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 al Qaeda militants killed outside of Lawder in Abyan governorate; clashes left two soldier and two civilians wounded in Huta in Shabwah governorate; residents of Hawta have fled their homes; explosion hits security patrol outside Jaar city in Abyan governorate; armed militants demonstrated in Lawder; deputy governor of Abyan governorate escaped assassination attempt; Yemeni military seeks to secure Saqah mountain in Shabwah governorate; U.S. Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary said U.S. to propose development fund for Yemen

Horn of Africa: Sharmarke announces planned second front against Islamists; Hizb al Islam and al Shabaab raid radio stations in Mogadishu; al Shabaab vowed to attack government troops in Dolow town of Gedo region; session of parliament delayed because of low numbers; AMISOM establishes new bases; Kenya says Somalia is ignored; Dutch arrest Somali man for alleged ties to terrorism; member of ISI posts advice to al Shabaab; report says July 11 Kampala bombing was to be followed by July 12 bombings in Nairobi

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Yemeni security official reported that Yemeni soldiers killed two suspected al Qaeda militants, Khaled and Salem Sabri al Wahayshi, at a checkpoint outside of Lawder city in Abyan governorate on Sunday.[1]

  • In the town of Mayfaa in Shabwah governorate, clashes between soldiers and al Qaeda militants left two soldiers and two civilians injured. The defense ministry website added that Yemeni security forces were continuing their war” on al Qaeda militants in Huta, a suburb of Mayfaa.  Also in Shabwah, a sniper shot dead a member of the coast guard in the city of Balhaf.[2]

  • Clashes between the army and suspected al Qaeda militants have forced residents of Hawta in Shabwah province to flee their homes.  A government official estimated that over 8,000 people have fled.[3]

  • An explosion targeting a security patrol wounded three soldiers and two civilians at a security checkpoint in Jaar city in Abyan governorate on Saturday.[4]

  • Last Thursday, armed Southern Movement militants marched towards Lawder district in Abyan governorate.  A security official reported that the march was intended to drive out the Yemeni military presence, which would allow al Qaeda militants to remain in the city.  A Yemeni security official the Southern Movement and the Yemeni military as “two heads of one coin.”[5]

  • The deputy governor of Abyan governorate Ahmad Ghalib al Rahawi escaped an alleged al Qaeda assassination attempt on Saturday.  Three soldiers and two citizens were injured when a group of militants fired an RPG at the convoy of the deputy governor.[6]

  • At least three helicopters landed on the Saqah Mountain in the al Rawdha district of Shabwah governorate and security patrols moved to secure the area.  An air strike was carried out prior to their landing.[7]

  • The U.S. Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa and the Middle East, Andrew Baukol, announced at a meeting Wednesday with Yemen Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi that the U.S. will propose an international fund to support development in Yemen at the September 24 Friends of Yemen meeting.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief          

  • Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke announced that the TFG would open a second front in southern and central Somalia by the end of the year.  Kenya has 2,000 trained Somali refugees on its border and Ethiopia trained 1,000 Somali fighters under the auspices of a German-funded program.  Sharmarke said of the offensive, “Those forces have no completed their training and we are expecting them to come back and really now open a different front.  Unless you open different fronts you’re not going to win this war.”[9]

  • Al Shabaab and Hizb al Islam militants raided the offices of HornAfrik and Global Broadcasting Company (GBC), two radio stations, in Mogadishu late on Saturday.  Witnesses report that transmitters and computers, along with the rest of the stations’ equipment, were looted.  TFG Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman responded to this saying, “Assassinations, intimidation, and looting of equipment are part of efforts to silence the private media.  Such acts will destroy the achievements made by Somalia’s media during the last decade.  A free media that can operate without any intimidation and fear from the extremists is vital for the good of the country.”  Hizb al Islam reportedly has taken control of GBC radio while al Shabaab controls HornAfrik.[10]

