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: Al Houthis close second largest port in Yemen; AQAP detonates VBIED targeting soldiers in Sayun; al Houthis take over state-owned newspaper in Yemen

Horn of Africa: Somalia announces new prime minister; Kenyan security forces arrested al Shabaab militants in Kenya’s Eastern Province; Kenyan authorities place bounty on al Shabaab suspects 


  • Al Houthi militants closed the port of al Hudaydah in western Yemen on December 17. The closure comes a few days after al Houthi militants agitated to have the governor of al Hudaydah replaced with a pro-Houthi governor.  Al Hudaydah Port is one of Yemen’s largest ports.[1]
  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) targeting a military patrol west of Sayun, Hadramawt on December 17. Three soldiers were killed during the attack.[2]
  • Al Houthi militants stormed the headquarters of the state-owned newspaper al Thawra and appointed a new editor on December 16 in Sana’a, Yemen. Yemen’s information minister issued a statement confirming the al Houthis were in control of the paper.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Somali Federal Government appointed Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as the new Somali Prime Minister on December 17. Sharmarke previously held the position of prime minister from February 2009 to September 2010 and later became the Somali Ambssador to the US in July 2014.[4]
  • Kenyan security forces arrested three Ethiopian suspected al Shabaab militants in Machakos in Kenya’s Eastern Province on December 17. The suspects reportedly entered Kenya through Mandera in Kenya’s Coast Province and were on their way to Mombasa in Kenya’s Coast Province.[5]
  • Kenyan authorities placed a $22,000 bounty on alleged al Shabaab commanders Mohamed Mohamud and Ahmed Iman on December 17. The two Kenyan operatives are suspected of participating in the November 22 and December 2 killings in Mandera in Kenya’s North Eastern Province.[6]

[1] “Al Houthis close port al Hudaydah,” al Khabar Now, December 17, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Al Houthi militias close port Hudaydah in west Yemen,” al Wakat, December 17, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Three soldiers killed in explosion in Hadramawt,” Yemen Economist, December 17, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Three killed and fourth injured in IED in Sayun,” 26 September, December 17, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Al Houthis try to take over official state newspaper,” Yemen Akhbar, December 16, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Issue of al Thawra does not represent the government and is issued by journalists from outside the institution,” al Masdar, December 17, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Omar Abdirashid is the next Somali PM,” Dalsan Radion, December 17, 2014. Available:
“Sources: New prime Minister to be announced today,” Mastaqbal, December 17, 2014. Available:
[5] “Kenya: Three Al Shabaab Suspects Nabbed in Athi River,” the Star, December 16, 2014. Available:
“Kenya Arrests Several Alshabaab Suspects,” Dalsan Radio, December 17, 2014. Available:
[6] “Police release names of most wanted Kenyans of the Al Shabaab terror group,” Standard Digital, December 17, 2014. Available:
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