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 documentary features former Guantanamo detainee; northerners protest southern resistance security activities in Aden; coalition forces clear al Hanish al Kabir island in the Red Sea

Horn of Africa: al Shabaab VBIED kills NISA officer in Mogadishu, Banadir region; Al Shabaab militants ambush AMISOM convoy in Dinsor district, Bay region; Galmudug president says he will hold talks with ASWJ leaders

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a documentary on December 8 featuring former Guantanamo detainee Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi, as well as AQAP leaders Khaled al Batarfi, Hamad al Tamimi, and Ibrahim Abu Saleh. A Joint Task Force-Guantanamo dossier on al Qosi identifies him as an associate of Osama Bin Laden with extensive al Qaeda activity and combat experience dating to 1990. This is the first time al Qosi has appeared in an AQAP video. He was released to Sudan in July 2012 and, according to AQAP, joined the group in December 2014. The documentary, entitled “Guardians of Shari’ah,” chronicles AQAP’s history of jihad against the U.S. and its allies in the region.[1]
  • Members of Yemen’s southern resistance movement arrested numerous individuals for suspected ties to terrorist activities in Aden governorate in southern Yemen on December 10. Yemeni northerners accused the southern resistance movement of targeting citizens from northern Yemen in their operations.[2]
  • The Saudi-led coalition claimed to clear al Houthi militants from al Hanish al Kabir Island off the coast of al Hudaydah governorate in western Yemen on December 10. The island is a strategic site near the Bab al Mandeb Strait, which links oil and cargo shipping routes between the Gulf States, Europe, and Asia.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants killed an intelligence officer using a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) on December 10 in Mogadishu, Banadir region. The victim, a National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) officer, was wounded in the blast and later succumbed to his wounds. Al Shabaab claimed credit for the attack.[4]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy on December 10 in Dinsor district, Bay region. AMISOM forces repulsed the attack, sustaining three casualties. The militants seized an unspecified number of assault rifles during the attack.[5]
  • Galmudug State’s president, Abdikarim Hussein Gulled, issued a statement on December 9 saying that he would hold peace talks with leaders from the moderate Islamist paramilitary organization Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ). ASWJ contests the federally-sanctioned Galmudug administration’s legitimacy, and has previously declared war on the administration. It is unclear if ASWJ will accept the invitation to the talks.[6] 

[1]“The Guantanamo Docket- Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi,” New York Times, November 17, 2015. Available:
“Ex-Guantanamo detainee now an al Qaeda leader in Yemen,” The Long War Journal, December 9, 2015. Available:
“AQAP video “Guardians of Shariah” explores modern history of jihad against U.S., allies,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 09, 2015. Source available upon request.
[2]“Anger following the detention of “northerners” in Aden by southern resistance,” al Masdar, December 10, 2015. Available:
[3]“Saudi state TV: Red sea island off Yemen cleared of rebels,” AP, December 10, 2015. Available:
[4]“NISA official killed in car blast,” Wacaal Media, December 10, 2015. Available:
“Somali Intelligence official killed by Car bomb explosion in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, December 10, 2015. Available:
[5]“Al Shabaab militants ambush army convoy in southern Somalia,” Garowe Online, December 10, 2015. Available:
[6]“Somalia: President Gulled of Galmudug state says will open talks with Ahlu-Suunah Waljama,” Radio Dalsan, December 9, 2015. Available:
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