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: AQAP threatens to execute American hostage; AQAP executes Yemeni hostage and dumps body in Hadramawt; Al Houthis send fighters to Taiz.

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants assassinate former Somali member of parliament; Suspected al Shabaab militants conduct grenade attack in Kenya’s North Eastern Province; al Shabaab claims responsibility for targeted killings in Mogadishu and Kenya’s North Eastern Province.

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video on December 3 of American journalist Luke Somers held hostage by the group since September 2013. AQAP official Nasser bin Ali al Ansi appeared in the video stating AQAP will execute Luke Somers by the end of the week if the U.S. does not meet AQAP’s demands. Luke Somers was the target of a joint U.S.-Yemeni November 25 attempted hostage operation in Hadramawt.[1] 
  • Suspected AQAP militants executed a Yemeni hostage, Rashid Abdullah al Habshi, believed to have been held with Luke Somers, and dumped his body in al Qatn, Hadramawt on December 3. Al Habshi was an officer in the Yemeni National Security Forces before he was kidnapped by AQAP in April 2014.[2]
  • Al Houthi militants reportedly sent fighters to Taiz and erected checkpoints along a main road in al Jahmiliya, Taiz on December 3, leading to clashes with military and security forces. The al Houthis’ deployment followed a December 3 assassination of a security official by unidentified gunmen in Taiz.[3] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Suspected al Shabaab militants ambushed the vehicle of Somali officials in the Hamar Weyne district of Mogadishu, killing a former member of parliament and three others, as well as injuring a current member of parliament, on December 4.[4]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants threw multiple grenades at a restaurant in Garissa in Kenya’s North Eastern Province on December 3, wounding at least two civilians.[5]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, released a message on December 3  claiming the group’s responsibility for the December 3 attacks on UN and African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoys and the December 2 killing of 36 mine workers in Kenya’ North Eastern Province. The message was released on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of Shahada News Agency, a Somalia-focused Jihadist media group.[6]

[1] “Upcoming AQAP video shows American hostage Luke Somers, threatens to execute if demands not met,” SITE Intel Group, December 3, 2014. Available:
“Qaeda group in Yemen threatens to kill American journalist,” The New York Times, December 4, 2014. Available:
[2] “Yemen’s al-Qaida threatens US hostage in new video,” Washington Post, December 4, 2014. Available:
“Body of man in national security forces kidnapped by al Qaeda found in market in Hadramawt,” al Masdar, December 4, 2014 [Arabic]. Available: 
[3] “Al Houthis besieging security in Taiz and clashes between security and al Houthis in al Jahmaliya,” al Khabar Now, December 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“After taking down tents, al Houthis trying to control city,” Yemen Akbhar, December 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4]“A former Somalia Member of parliament is killed in Mogadishu,” Dalsan Radio, December 4, 2014. Available: 
“Hamar Weyne Commissioner speaks about the deadly attack on Somali MP,” Goobjoog, December 4, 2014. Available:
[5] “Two people injured in Garissa grenade attack,” Bar Kulan, December 3, 2014. Available:
[6] “Shabaab Claims Bombing of UN Convoy in Mogadishu, Killing 37 Christians Near Mandera,” SITE Intelligence Group. December 3, 2014. Available at SITE.
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