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: U.S.-born al Qaeda suspect Sharif Mobley charged with murder of Yemeni soldier; suspected al Qaeda commander in Mudia and Lawder hands himself over to authorities; Shabwah governor claims they know of all the al Qaeda militants hiding in al Saeed district; increased drone operations cause anxiety among local tribes; Jardan tribesman threaten action against government in Shabwah concerning Korean oil company

Horn of Africa: Two teenage girls executed by al Shabaab in Beledweyne in Hiraan; 15 people killed in fighting between TFG and al Shabaab in Bakool; six religious leaders killed by unidentified gunmen in Galgudud; al Shabaab in Jubba will force 300 students to attend militia training camps; Hawiye elders ask TFG leaders to end their fighting; Danish navy destroys pirate ship

Yemen Security Brief

  • New Jersey-born al Qaeda suspect Sharif Mobley was charged on Wednesday by a Yemeni court of the murder of one Yemeni soldier and the wounding of another while attempting to escape from a hospital where he was receiving treatment in March.  His trial will take place on November 10 in a criminal court as opposed to one specializing in terror cases.[1]
  • Jamal Ahmed Mairan, a suspected al Qaeda commander in Mudia and Lawder in Abyan governorate, handed himself over to authorities after negotiations between government and tribal forces.  Mairan has connections with a recent attack on intelligence officers in Abyan and a bank hold-up in Aden in the spring.[2]
  • After a joint operation between government and tribal troops in the al Saeed district in Shabwah governorate, Shabwah governor Ali Hassan al Ahmadi said, “We know all al Qaeda operatives hiding in the al Saeed district by name and we are offering them a final chance to surrender peaceably to security authorities.”[3]
  • Increased drone operations, part of a U.S.-backed counterterrorism effort in Yemen, in Ma’rib governorate have the potential to create friction between government forces and local tribes, who are skeptical of U.S. intentions in the region.  Local tribal chief Mabkhout al Eradah said, “People are worried.  They feel they will be colonized like Iraq and Afghanistan.”  The occasional drone strikes, while targeted at militants, have occasionally struck civilians, creating a rampant local anxiety over American involvement in the region.[4]
  • Jardan tribesmen in Shabwah governorate have threatened to take action against the Shabwah government, claiming that it reneged on an agreement regarding employment posts at the local South Korean petroleum company Knoc.  Government officials had reportedly guaranteed posts to the tribesmen if they withdrew armed forces from the area and dissolved checkpoints, but no such action was taken once the tribesmen fulfilled their end of the bargain.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Hundreds of residents of Beledweyne, the capital of the central Hiraan region, were forced to watch as al Shabaab executed two teenage girls by firing squad.  The girls were sentenced to death by Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim, who accused them of spying on al Shabaab for government soldiers.  Sheikh Yusuf Ali Ugas, a local al Shabaab commander, said, “Those two girls were evil and they were spies for the enemy, but the mujahedeen caught them and after investigation, they admitted their crime so they have been executed.”[6]
  • Heavy fighting in al Shabaab-controlled Rabdhure in Bakool region, near the southern border with Ethiopia, between TFG forces and al Shabaab left at least 15 people dead.  TFG forces are currently in control of the area where the fighting took place.[7]
  • Al Shabaab leaders from Jubba region have announced that 300 students in the area will be forced to undergo militia training.  Teachers and parents have been notified that they will be punished if the children do not show up to training camps.[8]
  • Six religious leaders were shot by unidentified gunmen in Galgudud region in central Somalia.  While reports say that Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a was behind the attack, Ahlu Sunna spokesmen claim al Shabaab is culpable.  Adado official Mohamed Aden Tiicey said, “The killing of top religious leaders were miserable to the resident.”[9]
  • Hawiye elders have joined the international plea to leaders of the TFG to end their fighting.  Spokesman Ahmed Derie Ali said that the fighting, referring most recently to the rift over the confidence vote for the new Prime Minister, was not in the best interest of the Somali people.[10]
  • The Danish navy seized a Somali pirate ship off Somalia’s coast, took all fuel and weapons on board, and then destroyed the ship.  Navy spokesman Kenneth Neilsen said that this was a mother ship, meaning that pirates would use it as a base and depart on smaller motor boats to attack nearby ships.[11]

[1] “American With Suspected al-Qaida Ties Charged with Murder in Yemen,” AP, October 27, 2010. Available:
[2] “Suspected Yemen ‘Qaeda’ Chief Surrenders,” AFP, October 28, 2010. Available:
[3] “Shabwah Governor: Al-Kor is not Tora Bora,” Yemen Observer, October 27, 2010. Available:
[4] “Drones Spur Yemenis’ Distrust of Government and U.S.,” Reuters, October 27, 2010. Available:
[5] “Tribes Threaten Serious Action Against Shabwah Government Over Dispute with Korean Company,” Yemen Post, October 27, 2010. Available:
[6] “Two Teenage Girls Executed by Somali Militants,” CNN, October 28, 2010. Available:
[7] “15 Killed in Southern Somalia, Gunmen Killed 6 Clerics in Adado Town,” Garowe Online, October 27, 2010. Available:
[8] “Somalia: Al-Shabab To Recruit Three Hundred Students as Militia,” Sunatimes, October 27, 2010. Available:
[9] “15 Killed in Southern Somalia, Gunmen Killed 6 Clerics in Adado Town,” Garowe Online, October 27, 2010. Available:
[10] “Hawiye Elders We Call Somali Government Officials to End Misunderstandings,” Mareeg Online, October 28, 2010. Available:
[11] “Danes Seize Weapons, Blow up Suspected Pirate Ship off Somalia,” AP, October 27, 2010. Available:
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