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: Geneva delegations agree to prisoner exchange; anti-al Houthi sources report rumored al Houthi ceasefire violations; pro-al Houthi sources report rumored coalition ceasefire violations

Horn of Africa: IED blats hits SNA convoy in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab attempts to attack passenger buses in Mandera County, Kenya; clan militiaman kills SNA commander in Beledweyne, Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Peace delegations from President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and the al Houthi-Saleh alliance, currently meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, agreed to a prisoner exchange on December 16. The UN-encouraged confidence-building measure will take place in Lahij governorate in southern Yemen and will swap more than 360 pro-al Houthi military prisoners for 265 popular resistance civilians and fighters. Reports indicate that prisoners from each side are traveling by bus to an undisclosed meeting point. It is also rumored that the al Houthis will release Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Mahmoud al Subaihi, President Hadi’s brother, and other political prisoners soon.[1]
  • Anti-al Houthi sources accused al Houthi militias of attacking popular resistance positions in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen on December 15, in violation of the ceasefire. The same source also claims that al Houthis shelled popular resistance positions in Taiz city in southwestern Yemen on December 16.[2]
  • Pro-al Houthi sources reported that the Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on December 16 in several areas in Yemen, including Sa’ada governorate in northern Yemen and Taiz governorate in southwestern Yemen, in violation of the ceasefire.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • An improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) convoy detonated on December 16 in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region. The blast destroyed a military vehicle, killing one soldier and injuring five others. No groups claimed responsibility for the attack, although the target suggests al Shabaab.[4]
  • Al Shabaab militants attempted to ambush passenger buses traveling through Wargadud in Kenya’s northeastern Mandera County on December 15. Police escorting the buses engaged the militants, who fled. No casualties were reported.[5]
  • An unspecified clan’s militiaman killed a SNA commander on December 16 in Beledweyne, Hiraan region. The victim was in charge of SNA regiments sent to the city to stop an ongoing conflict between rival clans that began on December 11. The perpetrator was detained by government forces.[6]
[1] “Yemen’s foes agree prisoner swap, trade accusations over ceasefire,” Reuters, December 16, 2015. Available:
“Al Houthi leaders hint at the possibility of releasing Major General Mahmoud Subaihi, brother of President Hadi, from their prisons,” Al Masdar Online, December 16, 2015. Available:
[2] “The continuous bombing by rebels in Taiz city, rocket attacks,” Al Masdar Online, December 16, 2015. Available:
“Al Houthis attack al Jawf governorate military targets,” Al Masdar Online, December 16, 2015. Available:
[3] “Security sources: coalition countries in breach of the ceasefire, air raids in Yemeni governorates,” Saba News, December 16, 2015. Available:
[4] “One soldier dies and five others injured in landmine explosion in Afgoye,” Goobjoog News, December 16, 2015. Available:
[5] Manase Otsialo, “Mandera police foil Al-Shabaab attack on buses,” Daily Nation, December 15, 2015. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Security commander killed in Beledweyne shooting,” Garowe Online, December 16, 2015. Available:
“Somalia: troops carry out military offensive against Al shabaab in Galgaduud,” Shabelle News, December 15, 2015. Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Jan '16
Dec '15
Nov '15