  • Al Shabaab vowed Monday to attack the TFG troops in Dolow town in Gedo region of southern Somalia.  The al Shabaab governor of Banadir region who is visiting Gedo said, “Our aim to hand over the control of Dolow town. I urge the hero fighters to do this.  Because every body [sic] knows that these men commit crimes against the people.”[11]

  • The session of parliament was delayed on Saturday after there were not enough members present for a quorum.  A vote of confidence in Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke was postponed.  300 of the 550 MPs must be present at a session.[12]

  • AMISOM reports that it is extending its reach across Mogadishu.  It has reportedly established seven new bases in the past month.[13]

  • Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said that Kenya is “in the line of [al Shabaab’s] fire.”  He questioned why Somalia is being ignored on the world stage, especially by the U.S.  “Your guess is as good as mine,” he said.  “For the United States, maybe the embarrassment they suffered when they went there, I don’t know.  Maybe that’s what is informing their policy.”[14]

  • Dutch police arrested a man of Somali origin at the Amsterdam airport for alleged ties to a terrorist group.  The man was to fly to Uganda, according to the prosecutors’ spokesman.[15]

  • An alleged member of the Islamic State of Iraq posted military advice to al Shabaab reentering on the group’s use of rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and B-10s to attack tanks on the Shumukh al Islam jihadist forum on September 15.  The post details the weaknesses of the Russian-made T72 tanks used by AMISOM and how to best destroy them, which is, according to the poster, with an improvised explosive device (IED).[16]

  • According to the Kenyan paper Daily Nation, al Shabaab had planned to execute an attack on Nairobi on July 12 if the July 11 bombings in Kampala were successful.[17]

[1] “Yemen Troops Kill Two at Checkpoint in Troubled Town,” AFP, September 19, 2010.  Available:
[2] “Yemen Says Two Militants, Coast Guard Killed,” AFP, September 19, 2010.  Available:
[3] “South Yemen Clashes Send Thousands Fleeing: Govt Official,” AFP, September 20, 2010.  Available:
[4] “5 Wounded in Patrol Bombing in South Yemen,” Yemen Post, September 19, 2010.  Available:
[5] “Security: SM, al-Qaeda Two Sides of Same Coin,” Yemen Observer, September 18, 2010.  Available:
[6] “Security Official Escapes Assassination in Southern Yemen,” News Yemen, September 18, 2010.  Available:
[7] “Planes Strike Shabwa Unpopulated Area as Attacks Against Forces Continue,” Yemen Post, September 17, 2010.  Available:
[8] “US to Propose Yemen Fund to Support Development and Reduce Poverty,” The National, September 17, 2010.  Available:
[9] “PM: Somalia to Open 2nd Front Against Insurgents,” AP, September 19, 2010.  Available:
[10] “Islamist Militants Raid 2 Independent Radio Stations in Mogadishu,” CNN, September 19, 2010.  Available:
“GBC Administration Hands Over the Radio, TV to Hizbul Islam,” Mareeg Online, September 20, 2010.  Available:,-TV-to-Hizbul-Islam&sid=17347&tirsan=3
[11] “Al Shabaab Vows Attacks Against Government Soldiers in Dolow,” Mareeg Online, September 20, 2010.  Available:
[12] “Somali PM Confidence Vote Postponed,” Reuters, September 18, 2010.  Available:
[13] “AU Peacekeepers Expand Bases in Somali Capital,” AP, September 17, 2010.  Available:
[14] “Kenya Says World Neglecting Somalia Security Threat,” Reuters, September 18, 2010.  Available:
[15] “Dutch Arrest Alleged UK Terror Suspect at Airport,” AP, September 19, 2010.  Available:
[16] “Alleged ISI Fighter Gives Military Advice to the Shabaab,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 17, 2010.  Available on SITE.
[17] “Kampala Bombers ‘Plotted to Hit Nairobi,’” Daily Nation, September 19, 2010.  Available:
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