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: Ansar al Sharia attacks U.S. Embassy in Sana’a; al Houthi and al Islah leaders meet; AQAP targets military patrol in Abyan; Southern Movement protestors call for independence in Aden

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants conduct targeted killings in Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle region; Suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED in Kenya’s North Eastern Province; Kenyan Defense Forces target al Shabaab militants with air strike in Lower Jubba region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Ansar al Sharia militants attacked the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a on November 27, killing one embassy guard and one militant. Ansar al Sharia later claimed credit for the attack, stating militants detonated two improvised explosive devices (IED) outside embassy.[1]
  • Al Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi and leaders of the al Islah party met in Sana’a on November 28 to discuss easing tensions between the two groups. Outcomes of the meeting were not publicized, but the meeting marks the first known instance of the al Houthis and al Islah meeting since the al Houthi’s September 21 power grab.[2]
  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militants (AQAP) detonated an IED on December 1 targeting an army patrol belonging to the 39th Armored Brigade in Dayqah, Abyan, killing four soldiers and wounding three others. A separate IED the same day killed two soldiers nearby in al Mahfad, Abyan.[3]
  • Thousands of Southern Movement protesters took to the streets in Aden, calling for independence of southern Yemen on November 30, the 46th anniversary of Yemen’s independence from Britain. Yemeni security forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protests away from government buildings. Protests are said to be ongoing as of December 1.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Suspected al Shabaab militants assassinated a Somali-Swedish engineer with a car bomb in Mogadishu on November 28. The victim is the second foreign engineer to be killed in November. Separately, suspected al Shabaab militants assassinated two Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region on December 1.[5] 
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an IED in Garissa in Kenya’s North Eastern Province on December 1, wounding one civilian. Separately, suspected al Shabaab militants shot and killed a Kenyan police officer, and wounded two other officers, near Dadaab in Kenya’s North Eastern Province on November 30. [6]
  • Kenyan Defense Forces conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab militants near Jilib, Lower Jubba region on November 26, reportedly killing 49 militants. Adurahman Abu-Hudeyfah, the self-proclaimed al Shabaab governor of Lower Jubba region, later denied the group suffered any casualties during the attack.[7]

[1] “Two killed in clashes outside U.S. Embassy in Sana’a,” Yemen Akhbar, November 27, 2014 [Arabic]. Available: 
“AQAP claims detonating explosives at U.S. Embassy in Sana’a,” SITE Intel Group, November 29, 2014. Available: :
[2] “Yemen’s rivals hold rare meeting,” al Arabiya, November 29, 2014. Available:
Tweet from Mohammed Albasha, November 28, 2014. Available:
[3] “Four soldiers killed and three others injured in explosion targeting patrols in Abyan,” al Masdar, December 1, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“One killed and other from army wounded in IED in Abyan,” Aden al Ghad, December 1, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “South turns to reality and escalates,” al Masdar, December 1, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Southern secessionists step up Aden protests on independence day,” Asharq al Awsat, November 30, 2014. Available:
Tweet from Peter Salisbury, November 30, 2014. Available:
[5] “2nd engineer killed in Mogadishu car bombing,” Sabahi Online, November 28, 2014. Available:
“Armed Men killed two government soldiers in Afgoi,” Goobjoog, December 1, 2014. Available: 
[6] “Blast in Kenya wounds one – Police,” Reuters, December 1, 2014. Available:
“Explosion in Northern Kenya causes casualties,” Dalsan Radio, December 1, 2014. Available:
“Suspected Alshabaab Militias Kill a Kenyan Police Officer,” Dalsan Radio, November 30, 2014. Available:
[7] Mohamed Sheikh Nor, “Kenya Says Somali Militants Killed; al-Shabaab Issues Denial,” Bloomgberg, November 27, 2014. Available:
“Kenya: KDF Says 49 More Al Shabaab Militia Killed in Somalia,” the Star, November 27, 2014. Available:
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