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: Seven al Qaeda militants arrested in connection with attack on British diplomat; president of the EU calls for international assistance to Yemen; al Qaeda militants still in Hawta despite last month’s siege; Fahd al Quso reported killed in Pakistan strike; AQAP releases video featuring attempted assassinations of Saudi’s Deputy Interior Minister

Horn of Africa: Shelling in Bakara market leaves 4 dead, 18 injured; South Africa will not send troops to Somalia; al Shabaab and Hizb al Islam leaders meet to discuss new insurgent group; Ugandan president asks UN to block airports and ports in Somalia; African Union says they may control half of Mogadishu by the end of October; two men plead guilty in Florida for plotting arms shipment to Somalia; eight wounded in Puntland roadside bomb

Yemen Security Brief

  • Seven suspected al Qaeda militants have been arrested in connection with the bombing of the British diplomat’s convoy in Sana’a yesterday.  The suspects were in custody hours after the attack took place.[1]
  • Jerzey Buzek, president of the European Union, said in a statement yesterday that he hoped the international community would come to the aid of Yemen after the twin attacks on Europeans in Sana’a Wednesday.  Buzek said the attacks sent a dangerous message to the Europeans who were in the country with the aim of helping it to improve its situation.[2]
  • A Yemeni official said that, despite last month’s siege of Hawta in Shabwah governorate, the al Qaeda militants have not left the area.  Ali Hassan al Ahmadi, governor of Shabwah, reported that, due to the difficult of the landscape around Hawta, they have not been found.  He said, “It is very normal not to find them due to the mountainous terrain and the presence of caves.”[3]
  • Fahd al Quso, suspected of involvement in the USS Cole bombing and an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) member, was reported to have been killed in Pakistan in a September 8 strike.  Quso appeared in an AQAP video released on May 26 this year.[4]
  • AQAP’s media arm, the al Malahem Foundation, released a video entitiled, “I Won, by the Lord of the Ka’aba,” that showed three militants who were involved in two separate assassination attempts.  Abdullah al Asiri, one of the featured militants, was the suicide bomber who turned himself in to the Saudis and attempted to kill Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayef.  The other militants are Badr Meshara’ and Salih al Nahdi, who attempted to attack Nayef’s plane as it landed in Sana’a.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Shelling in the Bakara market in Mogadishu on Wednesday left four men dead and 18 people wounded.[6]
  • South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane said Wednesday that South Africa will not be sending troops to Somalia.  Despite mounting international pressure for South Africa to take a greater role in the region, Mshabane said that Somalia was not the “first priority for South Africa.”  Tom Wheeler, a South African foreign policy expert, said “I just don’t think we have that number of troops as we are already in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur, and Eritrea.”[7]
  • Al Shabaab leader Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, also known as Abu Mansur, and Hizb al Islam leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys reportedly met in secret on Wednesday to discuss the assembly of a new insurgent group.  After a recent rift with the other leadership in al Shabaab, Mukhtar Robow in interested in promoting the new group al Islamiyah with which he intends to take control of southern Somalia.  Robow has said that he will withdraw his troops from Mogadishu.[8]
  • Ugandan President Museveni called for the UN to declare the air over Somalia a “no-fly zone” and to block all sea ports in continued attempts to defeat al Shabaab.  Museveni says that these are necessary actions because al Shabaab receives supplies via water routes.[9]
  • Wafula Wamunyinyi, the African Union’s ambassador to Somalia, said that AMISOM troops may control half of Mogadishu by the end of October and that AMISOM currently controls 40 percent of the capital.  According to Wamunyinyi, the most recent offensive gave AMISOM troops 11 new positions and created a rift in al Shabaab’s leadership, both of which will be beneficial to TFG and AMISOM forces in gaining control of Mogadishu.[10]
  • Joseph O’Toole and Chanoch Miller pleaded guilty in a Florida federal court to plotting to send a shipment of 6,000 AK-47’s from Bosnia to Somalia.  Miller is an Israeli citizen and O’Toole is a former Air Force colonel and pilot.  Both men face five years in prison on arms trafficking and conspiracy charges.[11]
  • At least eight Puntland soldiers were injured in a roadside bomb outside of Boosaaso yesterday.  The explosion occurred in an area that Puntland forces had recently taken from militants.[12]

[1] “Yemen Arrests 7 Suspects in Attack on UK Diplomat,” AP, October 7, 2010. Available:
[2] “Yemen Attacks Require Response of International Community- EU” Yemen Post, October 7, 2010. Available:
[3] “Al Qaeda Members Hide in al-Hota, says Yemeni Governor,” Saba News, October 6, 2010. Available:
[4] “Terrorist on FBI Most Wanted List ‘Killed by Drone,’” Telegraph, October 7, 2010.  Available:
[5] “AQAP Video on Assassination Attempts on Saudi Officials,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 6, 2010.  Available on SITE.
[6] “Clashes in Somalia’s Capital Leave Four Dead,” AP, October 6, 2010. Available:
[7] “No Troops for Somalia from SA- Minister,” Mareeg Online, October 6, 2010. Available:
[8] “Secret Meeting Between Aweys, Abu-Mansor Over New Insurgent Group,” Garowe Online, October 6, 2010. Available:
[9] “Musevini Wants Airport and Docks Blocked,” The Monitor, October 7, 2010. Available:
[10] “AU Peacekeepers Gaining Ground in Somali Capital,” Reuters, October 7, 2010. Available:
[11] “2 Plead Guilty to AK-47 Trafficking Plot,” AP, October 7, 2010. Available:
[12] “Somalia’s Puntland Soldiers Wounded by Roadside Bomb,” All Headline News, October 6, 2010. Available:
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