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: AQAP claims responsibility for attacks in Abyan and Ma'rib governorates; reports surface accusing al Houthi rebels of demanding "impossible conditions" for peace; Yemeni security forces seize documents revealing cooperation between al Qaeda and the southern movement

Horn of Africa: UN Refugee agency voices alarm at civilian loss of life in Mogadishu; gunfire exchange reported in Mogadishu during TFG aid distribution, three civilians wounded; al Shabaab, TFG both claim victory in recent fighting; al Shabaab official warns Uganda against sending additional troops to Somalia, threatens retaliation; latest fighting leaves fifteen dead, thirty wounded and ten healthcare centers closed; Kenyan court convicts seven Somalis for piracy; Norway man pleads not guilty to charges of financing al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) issued three communiqués issued on jihadist forums on September 7, 2010 claiming credit for a series of attacks in Abyan and Ma’rib governorates. The first communiqué listed six attacks on Yemeni security elements that were part of what AQAP called its “Rejection of Malice” campaign in Abyan. The second communiqué claimed credit for the assassination of the deputy director of the criminal investigation unit in Ma’rib, Muhammad Faree.  AQAP credited the provision of information linking Faree to investigations of AQAP to Bassam Suleiman Tarbush al Sharjabi, the Head of Intelligence in Ma’rib who was captured by AQAP militants, interrogated, and executed in 2009. AQAP declared: “This is the fate of every spy or agent who stands on the side of the Crusader campaign in the land of Islam. The swords of the mujahideen will reach them sooner or later. . . .”  The third communiqué reported on the three-day clash between AQAP militants and Yemeni security forces in the city of Lawder in Abyan governorate.[1]

  • Reports surfaced Tuesday accusing the al Houthi rebels of making impossible demands in recent negotiations with the Yemeni government. The Akhbar al Youm newspaper quotes several sources who say that the al Houthi rebels demanded reparations for the families of those killed by government forces and that the government pay for wounded fighters to be sent abroad for medical treatment. The report also says that the al Houthis demanded religious and intellectual freedoms without objection from the Yemeni government.[2]

  • Yemeni security forces announced Tuesday that they have seized documents which reportedly reveal cooperation between AQAP and the southern separatist movement. The documents were discovered after security forces arrested a suspected al Qaeda militant in Lawder Monday.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The United Nations High Commission for Refugees voiced alarm Tuesday over the worsening security situation in Mogadishu, saying that fighting in the past two weeks has killed more than 230 civilians and wounded at least 400 others. UNHCR spokesman Melissa Fleming told reporters Tuesday that “so far this year over 200,000 civilians are estimated to have fled their homes.” She also said that “in these dangerous and difficult conditions, aid distributions are becoming rare and those who venture out are risking their lives.”  23,000 people are estimated to have been displaced by the violence in Mogadishu over the past two weeks.[4]

  • Witnesses reported a gunfire exchange Wednesday between armed men and government forces in the Hamar Jabjab district of Mogadishu which reportedly broke out as TFG officials were attempting to distribute aid in the area. Witnesses also said that three civilians were injured in the exchange. District commissioner Abdibasid Mohamed Hassan denied reports of a gunfire exchange, saying that the aid was distributed as planned.[5]

  • Both the Somali government and al Shabaab militants claimed victory Tuesday. Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdi Aziz Abu Mus’ab told journalist that militants had seized control of government bases and positions in Shibis, Bondhere and Abdi Aziz. Government spokesman for the Ministry of Information Sheikh Abdirisak Mohamed Qeylow denied al Shabaab’s statement, saying that no military bases had been overrun by militant fighters.[6]

  • Al Shabaab official Sheikh Fua’d Mohamed Khalaf warned the Ugandan government Tuesday against sending additional troops to Mogadishu. Khalaf also told reporters that al Shabaab militants would once again attack the Ugandan capital of Kampala if additional forces were deployed to Somalia.  He said, “Why Somalia is not getting peace and stability is [Ugandan President] Yuweri Muzeveni.  We warn and warn to the Ugandan government not to deploy any troops to Somalia.  If Uganda continues deploying troops they will meet with the same accident happened in 11 July 2010 in Kampala city.”[7]

  • Radio Garowe reported Wednesday that at least fifteen people have been killed and thirty others wounded in Mogadishu since Monday night. They also reported that al Shabaab has closed over ten World Vision-sponsored tuberculosis healthcare centers throughout Bakool and Jubba regions.[8]

  • A Kenyan court convicted and sentenced seven Somalis to five years in jail for piracy, a defense lawyer said Tuesday. A court in the port city of Mombasa found the Somalis guilty of attacking a German naval-supply ship in the Gulf of Aden on March 29 last year.[9]

  • A Somali-born Norwegian man pleaded not guilty charges that he sent over $30,000 to leaders of al Shabaab between late 2007 and early 2008.[10]

[1] “AQAP Claims Attacks in Abyan and Marib,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 7, 2010. Available:
[2] “Paper Says Houthi Group Made ‘Impossible Conditions’ for Peace in North,” Yemen Post, September 7, 2010. Available:
[3] “Yemen Seizes Documents Revealing Cooperation between al Qaeda and Separatists,” Yemen Post, September 7, 2010. Available:
[4] “UN Refugee Agency Alarmed at Civilian Loss of Life in Somalia’s Capital,” UN News Service, September 7, 2010. Available:
[5] “Fire exchange starts between soldiers, gunmen in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, September 8, 2010. Available:
[6] “Al Shabaab, TFG claims victory over fighting,” Shabelle Media Network, September 7, 2010. Available:
[7] “Al Shabaab official: ‘we warn Yuweri Muzevani not to send extra troops to Somalia,’” Shabelle Media Network, September 7, 2010. Available:
[8] “15 people died, al Shabaab shutdown ten TB-healthcare centers,” Garowe Online, September 8, 2010. Available:
[9] “Kenyan Court Jails Somalis for Piracy,” Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2010. Available:
[10] “Norway Man Pleads Not Guilty to Terror Financing,” AP, September 7, 2010.  Available:
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