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: President Saleh returns to Yemen; al Qaeda reportedly sends militants to Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Somalia journalist wounded in Boosaaso; U.S. using hawala to get money to Somalia; military aircraft seen flying over Jubba regions; al Shabaab commander arrested in Somaliland; TFG foils donkey-borne IED attack in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has returned to Yemen. His return sparked new protests to erupt across Yemen between troops loyal to him and opposition groups as gun fire was heard across Sana’a and rallies were held following Friday prayers. Clashes and mortars killed seven people in Sana’a and Taiz. Upon his return, Saleh issued a statement calling for a ceasefire and return to negotiations, citing these as the only way to end the conflict. While some Yemenis welcomed Saleh’s return, the spokesman for the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), Mohammed Qahtan, stated that, “our revolution started when the president was in good health and we are going to continue with our revolution until the fall of the regime.” Khaled al Anisi, an activist leader, counters this, stating that Saleh’s return will strengthen Yemen and help facilitate an end to the conflict.[1]
  • Tariq al Fadhli, a former Afghan mujahid and a leader in the Southern Movement, said in an interview published in al Omana newspaper that al Qaeda sent over 300 militants to Sana’a to teach the son and nephews of President Ali Abdullah Saleh “a lesson.” Fifty of these fighters were said to be suicide bombers. He added that al Qaeda has also sent three car bombs to Sana’a in retaliation for events in Abyan governorate.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Two unidentified gunmen shot and critically wounded Somali journalist Hassan Mohamed Antenna in the town of Boosaaso.  The attack occurred near the Odka Nabbada Radio building.  He was working for a local radio station.  Authorities immediately began investigating but it isn’t clear if any arrests have been made.[3]
  • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UN agencies have begun using the traditional hawala money-transfer system to get food vouchers to Somali refugees while keeping them away from al Shabaab.  Refugees can spend the vouchers for food from local merchants, who, in turn, can turn the vouchers into cash via the hawala system.[4]
  • Unidentified military aircraft were seen flying at low altitude over the towns of Taabta, Hawina, and Dhobley sparking fears of airstrikes similar to those seen last week in that area.  There are no reports of any of the aircraft opening fire.  Al Shabaab militants are known to be operating in the area.[5]
  • Authorities in Somaliland have arrested the second-in-command of al Shabaab’s Amniyad Brigade in Berbera, Somaliland.  The Amniyad Brigade is tasked with security and intelligence duties.  While the name of the person arrested was not made public, locals named the man as Isse Sulub Ige.[6]
  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces stopped a donkey-borne IED attack launched by al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu.  The attack was targeting a busy intersection on a road that leads from the capital to Afgoi.[7]

[1]Sudarsan Raghavan, “Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh Returns from Saudi Arabia,” Washington Post, September 23, 2011. Available:
‘Yemen’s Saleh Returns amid Fresh Unrest,” al Jazeera, September 23, 2011. Available:
Ahmed al Haj, “Yemen’s Saleh Returns from Saudi Arabia,” September 23, 2011. Available:,8599,2094613,00.html
[2] Mohammed al Kibsi, “Al-Qaeda Dispatches Suicide Bombers to Yemen Capital, Yemen Observer, September 22, 2011. Available:
“Militants Sent More than 300, 50 of Whom are Martyrs to Sanaa,” al Omanaa, September 21, 2011. Available:
[3] “Somali journalist shot and wounded in Puntland,” Shabelle Media Network, September 22, 2011. Available:
[4] “US using controversial money-transfer system to deliver aid in Somalia,” AP, September 22, 2011. Available:
[5] “Somalia: fighter planes seen flying over Jubba regions,” Shabelle Media Network, September 23, 2011. Available:
[6] “Al-Shabaab’s Amniyad brigade second-in-command arrested in Berbera, Somaliland,” Bar Kulan, September 23, 2011. Available:
[7] “SOMALIA: Security forces foil suicide attempt used for a donkey,” RBC Radio, September 23, 2011. Available:
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