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 Houthi militants may be readying to storm Taiz city; AQAP robs two banks in Hadramawt

Horn of Africa: US military conducts air strike targeting senior al Shabaab leader in Middle Jubba region; al Shabaab militants clash with SNA forces in Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Armed al Houthi militants are reportedly stationed outside the southern entrance to the city of Taiz and have a large number of fighters stationed nearby in the city of al Qaeda, Ibb in preparation for storming Taiz. Government security forces have responded to the al Houthis by deploying a large number of forces around Taiz’s entrances. Previous al Houthi attempts to enter Taiz peacefully have been unsuccessful.[1]
  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked two banks in al Shahr, Hadramawt on December 30, wounding two guards and stealing an unknown amount of money.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

  • The US military conducted an airstrike targeting a senior al Shabaab leader near Sakow, Middle Jubba region, on December 29. Pentagon spokesman Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby announced that the US officials are assessing the effectiveness of the strike but believe there were no civilian casualties. The strike comes two days after a senior al Shabaab member surrendered to the Somali Federal Government.[3]
  • Somali National Army (SNA) forces reportedly clashed with al Shabaab militants in Bardere, Gedo region on December 30 following the surrender of former al Shabaab senior leader Zakariya Ahmed Ismali Hersi in the same locality on December 27. Separately, SNA and Ahlu Sunna forces seized Godindhawe, Gedo region from al Shabaab on December 30.[4] 

[1] “Not beyond inability of al Houthis to seize Taiz,” al Khabar Now, December 30, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Spread of security forces at entrance of Taiz unprecedented,” al Mashhad al Yemeni, December 30, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Gunmen attack government and local bank and wound two in Hadramawt,” Khabar Agency, December 30, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Gunmen rob banks of agriculture and cooperation in al Shahr,” Barakish, December 30, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby on Today's Airstrike in Somalia,” U.S. Department of Defense, December 29, 2014. Available:
Matina Stevis and Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, “U.S. Carries Out Airstrike in Somalia,” Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2014. Available:
[4] Al Shebab militants exchange gunfire in Gedo,” Shabelle News, December 30, 2014. Available:
“SNA to carry an assault on Al-shabaab in Bardere,” Mustaqbal Radio, December 30, 2014. Available:
“Somali army capture key town from Al Shebab, Shabelle News, December 30, 2014. Available:
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