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: Al Houthi militants seize military base in Sirwah, Ma’rib; U.S. expresses concern over Iranian ships in the Gulf of Aden; popular resistance fighters clash with al Houthis in Shabwah

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab spokesman warns of continued attacks on UN in Somalia; suspected al Shabaab militants kidnap police chief in North Eastern Province, Kenya; al Shabaab gunmen kill Somali military officer in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi militants seized control of the 312th Armored Brigade military base in Kawful, Sirwah, Ma’rib on April 22. The Brigade and local tribesmen had been combating al Houthi expansion in Sirwah for the past week. Saudi airstrikes reportedly began targeting the al Houthis in Ma’rib on April 23 in response to their expansion into the governorate.[1]
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter expressed concern that Iranian cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden may be delivering advanced weapons to al Houthi militants in Yemen. Pentagon officials had confirmed on April 21 that the presence of the Iranian ships was a factor in the U.S. decision to deploy naval vessels to the Gulf of Aden.[2]
  • Popular resistance fighters continued to clash with al Houthi militants in Nisab, Shabwah, on April 23, with unconfirmed reports claim that Saudi planes airdropped military supplies to the anti-al Houthi fighters. Ten al Houthi militants and two popular resistance fighters were killed in the clashes.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage released a statement on April 23 that al Shabaab would increase its attacks against UN agencies and personnel in Somalia. The statement comes after the group targeted UN personnel with an improvised explosive device (IED) on April 20 in Garowe.[4]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants kidnapped a Kenyan police chief in Arabia, North Eastern Province, Kenya on April 23. The chief was traveling from Arabia to Mandera when gunmen stopped the vehicles and took the chief before allowing the vehicles to continue.[5]
  • Al Shabaab gunmen killed a Somali National Army (SNA) officer in Mogadishu on April 23. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.[6]
[1] “Aggression in Yemen, Saudi airstrikes and fighting in Ma’rib,” Yemen Akhbar, April 23, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Fierce battles between al Houthis and tribes in Yemen,” Voice Yemen, April 23, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Al Houthis seize base of 312th Brigade in Ma’rib,” Barakish, April 23, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Houthis capture army base,” Twitter, Mohammad al Basha, April 22, 2015. Available: 
[2] “U.S. concerned Iranian ships may carry arms to Yemen: Pentagon chief,” Reuters, April 23, 2015. Available:
“Obama says U.S. has warned Iran not to send weapons to Yemen,” Reuters, April 21, 2015. Available:
[4] “Somalia: Al Shabaab vows to continue attacks against UN agencies,” Horseed Media, April 23. Available:
[5] “Mandera chief abducted by suspected al shabaab gunmen, leaders demand KDF’s return from Somalia,” The Star, April 23. Available:
[6] “Somalia’s al Shabaab kills senior military officer in Mogadihsu,” Reuters, April 23. Available:
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