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: Swedish engineer kidnapped in Abyan governorate, later released; President Obama waives Child Soldiers Protection Act in Yemen; two al Houthi rebels and one tribesman dead after clashes in the North; Mubarak tribe burns buildings in Sana’a in property dispute with Fulehi tribe; Abyan intelligence officer’s vehicle bombed; Southern Movement intends to prevent the Gulf Cup from being held in Aden

Horn of Africa: Seven dead and 20 wounded in AMISOM shelling of Bakara market; TFG forces give up control of Beled Hawo to al Shabaab; UN Special Envoy for Somalia urges TFG leaders to complete PM vote; former military chief of staff admits that TFG troops sell arms to insurgents; Somali fishermen say AMISOM makes it dangerous to do their job

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Swedish engineer and his driver were kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen in Abyan governorate on Thursday. Deputy Governor of Abyan governorate Saleh al Shamsi said that the tribesmen kidnapped the European in order to secure the release of one of their members who is currently jailed in the capital.  Following negotiations between the tribe and the government, the Swede was released.[1]

  • Just months after the 2008 Child Soldiers Protection Act went into place, President Obama issued a waiver exempting Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Chad from the penalties of the act.  Under the act, the U.S. is required to cut off military aid to countries employing the use of child soldiers, but the Obama administration claims that cutting these countries off from aid would be counterproductive, and that continued support would help them to change their practices.[2]

  • An attack on a pro-government tribe by armed al Houthi rebels in Nuchur, near the city of Sa’ada in northern Yemen left one tribesman and two rebels dead.  The attack occurred just a day after the Qatari delegation responsible for overseeing the implementation of the al Houthi peace agreement visited Sa’ada.[3]

  • The Bayt al Mubarak and Fulehi tribes clashed in Sana’a city on Thursday over property disputes.  The Mubarak tribe set fire to buildings in an area of the city inhabited by the Fulehi tribe that they claim rightfully belongs to them.  No one was injured in the attacks.[4]

  • Unidentified militants bombed the car of Abyan intelligence officer Ahmed Shunai’a.  Shunai’a’s name was on the targeted list of security and intelligence officials released by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in August.[5]

  • Yemen’s Southern Movement, also known as al Harak, intends to prevent the 20th Gulf Cup from being held in Abyan governorate.  Al Harak leader Shalal Ali Shaye’a said, “We will use all forms of peaceful struggle to thwart the football championship and Aden will be unsafe for it…the government can’t make the event a success.”[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • AMISOM’s most recent shelling campaign in the Bakara market in Mogadishu has killed seven civilians and wounded 20 others.  Deputy Chairman of Elman Peace and Human Rights Agency said, “AMISOM troops used their heaviest weapons for civilians.  They caused more casualties of deaths, injuries, and large displacement.[7]

  • After controlling the town for a few weeks, pro-government forces have left Beled Hawo to al Shabaab control and retreated to about five kilometers outside its borders.  Sheikh Mohamoud Hussein, an Ahlu Sunna official, said this was because the group “feared civilian casualties would increase if al Shabaab attacked the town, where thousands of local inhabitants have already fled their homes.”  He added that the pro-government forces would retake the town and clear Gedo region of al Shabaab militants as soon as possible.  Sheikh Bishar Adam Hassan, al Shabaab’s regional chairman, confirmed that al Shabaab controlled the town.[8]

  • UN Special Envoy for Somalia Augustine Mahiga met with Somali leaders at the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu on Wednesday to discuss the approval vote for the new Prime Minister.  Mahiga urged lawmakers to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling concerning the public vote, saying, “International donors are ready to help the TFG…But I am urging the Somali leaders to solve the crisis and approve the new premier as soon as possible.”[9]

  • Former TFG Military Chief of Staff major general Yusuf Hussein Osman admitted that TFG soldiers who are not being paid their $100 a month stipend are selling arms and ammunition to al Shabaab insurgents.  Osman said a soldier “has to get money.  If you didn’t give salary three months or more than, he has to look for a way to feed his family.”[10]

  • Somali fishermen off the coast of Mogadishu are concerned with the role played by AMISOM forces in the area.  The fishermen claim that AMISOM troops are shooting at their boats, making it dangerous for them to do their jobs.  A spokesman for the fisherman claims that they have already gone to the government about this issue.[11]

[1] “Swedish Engineer Kidnapped by Yemeni Tribesmen at Cement Factory is Released,” The Canadian Press, October 29, 2010. Available:
[2] “US Waiving Penalties for use of Child Soldiers,” Associated Press, October 28, 2010. Available:
[3] “Three Dead in North Yemen Clashes: Tribal Chief,” AFP, October 29, 2010. Available:
[4] “Tribal Feud Flares in Yemen’s Capital,” Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2010. Available:
[5] “Car of Intelligence Officer on AQAP’s Target List Bombed in South,” Yemen Post, October 28, 2010. Available:
[6] “Yemen Separatist Movement Vows to Thwart Football Cup,” Yemen Post, October 28, 2010. Available:
[7] “Elman Denounces AMISOM,s Shelling, Death Toll Rises,” Mareeg Online, October 29, 2010. Available:
[8] “Somalia Government Forces Desert Key Border Town in Southern Somalia,” All Headline News, October 29, 2010.  Available:
[9] “UN Special Envoy to Somalia Meets TFG Leaders in Mogadishu Over PM Rift,” Garowe Online, October 28, 2010. Available:
[10] “Somali Forces Sell Weapons to Islamists,” Africa News, October 29, 2010. Available:
[11] “Somali Fishers Complain About AMISOM Forces,” Mareeg Online, October 28, 2010. Available:
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