leader Sheikh Aweys called on Hizb al Islam and al Shabaab to launch a joint attack against AMISOM and government forces during the last month of the Islamic calendar.[9]
  • In Mogadishu, 11 people were killed and 25 were wounded after fighting between TFG and AMISOM troops and al Shabaab militants.  Seven people died in fighting in Bondhere district, three were killed in Wardhigley district, and two were killed in shelling in Bakara market.[10]
  • Ugandan foreign ministry secretary James Mugume said that the UN ought to encourage countries to send money to bolster the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia  rather than the anti-piracy force.  Mugume said, “The international reaction has been: ‘Let’s deal with piracy.  Let’s have our commanders there.’  It is a good reaction, but it has not been successful.”  He added that Uganda’s plan to first expand the mandate of AU troops and then to block the ports is “more sustainable and it brings regional peace and security.”[11]
  • Al Shabaab militants killed an elderly woman and injured another civilian in Beledweyne in Hiraan region on November 11.[12]
  • A Panama tanker sailing from Malaysia to Suez was taken hostage by pirates off the coast of Somalia.  The ship has 31 crew members on board.[13]
  • Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya, home to 300,000 refugees, nearly all Somalis who have been there for generations, has become one of al Shabaab’s recruitment sites for child soldiers.  A UN official said that al Shabaab will continue recruiting refugees as long as the group controls the Somali-Kenyan border.[14]
  • TFG troops detained more than 40 people during night operations in Hamar Weyne district in Mogadishu.  Most of the people arrested broke the curfew imposed by the Hamar Weyne administration and were released.[15]
  • Spokesman of Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a and government troops in Gedo region Sharif Abdiwahid Sharif Aden released a public apology to the people of Beled Hawo for the “threats and other intimidations” committed by al Shabaab.   Sharif Abdiwahid claimed that Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a would regain control of the town soon.[16]
  • The UN Secretary General special envoy to Somalia Augustine Mahiga praised Puntland’s security situation during a recent visit.  Mahiga said, “Puntland has achieved success in security and stability that must be emulated by the rest of Somalia.”[17]

[1] “FBI: Al-Qaida’s Yemen Group Not Behind Dubai Crash,” AP, November 10, 2010. Available:
[2] “Police: Mail Bomb Could Have Exploded Over US,” AP, November 10, 2010. Available:
[3] “AQAP Justifies Attacks as Deterring Aggression,” SITE Intel Group, November 11, 2010. Available at SITE.
[4] “4 Troops Wounded as Gunmen Attack Yemen Security Checkpoint,” Yemen Post, November 12, 2010. Available:
[5] “Yemen Qaeda Commanders Come Through Iran- Kuwaiti Paper,” Yemen Post, November 11, 2010. Available:
[6] “Obama Advisor: I am Confident Saleh Does His Best to Eliminate Al-Qaeda,” Yemen Post, November 11, 2010. Available:
[7] “General Denies Foreign Intelligence Force in Yemen,” Yemen Observer, November 11, 2010. Available:
[8] “Bomb Explodes Next to Yemen Ruling Party Building,” Reuters, November 12, 2010. Available:
[9] “Hizbul Islam Calls Fighters to Plan Big Offensive against AMISOM, Government,” Mareeg Online, November 12, 2010. Available:
[10] “Somalia: Violence Kills 11 People in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, November 11, 2010. Available:
[11] “Send Troops, Not Navies, to Somalia Says Uganda,” AFP, November 12, 2010. Available:
[12] “Al Shabaab Militants Kill Woman in Central Somalia,” All Headline News, November 11, 2010. Available:
[13] “Panama-Flagged Ship Seized Off Somalia Waters – EU Navy,” Reuters, November 11, 2010. Available:
[14] “Somalia’s Wars Swell a Refugee Camp in Kenya,” New York Times, November 11, 2010. Available:
[15] “More Than 40 Detained in Government Army Operations in Somali Capital,” Mareeg Online, November 12, 2010. Available:  
[16] “Spokesman: We are Sorry for al-Shabab,s Brutal Acts Against Civilians,” Mareeg Online, November 11, 2010. Available:
[17] “Puntland State of Somalia Wins Praise,” Garowe Online, November 10, 2010. Available:
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