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: Suspect confesses to Aden sports club attack; at least six al Qaeda militants killed in Abyan governorate; Interior Ministry offering $50,000 reward for information leading to al Qaeda militants; Qatari delegation meets in Yemen to discuss al Houthi peace arrangement; Anwar al Awlaki dined at Pentagon weeks after 9/11

Horn of Africa: U.S. supports AMISOM troop increase in Somalia; AMISOM shelling in Mogadishu kills 5 civilians; AU says international crime network supporting piracy in Somalia; vote of approval for new PM postponed

Yemen Security Brief

  • A suspect confessed to the Aden sports club bombing that took place earlier this month and claims to have been sponsored by a prominent politician.  The suspect also claimed to be involved with previous assassinations of political and security figures in Aden.  According to the suspect, on the day of the attack he placed a bomb in an area of the sports club where visitors congregated to watch soccer matches on television, then left the club as the bomb exploded.  Shortly thereafter he heard sirens as police responded to the scene, and returned to detonate a second bomb targeting security officials.[1]
  • At least six al Qaeda militants have been killed in the government’s offensive in Abyan governorate following the ambush of the governor’s convoy last week.  Militants are accused of using civilians as human shields in Mudia.[2]
  • Yemen’s Interior Ministry is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Turki Sa’ad Muhammed Qulais al Shahrani and Ahmed Abdul Aziz Jasir al Jasir, its two most wanted al Qaeda members, both of whom are Saudi nationals.[3]
  • The Qatari delegation that is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the peace deal between the Yemeni government and the al Houthi delegation held a meeting with both groups on Sunday.  The al Houthi delegation and the Yemeni government are meant to form groups to implement to terms of the 2007 Qatari-brokered peace agreement.[4]
  • New information suggests that just weeks after the 9/11 attacks radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki attended a private luncheon at the Pentagon in an effort to reach out to the Muslim community.  The Pentagon meeting was not disclosed until a defense department employee recognized Awlaki in connection with the July 2009 Fort Hood killings.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said that the United States supports proposals to raise the number of AMISOM troops in Somalia.  Carson said, “In principle we support the increase in the number of troops on the ground, but do not take a position on what that number should be.”  Carson also said that the issue is likely to be discussed by the UN Security Council within the next 30 days.[6]
  • AMISOM troops shelled parts of Hodan and Wardhigley neighborhoods in Mogadishu, killing five civilians and injuring many others.[7]
  • Head of the AU Peace Support Operation Division Sivuyile Bam says that the help of Interpol is needed to uncover the international crime network that is supporting piracy off the coast of Somalia.  According to the AU, it is very likely that international financial experts are involved in the operation.  Bam said, “The pirates are given intelligence.  There is a mother ship somewhere.  It is not an operation of a rag-tag army.  It is organized crime.”[8]
  • The TFG Parliament’s vote to approve new PM Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” which was supposed to take place on Thursday was suspended until Saturday.  The vote was rescheduled after a disruption when some members of Parliament suggested that the vote be conducted in secrecy rather than by a public show of hands.[9]

[1] “Prominent Politician Said to Have Sponsored Deadly Aden Club Attacks,” Yemen Post, October 20, 2010. Available:
[2] “At Least Six Militants Killed as Operations Against al-Qaeda Continue in Abyan,” Yemen Post, October 19, 2010. Available:
[3] “Yemen Offers $50000 Reward for Information about Two Most Wanted Terrorists,” Yemen Post, October 20, 2010. Available:
[4] “Qatari Delegation Meets Government and Houthi Representatives over Peace Deal,” Yemen Post, October 19, 2010. Available:
[5] “Radical Cleric Aulaqi Invited to Private Lunch at Pentagon in Effort to Reach out to Muslims After 9/11,” ABC News, October 21, 2010. Available:
[6] “U.S. Backs Calls for More AU Troops for Somalia,” Reuters, October 20, 2010. Available:
[7] “Bombardment Kills Civilians in Somali Capital,” Mareeg Online, October 21, 2010. Available:
[8] “African Union Links International Crime Networks to Somali Piracy,” Afriquenligne, October 21, 2010. Available:
[9] “Parliament Fails to Approve Somalia’s New Premier,” All Headline News, October 20, 2010. Available:
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