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: ISIS militant detonates SVEST in Aden; Yemeni Vice President al Ahmar urges UN to pressure al Houthi-Saleh forces; Iran announces support for Yemen’s ceasefire; pro-Hadi forces intercept al Houthi-Saleh weapons shipment                                    

Horn of Africa: Suspected KDF airstrike kills civilians near Basul, Gedo region; Puntland security forces arrest 15 suspected al Shabaab members in Garowe, Nugaal region; U.S. investigators tie Somali-American ISIS suspect to al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • An ISIS militant detonated a suicide vest (SVEST) near a football stadium in Aden on April 12, killing at least four people and wounding at least seven others. The bomber reportedly targeted young men signing up for the military. ISIS Wilayat Aden-Abyan claimed responsibility for the attack.[1]
  • Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar urged the UN to increase pressure on al Houthi-Saleh forces to end the war. Al Ahmar reiterated the importance of enforcing UN Resolution 2216, which calls for al Houthi forces to disarm and withdraw from seized territory. He made this statement after a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed about clashes that occurred in the early hours of the ceasefire, which began on April 10. The General People’s Congress party, the al Houthis, and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government have all expressed their willingness to observe the ceasefire, which continues to hold despite some clashes.[2]
  • Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari announced Iran’s support for Yemen’s ceasefire. Ansari stated that his country advocates for the negotiating Yemeni parties to resolve their conflict and hopes that Yemen will reach an end to the current humanitarian crisis. A delegation of al Houthi officials reportedly traveled to Tehran, Iran on April 11 to meet with Iranian officials and discuss the upcoming peace talks, which are set to begin in Kuwait on April 18.[3]
  • Security forces loyal to President Hadi and popular resistance forces intercepted an al Houthi-Saleh weapons shipment in Ataq, Shabwah governorate on April 12. The shipment was found camouflaged under food products in a truck reportedly bound for Bayhan, Shabwah.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Suspected Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) fighter jets conducted airstrikes on residential areas of Basul village on the outskirts of Garbaharey in Gedo region on April 11, killing three civilians and a number of animals, according to residents. Al Shabaab uses the KDF’s indiscriminate killing of civilians as a propaganda tool to mobilize support for its cause in Somalia’s border regions.[5]
  • Puntland State security forces arrested 15 suspected al Shabaab militants in Garowe, the capital city of the semi-autonomous Puntland State in northern Somalia on April 12. A Puntland police spokesperson said that al Shabaab was planning several attacks in Puntland. Security forces are searching for more members of the same cell.[6]
  • U.S. federal prosecutors in Minneapolis, Minnesota have uncovered evidence linking a Somali-American man arrested for attempting to join ISIS in Syria with an earlier case involving al Shabaab. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Guled Omar and several accomplices last April in the process of planning a trip to Syria. Investigators said that Omar planned as early as 2012 to join al Shabaab after his brother left for Somalia in 2011 but ultimately decided against it. Omar helped other diaspora Somalis travel to Somalia to join al Shabaab.[7]


[1] “Suicide bomber targets young men in Yemen’s Aden,” Al Jazeera, April 12,2016 and “ISIS adopts a suicide bomb in Aden,” Barakish, April 12,2016,  
[2] “Yemeni Vice President of the United Nations, calling for pressure on the putschists to implement international resolutions,” KUNA, April 11,2016,  
[3] “Iran says it supports the ceasefire ni Yemen,” Barakish, April 12,2016,  
[4] “Security and resistance forces foil an al Houthi smuggling of arms that was on its way to Shabwah,” Barakish, April 12,2016,  
[5] “Unidentified jets carry out airstrike in Gedo region,” Shabelle News,” April 12, 2016,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 12,2016,  
[6] “Somali forces arrest 15 Al-Shabaab suspects in Puntland,” Xinhua Africa, April 12, 2016,
[7] Laura Yuen, “Feds link Minneapolis ISIS suspect to al-Shabab,” MPR News, April 12, 2016,  
View Citations
Arrow down red
May '16
Apr '16
Mar '16