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: Thousands flee from southern village of Hawta in Shabwah governorate; four al Qaeda suspects on trial in Yemen; Obama sends letter reiterating U.S. support of Yemen; AQAP reported capture of senior security official; AQAP audio message criticizes Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Seized radio stations will only broadcast Islamic messages; Prime Minister Sharmarke announces his resignation; police stop attempted suicide bombing of presidential palace; European Union gives aid to Ugandan soldiers in Somalia; 10 were killed and 25 wounded in continued fighting in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • 90 percent of the residents of the southern Yemeni village of Hawta in Shabwah governorate have fled since security forces began to target the al Qaeda militants stationed there according to Abdullah Baouda, the police chief for the surrounding district.  The provincial governor, Ali Hassan al Ahmadi, reports that three militants were killed and four others wounded in clashes.  “The siege will remain until those elements hand themselves in and we manage to uproot terrorist groups from the region,” Ahmadi said.  After two days of indiscriminate bombing, two fleeing civilians have been killed and three others have been wounded according to local officials.[1]

  • Four Al Qaeda suspects, including Yemeni-German teenager Rami Hans Harman, are on trial in Yemen for plotting terrorist attacks on tourists, international institutions, and security forces. 16-year-old Harman accused authorities of extracting a false confession from him and denies the charges.[2]

  • A letter from U.S. President Obama reiterating the United States’ support of Yemen in its fight against al Qaeda was delivered to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh by Obama’s top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, on Monday.  U.S. aid to Yemen increased to over $110 million last year.[3]

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula issued a communiqué to jihadist forums on September 20 claiming credit for the capture of Deputy Director of Political Security in Sa’ada Colonel Ali Muhammad Salah al Hussam.  The statement accused Hussam of running a spy network for twenty years and of harassing Muslims.  It also included an ultimatum, “If the apostate government cares for its spies, there will be no way to know the fate of this spy except by releasing the two brothers, Hussain al Tais and Mashhour al Ahdal, within 48 hours of issuing this statement.”  A second statement, released on September 19, rejected Yemeni government statements that several al Qaeda militants had been arrested in the city of Lawder in Abyan governorate.  According to the statement, only one militant was captured, who was on a “jihadi mission.”[4]

  • AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem Foundation, produced a 21-minute audio message from Ibrahim Rubaish, a member of al Qaeda and former Guantanamo detainee.  Rubaish criticized Saudi leaders for their desertion of the Islamic identity and the implementation of policies that do not follow Islam.  He focused particularly on the role of women in Saudi Arabia and said that the Muslim home should be protected.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Global Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and HornAfrik radio stations seized by Hizb al Islam and al Shabaab militants this weekend will only broadcast Islamic messages, according to Hizb al Islam leader Hassan Dahir Aweys.[6]

  • Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke announced his resignation following months of political turmoil between him and President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.   Sharmarke claimed that their fighting had become a security concern.  He said, “After seeing that the political turmoil between me and the president has caused security vulnerability, I have decided to resign to save the nation and give a chance to others.”  Sharmarke and the president have been at odds since last spring, and the most recent point of contention has been the new draft of the Somali constitution.  Sharmarke wanted Parliament to vote on it while the president sought a national vote.[7]

  • TFG security forces thwarted an attempted suicide bombing of the presidential palace in Mogadishu yesterday.  A man wearing a suicide vest and carrying an automatic rifle jumped on the back of an AMISOM vehicle in a convoy and managed to get inside the gate of Villa Somalia.  When security forces spotted him, they opened fire.  He threw a grenade before he was killed and wounded two soldiers.  It is unclear whether he detonated his vest.  The attacker has been identified as a former Interior Ministry security guard who defected to al Shabaab.[8]

  • The EU has given Uganda funds to support the 4,300 Ugandan AMISOM soldiers fighting in Mogadishu.  These funds will go to feeding the soldiers, paying them, and repairing their equipment.[9]

  • Fighting in Bakara Market between TFG and AMISOM troops and Hizb al Islam militants in Mogadishu killed at least 10 people and injured over 25 others.   Hizb al Islam spokesman Sheikh Mohamed Osman Arus said, “our troops were behind the attacks. We succeeded our victory.”  The clashes have also resulted in heavy shelling in Hodan district.[10]

[1] “Thousands of Yemenis Flee Battle with Al-Qaida,” AP, September 20, 2010. Available:
[2] “Yemeni-German Charged with Plotting Yemen Attacks,” AP, September 20, 2010. Available:
[3] “Obama, in Letter to Yemen, Stresses U.S. Support,” Reuters, September 20, 2010. Available:
[4] “AQAP Claims Capture of Political Security Official, Denies Arrests,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 20, 2010.  Available on SITE.
[5] “AQAP Member Bemoans Westernization of Saudi Society,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 20, 2010.  Available on SITE.
[6] “Seized Somali Media Network ‘Must Serve Islam,’” BBC, September 20, 2010. Available:
[7] “Somalia’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Tensions,” AP, September 21, 2010. Available:
[8] “Suicide Attacks on Somalia’s Gov’t Foiled,” AP, September 20, 2010. Available:
“Somalia: Suicide Bomber Attacks at Presidential Gates,” Reuters, September 20, 2010.  Available:
[9] “Government Gets EU Funding for Somalia,” The New Vision,” September 20, 2010. Available:
[10] “10 People Killed, 25 Others Injured Fighting,” Garowe Online, September 20, 2010. Available:
“Clashes with Mortars Start in Parts of Hodan Once Again,” Mareeg Online, September 20, 2010. Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Oct '10
Sep '10
Aug '10