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: Peace talks between Hadi and al Houthi-Saleh delegations begin in Geneva; Saudi-led coalition initiates ceasefire in Yemen; U.S. State Department warns against travel to Yemen

Horn of Africa: Gunmen kill two UN staff in Mogadishu, Banadir region; al Shabaab claims credit for IED attack at Kenyan checkpoint in Mandera, Mandera County; clan militias clash in Marko, Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Peace talks began between internationally recognized Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s delegation and the al Houthi-Saleh delegation on December 15 in Geneva, Switzerland. The UN-sponsored talks mark the second time the two sides have met, with meetings in June ending abruptly without any resolution. This round of talks will focus on the military balance in Yemen, including the withdrawal of militias and heavy weapons and the extension of the current ceasefire. The talks are closed to the press.[1]
  • The Saudi-led coalition initiated a seven-day ceasefire in Yemen at midnight on December 15. The truce is meant to last the duration of the Geneva peace talks. Pro-Hadi sources released unverified reports of al Houthi-Saleh militias violating the ceasefire in Lahij, Taiz, Ma’rib, and Ibb governorates.[2]
  • The U.S. State Department released a statement warning U.S. citizens against travelling to Yemen, citing several kidnappings of U.S. and international workers over the last several months. The statement emphasized the threat from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unidentified gunmen killed two UN staff on December 15 in Mogadishu’s Hodan district, Banadir region. The victims, who worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), were traveling by car at the time of the attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although authorities suspect al Shabaab.[4]
  • Al Shabaab planted an improvised explosive device (IED) at a security checkpoint on December 14 in Kenya’s Mandera town, Mandera County. The IED detonated when a vehicle passed over it. Kenyan officials said that the blast wounded five police officers. Al Shabaab claimed credit for the attack and said that the blast killed seven soldiers.[5]
  • Unidentified clan militias clashed on December 15 in Shalananbood, on the outskirts of Marko, Lower Shabelle region, injuring at least two people. Rival clans are reportedly vying for control of Marko city.[6]

“Yemen peace talks under way as ceasefire begins,” BBC, December 15, 2015. Available:
“Yemen PM urges Huthis to lay down arms,” Yahoo News, December 15, 2015. Available:
[2] Twitter, Mohammed Basha, December 15, 2015. Available:
“Repeated violations of the al Houthisin Taiz governorate, wounding seven in resistance,” Al Masdar Online, December 15, 2015. Available:
“Yemen: The Houthis are continuing to breach the truce,” Voice Yemen, December 15, 2015. Available:
[3] “U.S. warns its citizens against kidnappings in Yemen,” Barakish, December 15, 2015. Available:
[4] “Two UNHCR staffers shot dead in drive-by-shooting in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, December 14, 2015. Available:
“Gunmen kill UN employee in Somali capital Mogadishu,” AFP, December 14, Available:
[5] “Somalia: Seven Kenyan army officers killed in IED blast near Mandere city,” Shabelle News, December 14, 2015. Available:
“Kenya Official: 5 Policemen Wounded by Roadside Bomb,” Associated Press, December 14, 2015. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Two wounded in tribal clash in Marko city,” Shabelle News, December 15, 2015. Available:
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