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: Yemeni forces deployed to Shabwah governorate; Puntland President in Yemen to discuss issues of security

Horn of Africa: Interpol warns of Somali threat; U.S. Embassy Nairobi warns of planned attack in early October; al Shabaab’s leadership divided; Shaker Masri, arrested in August,  indicted for al Shabaab links; Ethiopian Prime Minister urges Somalia to select new Prime Minister; Uganda threatens to withdraw peacekeeping force due to new UN report on the Congo; strengthening ties between U.S. and Puntland may increase political instability; cleric released on bail in Puntland after his students protested his arrest

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni paramilitary forces have been deployed to south Yemen and are reportedly preparing for a second offensive in Shabwah governorate.[1]
  • Somali Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole arrived in Sana’a on Friday.  Over the next few days President Mahmoud and his delegation will participate in talks with the Yemeni government concerning, “issues relating to security and stability in the Horn of Africa and the fight against piracy.”[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Interpol’s Secretary General Ronald Noble said at a security conference in Brussels, “For us, we believe that ‘the Afghanistan’ in the next five to 10 years will be Somalia and those parts of Africa (countries in the north and west).”[3]
  • U.S. Embassy Nairobi alerted U.S. citizens to a possible attack by extremist militants on a hotel frequented by Westerners, including diplomats, in Mkokoni, Kenya, in early October.[4]
  • Attempts at overcoming the division between al Shabaab’s leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair, also known as Ahmed Abdi Godane, and Mukhtar Robow Ali Abu Mansur have failed after three days of mediation in a hotel in Marka.  Abu Mansur said, “In every place I remain, I receive telephone calls and the callers complain about injustice done to them by some of the top al-Shabaab leaders.  I have been silent long about that and now it seems that it gone happen to me [sic].”[5]
  • Shaker Masri, a U.S. citizen living in Chicago who was arrested in August, was indicted by a grand jury for attempting to provide material support to al Shabaab.  The Justice Department said Masri had been, “espousing increasingly violent views to an individual he befriended in early 2009, and later began to openly express a desire to participate in a ‘jihad’ and to fight against what he characterized as ‘infidels.’”[6]
  • President Sharif of the TFG met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in Addis Ababa for talks concerning the political crisis currently faced by Somalia.  Prime Minister Zenawi urged President Sharif to select a new Prime Minister that would guide the country in a positive direction.  He also pledged military support should the situation get worse.[7]
  • The Ugandan government threatened to withdraw troops from peacekeeping operations after reviewing a UNHRC report accusing Ugandan troops of committing war crimes in the Congo.  In a letter made public on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry wrote, “Such sinister tactics undermine Uganda’s resolve to continue contributing to, and participating in, various regional and international peacekeeping operations.”[8]
  • Some analysts say that the U.S. decision to strengthen ties with Somalia’s autonomous regions, Somaliland and Puntland, could increase political instability in Puntland.  In July, Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole began counterterrorism operations against Mohamed Siad Atom, leader of the Puntland militants with alleged al Shabaab ties.  Leaders of the Warsangeli sub-clan say that the conflict is not only about terrorism, but is also about political and economic grievances the Warsangeli have against the Puntland government.  Stig Jarle Hansen of the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research in Oslo warns that the U.S. “could act in a way that mobilizes the Warsangeli to the Shabab side.”[9]
  • Sheikh Isma’il Khalif Mire, arrested in Galkayo by Puntland security forces last week, was released on bail after dozens of his students had rallied to protest his arrest.  Mire teaches at a mosque in his town, and was accused by Puntland officials of inciting people and being a strong supporter of al Shabaab.[10]

[1] “Yemen Dispatches Forces to the South After Governor’s Ambush,” CNN, October 1, 2010.  Available:
[2] “President of Somali Puntland State in Yemen,” Saba News, October 1, 2010. Available:
[3] “AP Interview: Interpol Head Warns of Somali Threat,” AP, September 30, 2010.  Available:
[4] “Warden Message: Kenya, Threat to Hotel in Mkokoni,” OSAC, September 30, 2010.  Available:
[5] “Al-Shabaab Inner Fighting Possible,” Sunatimes, September 30, 2010.  Available:
[6] “US Man Faces Terror Charges for Support of Somalia,s Al-Shebab,” Mareeg Online. Available:
“US Man Faces Terror Charges for Support of Somalia’s al-Shebab,” AFP, September 30, 2010.  Available:
[7] “Somali President Met With Zenawi to Discuss Over Somali Crisis in Adis Ababba,” Garowe Online, September 30, 2010. Available:
[8] “Uganda: A Threat to Pull Peacekeepers,” New York Times, October 1, 2010. Available:
[9] “Clan Rivalry Complicates Terrorism Fight in Puntland,” VOA, September 29, 2010. Available:
[10] “Somalia’s Puntland Releases Cleric After Days in Custody,” All Headline News, October 1, 2010. Available:'s%20Puntland%20Releases%20Cleric%20After%20Days%20In%20Custody
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