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 and armed tribesmen engage in deadly clashes in Arhab; Ansar al Sharia detonates IED targeting al Houthi patrol in al Bayda; Southern Movement holds day of civil disobedience in southern cities

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants target Somali official with VBIED in Mudug region; suspected al Shabaab militants attack civilian bus in Kenya’s Coast Province; US State Department expresses concern over Kenyan anti-terror bill

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi militants blew up the house of a tribal leader in Arhab, directly northeast of Sana’a, on December 21, leading to violent clashes between tribesmen and al Houthimilitants that left dozens dead. Al Houthi militants recently seized Arhab district and have reportedly kidnapped 40 tribesmen.[1]
  • Ansar al Sharia militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an al Houthi patrol on December 21 in Khabza, Rada’a, al Bayda, south of the capital Sana’a. The explosion killed an estimated 12 al Houthi militants. Ansar al Sharia later claimed credit for the attack.[2]
  • Southern Movement protesters held large demonstrations and shut down traffic in the southern cities Aden, Ataq, and al Hawta on December 22 demanding independence for southern Yemen. Security forces opened fire on the demonstration in Ataq, Shabwah, killing one protester.  Protests in the South have escalated in the past week after the December 14 killing of a Southern Movement leader.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) targeting the Mudug deputy governor in Galkayo, Mudug region on December 21, resulting in minor injuries for the official.[4]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants opened fire on a civilian bus near Lamu in Kenya’s Coast Province on December 20, resulting in no casualties.  During a similar November 22 attack Al Shabaab militants hijacked a bus and executed 28 civilians in Kenya's North Eastern Province.[5]
  • US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed concern on December 19 about the newly enacted Kenyan anti-terror bill limiting freedom in Kenya. A senior Kenya official responded to the comments on December 21 by criticizing US security laws relating to Guantanamo Bay detention center.[6]

[1] “18 Houthis killed in clashes with armed tribesmen in N. Yemen,” World Bulletin, Decemer 21, 2014. Available:
“’Dozens of Houthis killed’ in central Yemen,” al Jazeera, December 21, 2014. Available:
“At least twelve Houthis killed in Yemen blast,” al Bawaba, December 21, 2014. Available:
[3] “Civil disobedience cripples southern provinces and killing of southern activist in Shabwah,” al Mashad al Yemeni, December 22, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Civil disobedience in southern cities and killing of protester by security forces,” al Masdar, December 22, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“South Yemen protester shot dead by police,” al Ahram, December 22, 2014. Available:
[4] “SOMALIA: Mudugu deputy governor survives car explosion,” RBC Radio, December 21, 2014. Available:
[5] “Militants attack bus on Kenyan coast, no injuries,” AFP, December 20, 2014. Available:
“Kenya: Gunmen Shoot At a Lamu Bound Bus, Police Pursuing Attackers,” the Star, December 20, 2014. Available:
[6] “Kenya to US: Our Terror Laws Are Better Than Yours,” AP, December 20, 2014. Available:
“Kenya tells US to back off over ‘terror’ law,” Al Jazeera, December 21, 2014. Available:
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