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: Ceasefire to begin in conjunction with Geneva talks on December 15; Hadi appoints new officials following Aden governor’s assassination; IED kills two soldiers in Qatan district, Hadramawt governorate

Horn of Africa: Pentagon confirms U.S. airstrike in Kuunyo-Barrow, Lower Shabelle region; former al Shabaab militants confirmed as U.S. citizens; al Shabaab kills police informant in Lasanod, Sool region

Yemen Security Brief

  • UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced on December 7 that a humanitarian ceasefire will begin in Yemen in conjunction with UN-led Geneva peace talks on December 15.[1]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi appointed a new governor of Aden in southern Yemen, as well as a new head of security in Aden governorate and a new ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, on December 7. Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan assassinated Aden’s previous governor on December 6.[2]
  • An improvised explosive device (IED) killed two Yemeni soldiers and wounded another in Qatan district in Hadramawt governorate in eastern Yemen on December 8. Both al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS affiliates have targeted Yemeni military sites and personnel in Hadramawt in recent months.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Pentagon officials confirmed that the U.S. carried out an airstrike on December 2 in Kuunyo-Barrow, Lower Shabelle region. A military spokesperson said that the strike targeted and killed Abdirahman Sandhere, a high-ranking al Shabaab commander, as well as two other militants. Local reports indicated that an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) conducted the strike.[4]
  • Abdimalik Jones, an al Shabaab militant who surrendered to the Somali government yesterday in Barawe, Lower Shabelle region, has been confirmed as a U.S. citizen. Additionally, the U.S. Department of State reported that a former U.S. permanent resident named Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan surrendered to the Somali government on November 6. Reports suggest that both Jones and Hassan fled al Shabaab due to infighting with pro-ISIS militants. The U.S. government is reportedly speaking with Somalia’s government regarding custody of the detained individuals, although the U.S. does not have an active extradition agreement with Somalia.[5] 
  • Suspected al Shabaab gunmen killed a civilian in Lasanod, Sool region on December 5. Authorities believe that the victim was killed in retaliation for providing police with information that led to the capture of an al Shabaab militant.[6]
[1] “Yemen peace talks to start December 15 alongside ceasefire: UN,” Reuters, December 7, 2015. Available:
[2] “Hadi decides on new government appointment, al Zubaidi named governor of Aden, and other appointments” Barakish, December 7, 2015. Available:
[3] “Two soldiers killed and another wounded in roadside explosion in Qatan in Hadramawt,” Al Masdar, December 8, 2015. Available:
[4] “Pentagon says airstrike killed terror leader in Somalia,” Associated Press, December 8, 2015. Available:
“BREAKING: Suspected U.S. Drone strike targets Al shabaab base in Somalia,” Shabelle News, December 2, 2015. Available:
[5] Abdi Guled, “American, US resident extremists defect in Somalia,” Associated Press, December 8, 2015. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Al Shabaab members release raises concerns in Puntland,” Garowe Online, December 8, 2015. Available:
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