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 releases Islamic chants dedicated to slain fighters, al Qaeda injured official in Zinjibar

Horn of Africa: UN finalizes plans to establish political presence in Somalia; British aid worker released in Adado; al Shabaab publishes reports of clashes in the central Hiraan region; al Shabaab released official statement banning mobile money transfers; new PM opposes 4.5-clan power sharing system

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s media arm, al Malahem Foundation, released an audio recording of six Islamic chants dedicated to slain AQAP fighters, including Ali bin Dawha, Abdullah al Asiri, Hani al Shaalan, and Uthman al Salwi, on jihadist forums on October 18.  The second chant, “What an Excellent Job, Oh bin Dawha,” praises the militant for his bravery.  The fourth praises Abdullah Taleh al Asiri,who attempted to assassinated Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayef.  The fourth chant, “News Came to Me,” describes Hani al Shaalan as a “flame of faith.”  Finally, the sixth chant, dedicated to Uthman al Salwi, the suicide bomber who attempted to assassinate the British ambassador to Yemen in April 2010, praised his religious qualities.[1]
  • Obaid al Yramsi, a former director of the Political Security Organization, and an explosives expert were wounded in front of the Political Security building in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate.  The attack is attributed to al Qaeda.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The UN announced that final preparations are being made to move UN political offices from Nairobi, Kenya, to Somalia.  The UN will put four workers in Mogadishu and five each in Puntland and Somaliland.  Augustine Mahiga, the UN Special Representative to Somalia, said the UN will need to build defense, treasury, health, education and information ministries.  Mahiga claimed that currently “there are 39 ministers, but they are ministers in name only…There are no ministries.”  The UN will focus on securing a new government which will take over when the TFG mandate expires in August 2011.[3]
  • Frans Bernard, the British aid worker kidnapped on October 14 in Adado, was released after clan elders took up negotiations with the kidnappers.  Save the Children spokeswoman Anna Ford said, “It was down to the clan elders.  They negotiated and organized his release… It’s just a testament to Somali society that they were able to do this following traditional methods.”[4]
  • Al Shabaab reported two clashes with TFG and allied forces in Elgal area in the central Hiraan region.  A description of an October 16 clash describes al Shabaab militants defeating a force of 600 Somali militia elements and Ethiopian soldiers in Elgal.   Al Shabaab claims to have seized weapons.  The statement also claims that 20 pro-government soldiers were killed and an additional 19 wounded.  The second clash, on October 18, also resulted in an al Shabaab victory.  The group claims to have defeated TFG forces near Beledweyne with the help of 200 local residents.[5]
  • Al Shabaab released an official statement banning the use of the Mobile Money Transfer service in Somalia.  The statement claimed the service was destroying the hawala system and that it is unIslamic.  The companies that offer the service, specifically Hormuud, Telesom, and Golis. Have until January 31, 2011 to stop offering it.[6] 
  • The newly appointed Somali Prime Minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmajo, opposes Somalia’s 4.5-clan power sharing system, preferring a 5-clan system instead.  Farmajo, who is from the Darod clan, said, “I believe it is a big issue that needs to be tackled—it can damage Somali people.”[7]

[1] “AQAP Releases Audio Chants Dedicated to Slain Fighters,” SITE Intel Group, October 19, 2010. Available at SITE.
[2] “Al-Qaeda Wounds Yemeni Official in South Yemen,” Yemen Observer, October 20, 2010.  Available:
[3] “UN Returning to Somalia in Effort to Stop Terrorist Takeover of Government,” Bloomberg, October 19, 2010. Available:
[4] “British Aid Worker Kidnapped in Somalia Released in Good Health, Save the Children Says,” AP, October 20, 2010. Available:
[5] “Shabaab Reports Clashes in Elgal of Hiran Region,” SITE Intel Group, October 19, 2010. Available at SITE.
[6] “Shabaab Discontinues Mobile Money Transfer in Somalia,” SITE Intel Group, October 19, 2010.  Available at SITE.
[7] “New PM of Somalia Opposes 4.5-clan Power Sharing Deal,” Garowe Online, October 19, 2010. Available:
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