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: Ansar al Sharia detonates two SVBIEDs and one IED targeting security forces in Hadramawt; AQAP answers questions from western journalists and condemns beheading civilians

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants seize territory in Gedo region; Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM forces seize new localities from al Shabaab in Gedo region; Somali security forces target al Shabaab militants with security operation in Bay region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Ansar al Sharia fielded two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIED) targeting the First Regional Military Command base in Sayun, Hadramawt on December 9. One of the SVBIEDs detonated near the gate of the camp killing five soldiers, while the second SVBIED was stopped before it detonated. Ansar al Sharia also detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) on December 9 targeting a military checkpoint in al Shahr, 150 km south of Sayun, killing two soldiers.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) hosted its first international press conference on December 8 in which a number of western journalists and researchers asked questions of AQAP official Nasser bin Ali al Ansi. Al Ansi emphasized that AQAP continues to reject the establishment of a caliphate by the Islamic State (IS) and also condemned acts of beheading civilians. Al Ansi further clarified that AQAP beheadings have been limited incidences and that the group works to prevent members from carrying out beheadings.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants seized territory near the Kenyan border in Gadoon-dhawe, Gedo region on December 9 after Kenyan Defense Forces withdrew from the area.[3]
  • Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces seized new localities from al Shabaab near Bula-Hawo, Gedo region after clashes that killed three militants on December 9.[4]
  • Somali security forces conducted a security operation targeting al Shabaab in Baidoa, Bay region on December 12, arresting more than 100 suspected militants. The operation occurred four days after al Shabaab carried out an attack with explosives in Baidoa on December 5.[5]

[1] “Hadramawt security officials condemn terrorist explosions in Sayun and al Shahr,” Aden al Ghad, December 9, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“5 killed at least in SVBIED targeting first military region in Sayun,” al Masdar, December 9, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Suicide attacks kill five in eastern Yemen army base,” Reuters, December 9, 2014. Available:
[2] “AQAP holds first ‘international press conference’ with group official Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi,” SITE Intel Group, December 8, 2014. Available:
[3] “Al-shabab re-take a locality in the border of Kenya,” Goobjoog, December 9, 2014. Available:
[4] “Government forces and AMISOM seize new areas in Gedo region,” Goobjoog, December 9, 2014. Available:
[5] “100 arrested in Baidoa security operation,” Bar Kulan, December 12, 2014. Available:
“Tens Arrested in Baidoa Amid Security Swoops,” Dalsan Radio, December 12, 2014. Available:
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