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: Officials announce capture of two al-Houthi rebel leaders and rebels release video of captured Yemeni soldiers; the United States calls for ceasefire and pledges additional $3 million in humanitarian assistance; the World Food Program releases report saying that one in three Yemenis face extreme hunger; Yemeni press members� protest most recent arrest of a journalist

Horn of Africa: Hizb al-Islam denounces creation of new administration in Kismayo appointed by al-Shabaab; al-Shabaab and Hizb al-Islam disagree over administration of Gedo region; governor of Beledweyne announces that he is joining Hizb al-Islam; al-Shabaab militants execute Christians under Shari'a law

Yemen Security Brief

  • Officials say they have twenty al-Houthi militants in custody, including two leaders, while the rebels claim on their website to have ninety captured soldiers.� The rebels have posted a video of the soldiers giving their names and military position standing in front of a poster that reads, "God is great, death to America, death to Israel."[1]
  • Calling for an immediate ceasefire to allow for the deliverance of aid, the United States has pledged an additional $3 million in financial assistance to Yemen.� The aid would go towards assisting internally displaced persons.� Earlier this month, the U.S. announced $2.5 million in aid to be distributed through USAID and Food-for-Peace after saying that the Yemeni government is responsible for maintaining peace.[2]
  • The World Food Program released a report that says that one in three Yemeni people currently suffer from extreme hunger.� The report noted that the lack of food security is of great concern, among other issues, and that because of a shift in growing cash-crops such as qat, Yemen now imports over 80 percent of its food.[3]
  • Yemeni journalists staged a sit-in to protest the arrest of Mohammed al-Maqaleh, editor of the Socialist Party's website.� The site had published reports on civilian deaths in the north and had criticized the government's actions.� Fuad Rashed, editor of Mukalla Press website, and Salah al-Saqladi, editor of Aden News website, were arrested earlier this year and are still being held.� Authorities say that they had published articles in favor of the southern secessionists.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Sheikh Hassan "Turki" Abdullahi, a prominent member of Hizb al-Islam, said that he would not accept the new administration in Kismayo, an important port-city.� Al-Shabaab announced the city's new administration under the name of the Islamic Walayah of Jubbah.� According to Sheikh Hassan Turki, al-Shabaab violated a promise to Hizb al-Islam that the two groups would jointly administer the city of Kismayo.[5]
  • The dispute between Hizb al-Islam and al-Shabaab over the division of authority is not limited to Kismayo, but extends north to the entire Gedo region.� Hizb al-Islam established a new administration for the region that includes a governor, security chief, and a treasurer.� Sources say that the new appointments were made after the defection of former Hizb al-Islam representatives to al-Shabaab.� An al-Shabaab commander noted that al-Shabaab will not accept the new administration.[6]
  • Sheikh Abdirahman Ibrahim Ma'ow, governor of the town of Beledweyne, the capital of Hiraan region in central Somalia, has shifted his loyalty from the TFG to Hizb al-Islam.� The forces under his control are now part of Hizb al-Islam.� Beledweyne had previously been divided between government forces and Hizb al-Islam and al-Shabaab militants; however, the government forces withdrew following last month's declaration by Sheikh Abdirahman Ibrahim Ma'ow that he had no confidence in Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed's government.[7]
  • Al-Shabaab militants executed Omar Khalafe, an underground Christian, at a checkpoint outside of Merca, a port city in the south.� The militants had discovered 25 bibles in his luggage, which he was trying to deliver to an underground church.� Al-Shabaab enforces Shari'a law in the areas that they control, and converts to Christianity, as well as proselytizers, face death.[8]

[1] "Yemen Says Takes Rebel Leaders, Rebels Show Captives," Reuters, September 24, 2009.� Available:
[2] "Call for Immediate Ceasefire in Yemen," Yemen Post, September 23, 2009.� Available:
[3] "1 in 3 Yemenis Face Excessive Hunger, WFP," Yemen Post, September 24, 2009.� Available:
[4] "Yemen Media Protest Arrest of Third Journalist," Reuters, September 23, 2009.� Available:
[5] "Islamist Leader Snubs Al Shabaab Rulers in Kismayo," Garowe Online, September 24, 2009.� Available:
[6] "Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam 'Dispute in Gedo Region'," Garowe Online, September 23, 2009.� Available:
[7] "Former Pro-Government Governor Joins Islamist Rebels," Mareeg Online, September 24, 2009.� Available:
[8] "Muslim Militants Slay Long-Time Christian in Somalia," Somaliland Press, September 24, 2009.� Available:
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