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: Hundreds flee Mudia in Abyan governorate during government offensive; al Qaeda militants trapped in village of Tha’aba in Abyan governorate; Saudi Arabia confirms warnings of AQAP terror threat

Horn of Africa: 20 al Shabaab militants killed in an attack on their vehicle; 12 dead in fighting between TFG and al Shabaab in Beledweyne; al Kata’ib announces its return on jihadist forums; one soldier dead after TFG forces clash in Mogadishu; Puntland security forces initiate search operation in Galgala hills for al Shabaab militants; police commissioner of Lower Shabelle dies after being tortured by militant Islamists; North Virginia terror suspect charged with additional crimes; Puntland radio station is attacked

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni Organization for Human Rights and Freedoms reports that hundreds of Yemeni civilians have had to flee from Mudia, about 150 miles southeast of Sana’a, and the 20 surrounding villages in Abyan governorate.  The organization also said that at least four civilians have been killed.  Mudia’s deputy police chief, Lt. Mohammed al Khodr, reports that six militants have been killed and that papers detailing assassination plots for top security officials have been confiscated.  Residents report that AQAP militants execute “hit-and-run attacks” on Yemeni troops, which elicits a heavy-handed response from the military.[1]
  • Government troops have trapped al Qaeda militants in Mudia in Abyan governorate, according to security officials.  Mudia’s deputy police chief, Lt. Mohammed al Khodr, said, “Al Qaeda elements are using women and children as human shields after we surrounded them in Tha’aba… We have evacuated people in the area, and security forces are still chasing 20 militants who fled to the mountains and valleys.”[2]
  • Saudia Arabia’s Interior Minister Gen. Mansour al Turki confirmed that Saudi has issued terrorism warnings, “Saudi Arabia has exchanged information with concerned parties as part of its effort to combat al Qaeda terrorism.”  Although al Turki did not name the specific countries he warned, he did confirm that he had spoken with France about its elevated security concerns compared to other Western European nations.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unidentified gunmen attacked a car carrying al Shabaab fighters from Hiraan region to Elbur district in Galgudud region, killing around 20 militants.  The gunmen attacked the vehicle with a rocket-propelled grenade, and only two passengers were able to escape.[4]
  • 12 fighters died in clashes between TFG forces and al Shabaab militants in Beledweyne in Hiraan region.  A Beledweyne elder said, “Tension is at its highest in the region right now and it is clear that the fighting is not over.”[5]
  • Al Shabaab’s media arm, al Kata’ib Foundation, released a statement announcing its return on jihadist forums.  to the statement said that the silence over the past two months was due to “some circumstances that led to the interruption of contact between” al Kata’ib and the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF).  Al Kata’ib has not released any material since its July 29th video covering the Kampala bombings.  The statement announces that communication has been reestablished and concludes saying, “With permission from Allah, you will receive reports about the ‘End of the Aggressors’ campaign in full.  So expect the report soon, Allah willing.”[6]
  • A disagreement between two TFG soldiers near Villa Somalia in Mogadishu led to a confrontation between the TFG military and police force, killing one policeman.  Additional government troops intervened, ending the clash.[7]
  • Puntland security forces began a search operation in the Galgala hills for al Shabaab militants that has resulted in the seizure of four prisoners and two trucks.  Mohamed Said Atom’s al Shabaab-allied militia is thought to be hiding out in the area.[8]
  • Colonel Ali Aden, police commissioner of the Lower Shabelle region, died from injuries received at the hands of Islamists.  Reportedly, both al Shabaab and Hizb al Islam militants tortured Aden on two separate occasions.  According to a family member, the two militant groups, “tortured him seriously and when they released him he had scars and bruises all over his body, since he walked out of their jail the colonel was bed driven and he has eventually died.”[9]
  • Zachary Chesser, a North Virginia man arrested over the summer for his intentions to become a militant fighter in Somalia, has been accused of additional crimes in his ongoing trial.  The new charges include one count of communication threats and another of soliciting crimes of violence.[10]
  • Unknown men attacked Horseed Media radio station in Boosaaso in Puntland with hand grenades, injuring a Horseed Media staff member.[11]

[1] “Hundreds Flee Yemeni Assault on al-Qaida Fighters,” AP, October 18, 2010. Available:
[2] “Yemen Says Offensive Has Cornered Militants,” Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2010. Available:
[3] “Saudi Says It Warned of Al-Qaida Threat from Yemen,” AP, October 19, 2010. Available:
[4] “Gunmen Ambush Al-Shabab Fighters Vehicle, Kill About 20,” Mareeg Online, October 18, 2010. Available:
[6] “Shabaab’s Media Arm Announces its Return,” SITE Intel Group, October 18, 2010. Available at SITE.
[7] “TFG Forces Fight in Somali Capital,” Mareeg Online, October 19, 2010. Available:
[8] “Somalia: Puntland Forces Seize Fighters, Trucks in Surprise Raid on Militant Hideout,” Garowe Online, October 18, 2010. Available:
[9] “Somalia: Lower Shabelle Regional Police Commissioner Dies of Torture,” Somaliweyn, October 19, 2010. Available:
[10] “New Charges Leveled in Terror Case,” AP, October 19, 2010. Available:
[11] “Somalian Radio Station in Puntland Comes Under Attack,” All Headline News, October 18, 2010. Available:
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