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: U.S. officials report that Iranian ships turn away from Yemen; al Houthis clash with tribesmen near Ma’rib city; al Houthis withdraw from Nisab city, Shabwah

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab executes kidnapped Kenyan police chief in Gedo region; Somali Prime Minister Sharmarke calls for efforts to secure rural areas from al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. officials reported that the convoy of Iranian ships in the Gulf of Aden allegedly carrying weapons to resupply the al Houthi movement in Yemen changed course on April 23. The U.S. Navy had deployed naval vessels to the Gulf of Aden earlier in the week in response to the presence of the Iranian ships.[1]
  • Al Houthi militants clashed with tribesmen and Islah party militants near Ma’rib city, Ma’rib on April 23. The al Houthis have advanced in Ma’rib despite being targeted by ongoing Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in the governorate.[2]
  • Al Houthi militants reportedly withdrew from Nisab city, Shabwah, after several days of clashes with popular resistance fighters in the area. An estimated 47 people died in the fighting for control of the city.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab executed a kidnapped Kenyan police chief near Bardhere, Gedo region on April 23. The group had kidnapped the chief in Arabia, North Eastern Province, Kenya earlier the same day and had demanded a ransom for his release. When negotiations broke down, the militants shot him.[4]
  • Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke said that efforts were underway to reclaim rural areas in southern Somalia from al Shabaab. Without giving any timeline for operations, the prime minister said that al Shabaab had been using areas as a launching pad for attacks in both Kenya and Somalia and that the areas had to be secured.[5]
[1] “Iran ships turn back from Yemen as fighting rages,” Yahoo News, April 24, 2015. Available:
“Iranian ships moving away from Yemen,” Reuters, April 23, 2015. Available:
“Iranian ships turn back from Yemen,” al Arabiya, April 24, 2015. Available:
[2] “Violent clashes on the outskirts of Ma’rib city,”, April 24, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Clashes between al Houthis and resistance in Ma’rib,” Barakish, April 24, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Violent clashes and continued Saudi airstrikes in Ma’rib,” al Masdar, April 24, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Al Houthis withdraw from Nisab, Shabwah,” Masdark, April 24, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Somali militants kill abducted Kenyan official,” Hiiraan Online, April 24. Available:
[5] Edmund Blair and Drazen Jorgic, “Interview-Somalia seeks to drive militants from southern valley bases – PM,” Reuters, April 23. Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
May '15
Apr '15
Mar '15