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: Two soldiers killed in ambush in Shabwah governorate; five arrested for harboring AQAP members; suspected al Qaeda militant questioned about June attack; group in Ma’rib governorate claims responsibility for pipeline attack

Horn of Africa: UN says Somalia needs more military, financial support from international community; Somali prime minister to face confidence vote Saturday; security forces seize weapons, explosives in Mogadishu house raid; Somali president in Uganda to discuss security issues; fifteen people killed, fifty wounded in mortar attack; head of Britain’s MI5 warns of threat from Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Two soldiers are dead after gunmen in Shabwah governorate ambushed their vehicle with hand grenades and a rocket-propelled grenade Thursday, according to security officials. The soldiers were returning from the site of an attempted gas pipeline attack earlier this week at the time of the attack.[1]

  • Five people have been arrested in Lawder for allegedly harboring suspected AQAP militants, officials announced Friday. Officials said that the five suspects are currently being interrogated about their involvement with al Qaeda.[2]

  • Suspected al Qaeda militant Ghawdal Mohammad Saleh Naji is currently being questioned by authorities about his involvement in the June attack on the Political Security headquarters in Aden, which left thirteen dead and nine others wounded. Officials are currently searching for seven other suspects thought to be involved in the attack.[3]

  • A group calling itself the Ma’rib Youth Alliance has claimed responsibility for this week’s attack on an LNG pipeline in Ma'rib governorate. The group said the attack was in retaliation for the lack of government jobs in Ma’rib.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The new UN special envoy to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, told the Security Council Thursday that Somalia needs urgent military and financial support from the international community. “Scaled-up assistance from the international community is needed to make a difference,” Mahiga said. He also said that AMISOM would soon request that the Security Council approve an increase in its Mogadishu peacekeeping force and expected troop levels to eventually rise to 20,000 in the upcoming months.[5]

  • Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke will face a confidence vote in parliament Saturday as his ongoing dispute with President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed deepens. Some analysts believe that President Ahmed is seeking to bolster his authority. “The president wants to find a fall-guy,” said Rashid Abdi of the International Crisis Group. Abdi also called it a “pure power struggle” which highlights “a political class that has lost all direction.”[6]

  • Authorities confiscated weapons and bomb-making materials in a house raid carried out in Mogadishu Thursday, according to a statement from the Ministry of Information. The statement also said that polices seized chemicals, bombs and suicide belts designed to be used in terror attacks.[7]

  • Despite his ongoing political feud with the Somali Prime Minister, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed traveled to Kampala Friday to discuss to current security situation with Ugandan officials. [8]

  • Mortar fire exchanged between government forces and al Shabaab militants left at least fifteen people dead and fifty others wounded Thursday, according to the head of Mogadishu’s ambulance service. Mortar rounds hit the government complex while the Somali Parliament was in session, killing three TFG soldiers and wound a member of parliament.  The counterattack killed over a dozen others.  Witnesses said that the return-fire occurred near Bakara market.[9]

  • Jonathan Evans, the director-general of MI5, warned that groups in Yemen, Somalia, or Belfast “might seek to extend their attacks to Great Britain, as violent republican groups have traditionally done.”  He said that dozens of people from Britain are currently training in al Shabaab camps in Somalia, which shares “many of the characteristics that made Afghanistan so dangerous as a seedbed for terrorism.”  Evans added, “I am concerned that it is only a matter of time before we see terrorism on our streets inspired by those who are today fighting alongside al Shabaab.”[10]

[1] “Two soldiers killed in south Yemen: security official,” AFP, September 16, 2010. Available:
[2] “Yemen arrests five suspects for harboring al Qaeda members,” Saba Net, September 17, 2010. Available:
[3] “Yemen questions main suspect over political security attack,” Saba Net, September 17, 2010. Available:
[4] “Group claims responsibility for LNG pipeline attack,” Al Sahwa Net, September 16, 2010. Available:
[5] “Somalia needs more military, financial support: UN,” Reuters, September 17, 2010. Available:
[6] “Somali PM to face confidence vote in parliament,” Reuters, September 17, 2010. Available:
[7] “Somali police raid house, seize weapons and detonators,” CNN, September 17, 2010. Available:
[8] “Somali president in Uganda during political unrest,” Associated Press, September 17, 2010. Available:
[9] “15 Killed, 50 Injured in Mogadishu Fighting,” Garowe Online, September 16, 2010. Available:
“15 Die in Somali as Parliament Demands Gov’t Vote,” AP, September 16, 2010.  Available:
[10] “U.K. Spy Chief Warns of Somalia Terror Threat,” AP, September 17, 2010.  Available:
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