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: Saudi-led coalition announces new troop integration plans; AQAP claims to kill popular resistance leader in Abyan governorate; MSF claims Saudi airstrikes targeted clinic in Taiz city

Horn of Africa: Reported U.S. airstrike targets al Shabaab members in Kuunyo-Barrow, Lower Shabelle region; Galmudug and Puntland security forces break ceasefire in Galkayo, Mudug region; VBIED attack kills journalist in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Saudi-led coalition announced on December 3 its plans to integrate 12,000 popular resistance fighters into the Yemeni National Army in Aden governorate in southern Yemen. The coalition intends to train the new soldiers as security forces for Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government, which is ostensibly based in Aden. The UAE has established numerous training camps around Aden and has focused most of its military efforts on securing Aden and its vicinity.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to kill a deputy commander of the pro-Yemeni government Popular Committees in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen, during attacks on Zinjibar and Jaar on December 2. Popular resistance supporters claimed that coalition-backed forces rolled back AQAP’s advance. Most reports indicate that AQAP fighters withdrew from Jaar but remain present in Zinjibar. AQAP also released statements claiming credit for eight attacks on al Houthi targets in Aden, Taiz, and al Bayda governorates in recent weeks.[2]
  • Médicins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) claimed that Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit one of their clinics in Taiz city in central Yemen on December 2. The bombing wounded two MSF workers and at least five other civilians. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon condemned the alleged attack and called for an impartial investigation into the incident, saying it violated international humanitarian law. It remains unknown whether the clinic was bombed from the air or shelled by ground forces fighting for control of Taiz city.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Reported U.S. airstrikes targeted al Shabaab on December 2 in Kunya-Barrow, Lower Shabelle region. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) carried out the strikes, according to reports. Witnesses reported hearing two explosions, one at a gas station and another occurred on the town’s outskirts. Somali military officials confirmed the strikes, but did not credit them to the U.S. or indicate their target.[4]  
  • Galmudug and Puntland security forces clashed on December 3 in Galkayo, Mudug region, breaking a ceasefire agreement brokered by the federal government on December 2. The clash occurred in the southern portion of the city and involved an exchange of gunfire and mortars. Both administrations accused the other of being the initial aggressor.[5]
  • A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) targeting a journalist detonated on December 3 in Mogadishu, Banadir region. The victim later died of her injuries. The blast also injured a nearby pedestrian. The perpetrators of the attack remain unknown.[6]

[1] “Aden recognizes the integration of 12 thousand of resistance in the army and security forces,” Barakish, December 3, 2015. Available:
[2] “Qaeda fighters in ‘show of force’ in south Yemen,” Yahoo News, December 2, 2015. Available:
“AQAP claims killing deputy commander of popular committees in Abyan,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 2, 2015. Source available upon request.
“Al Qaeda militants quit south Yemen town of Jaar, still in Zinjibar: residents,” Reuters, December 3, 2015. Available:
“AQAP claims 8 attacks on Houthis in al-Bayda’, al-Hudaydah, Taiz,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 2, 2015. Source available upon request.
[3] “Yemen conflict: MSF hit in Saudi airstrike,” BBC, December 3, 2015. Available:
“Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Yemen,” United Nations, December 2, 2015. Available:
[4] Mohamed Sheikh Nor, “Suspected U.S. Air Strike Targets Islamist Militants in Somalia,” Bloomberg, December 3, 2015. Available:
“BREAKING: Suspected U.S. Drone strike targets Al shabaab base in Somalia,” Shabelle News, December 2, 2015. Available:
Live from Mogadishu, Twitter, December 2, 2015. Available:
Drone Tech, Twitter, December 2, 2015. Available:
Live from Somalia, Twitter, December 2, 2015. Available:
[5] “Somalia: Fighting renews in Galkayo despite ceasefire deal,” Shabelle News, December 3, 2015. Available:
“Renewed clashes a day after peace deal was signed by Galmudug and Puntland,” Wacaal Media, December 3, 2015. Available:
[6] “Inspired Journalist –Hinda, succumbs to injuries,” Wacaal Media, December 3, 2015. Available:
“BREAKING: Bomb under car seat wounds State media Female Journalist,” Shabelle News, December 3, 2015. Available:
“Radio Mogadishu journalist injured in a car explosion in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, December 3, 2015. Available:
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