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: U.S. airstrike kills four suspected AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate; gunmen assassinate popular resistance colonel in Aden city; UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed visits Riyadh to discuss obstacles to peace

Horn of Africa: IJA and KDF forces capture Bahani, Lower Jubba region; IED blast hits AMISOM convoy in Mogadishu, Banadir region; al Shabaab ambushes KDF convoy in Bargoni, Lamu county, Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • A U.S. airstrike killed four suspected members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Nata district in al Bayda, bordering Bayhan district in Shabwah governorate on December 22. Reports indicate that the strike hit the targets as they were traveling by car.[1]
  • Gunmen assassinated a popular resistance commander, Colonel Jalal al Awbali, in Aden on December 22. AQAP has waged a campaign of assassinations against Yemeni security officials for years in Aden, and the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) may also be beginning to target security officials for assassination.[2]
  • UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 23 to discuss obstacles to peace in Yemen. Ould Cheikh will meet with internationally recognized Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi as well as Saudi officials in order to explore diplomatic avenues toward peace in Yemen.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Interim Jubbaland Administration (IJA) forces, backed by Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF), recaptured the Lower Jubba region’s Bahani village from al Shabaab on December 23. KDF forces initially conducted airstrikes against al Shabaab targets in the village before joint ground forces recaptured the settlement. Local residents reported at least seven civilian casualties in the operation.[4]
  • An improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy detonated on December 22 in Mogadishu’s northern Yaqshid district, Banadir region. AMISOM forces reportedly fired indiscriminately on crowds following the blast. It is unclear who planted the device, although the target suggests al Shabaab.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed a KDF convoy on December 22 near a military base in Bargoni, Lamu County, Kenya. The two sides clashed, leading to an unspecified number of casualties. The outcome of the clash is unclear.[6]
[1] “Drone Strike Kills Four Suspected al Qaeda Militants in Yemen,” Reuters, December 22, 2015. Available:
“Four al Qaeda members killed in drone strike in central Yemen,” Al Masdar Online, December 23, 2015. Available:
[2] “Gunmen kill resistance colonel in Yemen’s Aden,” Reuters, December 23, 2015. Available:
[3] “Source: Ould Cheikh visits Riyadh to discuss the obstacles faced by the Switzerland talks,” Al Masdar Online, December 23, 2015. Available:
[4] “Seven civilians killed as Kenyan military jet bombs Al Shabaab-held area near Kismayo,” Shabelle News, December 23, 2015. Available:
Nominal Analyst, Twitter, December 23, 2015. Available:
[5] “Somalia: Roadside bomb targets AMISOM convoy in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, December 23, 2015. Available:
[6] Mwangi Jmacs, Twitter, December 23, 2015. Available:
Nominal Analyst, Twitter, December 23, 2015. Available:
Live From Mogadishu, Twitter, December 23, 2015. Available:
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