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 blames U.S. for death of American hostage Luke Somers; Ansar al Sharia attempts attack on U.S. forces stationed at al Anad Airbase in Lahij

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants executed two police officers in Bakool region; Somali security officials announce that Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM forces will resume Operation Indian Ocean; more than 50 civilians died after drinking contaminated water in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video on December 10 addressing the December 6 U.S. Special Forces failed hostage rescue operation of American journalist Luke Somers. AQAP official Nasser bin Ali al Ansi states the failure of the Obama administration to negotiate with AQAP is the reason for Somer’s death. Al Ansi also demanded the release of Egyptian Omar Abdul Rahman and Pakistani Aafia Siddiqui, both currently serving sentences in American prisons.[1] 
  • Ansar al Sharia militants fired multiple 122 mm rockets at the al Anad Airbase in Lahij, southern Yemen on December 10, resulting in no deaths. Ansar al Sharia later claimed the attack was in retaliation for the December 6 U.S. hostage rescue operation of American Luke Somers.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants beheaded two Somali police officers in Tiyeglow, Bakool region on December 10. A Somali policeman responded to the executions by killing five women allegedly married to al Shabaab militants.[3] 
  • Somali security officials announced on December 10 that Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces will resume Operation Indian Ocean, which primarily will target the remaining al Shabaab strongholds in Lower Jubba and Middle Jubba regions. Due to political instability within the Somali Federal Government, SNA and AMSIOM have not launched a joint offensive since November 4.[4]
  • More than 50 civilians died, and more than 150 were hospitalized after drinking contaminated water from a well in the Yaqshid district of Mogadishu on November 11. The source of contamination has not been identified, but al Shabaab militants have poisoned water sources in the past.[5]

[1]“Al Qaeda in Yemen blames U.S. for death of hostages in raid,” Reuters, December 11, 2014. Available: 
AQAP via YouTube, December 10, 2014.
[2] “Al Qaeda allies target U.S. forces in rocket attack on Yemen base,” CNN, December 11, 2014. Available:
Tweet from Mohammed Albasha, December 10, 2014. Available:
[3] “Somali al Shabaab militants behead two policewomen,” Reuters, December 10, 2014. Available:
[4] “Federal government and AMISOM to resume Anti Al-shabaab Indian Ocean Operation,” December 10, 2014. Available:
“SNA and AMISOM launch new offensive against Al Shabaab,” Bar Kulan, November 4, 2014. Available:
[5] Omar Nor, “At least 50 dead in Somalia after drinking from contaminated well,” CNN, December 11, 2014. Available:
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