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: Tribal militants regain partial control of al Mukalla from Ansar al Sharia; al Houthis continue to battle pro-Hadi forces for control of Aden city; Saudi-led airstrikes continue throughout Yemen; pro-Hadi forces clash with al Houthi and al Houthi-allied forces in Abyan

Horn of Africa: Kenyan airstrikes target al Shabaab in Gedo region; al Shabaab warns of further attacks in Kenya; suspected al Shabaab gunmen attack checkpoint and government official in Bari region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Hadhrami tribal forces entered al Mukalla on April 4 and drove Ansar al Sharia militants out of eastern sections of the city.  The tribal forces also retook Shihr and Riyan military bases. As of April 5, tribal forces appeared to have regained partial control of the city with some Ansar al Sharia militants remaining.[1]
  • Al Houthi militants continued to clash with pro-Hadi forces in Aden city, Aden, from April 4-6 and pushed into central districts of the city. Control of Aden Airport remains highly contested and has changed hands several times during the battle for the city. Coalition naval ships from Operation Decisive Storm reportedly shelled al Houthi positions in al Mualla, Aden on April 5. There are no available overall estimates of casualties from the fighting in Aden.[2]
  • Saudi-airstrikes continued to target al Houthi and military sites in Yemen from April 4-6. Reported strikes occurred in Saqeen, Razzah, and Sahar districts of Sa’ada, in Bani Matar district of Sana’a which reportedly killed six, as well as strikes on al Anad airbase, Lahij, Lawder city, Abyan and Aislan, Shabwah.[3]
  • Pro-Hadi forces reportedly clashed with al Houthi militants and the al Houthi-allied 115th Brigade in Lawder, Zinjibar, and Dowfes Abyan, on April 5. The fighting is ongoing through April 6. The outcome of the engagements is unclear, and there are no casualty reports available.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Kenya conducted two airstrikes targeting al Shabaab bases in Gedo region, Somalia on April 6. Kenyan officials announced that the strikes had destroyed the al Shabaab bases, although al Shabaab disputed the claim. The airstrikes were in retaliation for al Shabaab’s April 2 Garissa University attack, which killed 147.[5]
  • Al Shabaab released a statement on April 4 warning of further attacks in Kenya. The group held that the attacks were in retaliation for the actions of the Kenyan government. Kenya has sent troops to Somalia as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces.[6]
  • Suspected al Shabaab gunmen carried an attack on a security checkpoint on April 5 in Boosaaso, Bari region. Attackers also unsuccessfully targeted a government official when they raided his house in the city. Al Shabaab has carried out similar attacks in the city in the past and has a history of targeting government officials.[7]
[1] “Tribesmen deploy in Yemen’s al Mukalla, some al Qaeda remain,” Reuters, April 5, 2015. Available:
“Yemeni tribes enter coastal town to drive out al Qaeda,” Reuters, April 4, 2015. Available:
“Yemeni tribesmen gain control of al Mukalla,” al Masdar, April 5, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Coalition battleships bomb Aden,” Barakish, April 5, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Dozens killed in clashes near Aden Airport,” al Masdar, April 6, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Saudi airstrikes across Yemen,” Barakish, April 6, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Dead and wounded in airstrike in Bani Matar,” Barakish, April 6, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Abyan: battles in Lauder and Dows,” Barakish, April 6, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Continuation of fighting in Abyan,” al Masdar, April 6, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] Drazen Jorgic and Edith Honan, “Update 3-Kenya says destroys 2 al Shabaab camps in Somalia,” Reuters, April 6. Available:
[6] “Somalia’s Shebab warn Kenyan public of ‘long, gruesome war,” Mareeg Media, April 4. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Attack on Police post leaves two dead in Northern town,” Horseed Media, April 6. Available:
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