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 arrested in Abyan governorate; security forces continue to pursue al Qaeda militants in Abyan governorate; "Friends of Yemen" to meet in New York City later this month; Egyptian NGO condemns Yemeni actions in south; IFJ criticizes Yemen over press freedom, demands release of two journalists

Horn of Africa: Somali government appeals to international community for help in fighting militants; UN delegation visits Mogadishu, expresses hope for country as fighting resumes between militants and TFG forces; Uganda ready to send 10,000 troops to Somalia; latest unrest kills nineteen; Somali pirates say they would give up illegal trade if government provided jobs; Uganda court charges two over twin bombings; pirates spend income on "post-ransom binges, wages and investments," according to AFP report

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni Defense Ministry announced Friday that security forces have arrested two suspected al Qaeda militants in Lawder city in Abyan governorate. Salah Ali Abdullah al Dammani was reportedly arrested at a security checkpoint after throwing grenades at a security post in Lawder. Details about the other suspect have not yet been made public.[1] 

  • The Yemeni Interior Ministry reported Friday that security forces are continuing their pursuit and combat operations against remaining al Qaeda elements in Abyan governorate. A security source said that security forces were combing areas in and around Lawder city in search of the remaining al Qaeda militants who have yet to flee the city.[2] 

  • The next foreign ministers’ meeting of the Friends of Yemen group will take place later this month in New York City, Yemen, Britain and Saudi Arabia announced. In a joint statement released Friday, the three governments renewed their commitment to the group’s efforts, particularly in the area of sustainable economic development and assisting the Yemeni government in its fight against terrorism.[3] 

  • The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies released a statement strongly condemning the Yemeni army’s indiscriminate shelling of Lawder in Abyan governorate, which it said has “severely harmed the civilian population located there.” The statement also said that it was “deeply concerned” about the “hundreds of Yemeni families” who have fled Lawder “as the authorities continue their military siege of the area, sealing off all entrances and exits.”[4] 

  • The International Federation of Journalists has demanded the immediate release of two Yemeni journalists who have been held without charge since August 16 and accused the Yemeni government of breaking its promise to allow journalists in the country to work freely. Abdulelah Shaea, a reporter working for Saba News, and Kmal Sharaf, a cartoonist at the state owned newspaper al Gomhoriah, were both arrested at their homes by Yemeni security forces. It remains unclear as to what charges have been brought against the two.[5] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The TFG is appealing to the international community for more help in its fight against al Shabaab militants. Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told reporters that it was unrealistic to expect the forces of an ill-equipped government to battle al Shabaab militants and that the world must give Somalia’s violence the same priority accorded to AQAP.[6] 

  • A high-level United Nations delegation led by Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe visited Mogadishu Thursday as heavy clashes resumed between government forces and al Shabaab militants. Pascoe, who was accompanied by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, held discussions with President Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in the country. He praised the work of AMISOM, but said that the TFG "needs to do more and learn to work as a cohesive team." Pascoe also assured President Sharif that the United Nations would continue to support AMISOM's efforts.[7] 

  • The Ugandan army announced that it is prepared to deploy up to 10,000 troops to Somalia if necessary. Army spokesman Felix Kulayigye said Thursday that the army has “the capacity, as the army leadership has indicated, to raise up to 10,000 soldiers to fill up the gap. All those that have pledged assistance to AMISOM, including America, should deliver as soon as possible so that we are able to carry out our mandate.” He did not say the size of force the United States is willing to support for deployment.[8] 

  • At least nineteen people are dead after renewed fighting between TFG forces and al Shabaab militants, officials reported Friday. AMISOM peacekeepers came under attack in Hodon, leaving two al Shabaab militants and five Somali soldiers dead. Meanwhile, twelve people were killed and fourteen others wounded in clashes in other parts of Mogadishu.[9] 

  • Pirates in Hobyo describe their illegal activities as crimes of survival, according to AFP, and many say they would happily pay taxes and take jobs in factories if those opportunities were available. The problem, pirates say, is that there is no functioning industrial and marketing facility in Hobyo, or elsewhere on the country’s coast, or anywhere else in the country.[10] 

  • A Ugandan court has charged two additional suspects Thursday in connection with the July bomb blasts that killed 76 people, bringing the total number of suspects to 34. Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the bombings, though it is unclear where the two new suspects are from.[11] 

  • Pirates in Hobyo tell AFP that a significant portion of their ransom income is spent not only on “post-ransom binges of khat, alcohol and prostitutes,” but much of the cash is reinvested to expand operations and to pay the wages of others within the operation. “There’s up to 500 people working with us in Hobyo,” one pirate told AFP, “that’s ten percent of the population and I’m just talking about the people on the ground. We have a hierarchy. What do you think we do? We pay wages too.”[12]

[1] “Security keeps on arresting al Qaeda members,” Saba News, September 3, 2010. Available:
[2] “Yemeni forces pursue terror suspects in Abyan,” Saba News, September 3, 2010. Available:
[3] “Yemen Friends to Meet in New York Later This Month,” Yemen Post, September 3, 2010. Available:
[4] “Egyptian NGO condemns Yemeni army’s shelling “civilians” in south,” News Yemen, September 2, 2010. Available:
[5] “IFJ says Yemen breaks promises about press freedom,” News Yemen, September 2, 2010. Available:
[6] “Somali government appeals for help to fight militants,” Associated Press, September 3, 2010. Available:
[7] "U.N. delegation visits Mogadishu, fighting resumes," Garowe Online, September 2, 2010. Available:
[8] “Uganda ready to send 10,000 troops to Somalia,” AFP, September 3, 2010. Available:
[9] “Somalia unrest claims 19 more lives,” Press TV, September 3, 2010. Available:
[10] “Give us jobs, say Somali pirates,” AFP, September 3, 2010. Available:
[11] “Uganda court charges 2 over deadly twin bombings,” Associated Press, September 3, 2010. Available:
[12] "In the heart of a Somali pirates' lair," AFP, September 2, 2010. Available:
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