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 temporarily seizes neighborhood in Aden city; U.S. airstrike kills three AQAP militants in Ma’rib; U.A.E. forces free British hostage

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab detonates VBIED at military camp in Kismayo; VBIED near restaurant kills five in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attempted to seize control of a military base and the presidential palace in Aden city, southern Yemen, on August 22 before withdrawing on August 23. Security officials reported on August 22 that AQAP fighters took control of Tawahi district and Crater district in Aden and started patrolling the streets. One senior anonymous military official confirmed the entrance of AQAP into the city. It is unclear why the militants withdrew on August 23.[1]
  • A suspected U.S. airstrike killed three AQAP militants riding in a vehicle in the desert region of Harib, Ma’rib on August 21. The strike is the second suspected U.S. airstrike targeting AQAP in Yemen in the month of August.[2]
  • Forces from the United Arab Emirates freed British hostage Robert Semple from AQAP militants on August 23. It is unclear where the operation took place, although residents in Ma’rib reported the arrival of forces to the governorate. Semple was kidnapped in February 2014.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) targeting a military camp in Kismayo, southern Somalia, on August 22, killing an estimated 20 soldiers. Al Shabaab later claimed responsibility for the bombing.[4]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated a VBIED near a restaurant in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on August 22, killing five civilians. Al Shabaab has not claimed the attack as of yet.[5]
[1] Saeed al Batati and Kareem Fahim, “Al Qaeda fighters try to seize Yemeni military base in Aden,” New York Times, August 23, 2015. Available:
Mohammed Mukhashaf, “Al Qaeda deploy in Yemen’s Aden, British hostage freed,” Reuters, August 23, 2015. Available:
Ahmed al Haj, “Yemen officials say al-Qaida seizes key areas of Aden,” Associated Press, August 22, 2015. Available:
[2] US drone kills three Qaeda suspects in Yemen: tribal sources,” Yahoo, August 21, 2015. Available:
[3] “Emirate forces in Yemen’s Aden free British hostage,” Reuters, August 23, 2015. Available:
Nafeesa Syeed and Mohammed Hatem, “Hostage rescue highlights deeper U.A.E role in Yemen’s war,” Bloomberg, August 23, 2015. Available:
[4] “Extremists bomb military camp in Somalia, killing 10,” Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2015. Available:
“Death toll rises to 20 in Somalia suicide bombing,” News 24, August 23, 2015. Available:
[5] “Car bombings in two Somalia cities kill 21,” al Jazeera, August 23, 2015. Available:
“18 killed in 2 bomb attacks in Somalia’s capital and in southern port city,” US News and World Report, August 22, 2015. Available:
“Car bomb near restaurant kills 5 people in Mogadishu,” August 22, 2015. Available:
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