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: Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi escapes to Aden; suspected U.S. airstrike targets AQAP in Shabwah; suspected Ansar al Sharia militants attack convoy of first military district commander in Hadramawt

Horn of Africa: Somali police arrest suspects related to hotel attack; al Shabaab calls for attacks in the West; al Shabaab attacks Puntland security forces in Bari region

Yemen Security Brief

  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi escaped from house arrest in the capital, Sana’a, and travelled to Aden city on February 21. Hadi later released a statement under his title as president demanding the al Houthis withdraw from Sana’a. Hadi also met with southern governors and military commanders after his return to Aden.[1]
  • A suspected U.S. airstrike targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) members in al Hawta, Shabwah on February 20. Three militants were reportedly killed in the strike.[2]
  • Suspected Ansar al Sharia militants ambushed the convoy of the commander of the first Yemeni military district in al Qatan, Hadramawt on February 23. Militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting the convoy which killed one soldier and wounded six others.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali police arrested 12 hotel workers on February 21 in connection with the February 20 hotel bombing in Mogadishu. The suspects worked at the hotel and are accused of aiding the attackers.[4]
  • Al Shabaab released a video on February 21 calling for attacks on shopping malls in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. In the video, al Shabaab discusses its September 21, 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya and calls for similar attacks.[5]
  • Puntland security forces repelled an al Shabaab attack in the Golis Mountains in Bari region on February 22. The attack comes after a February 13 attack on al Shabaab positions by Puntland forces.[6]

[1] “Yemen’s Hadi flees to Aden and says he is still president,” Reuters, February 21, 2015. Available:
“Text of Yemeni president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s statement,” al Masdar, February 21, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “U.S. airstrike destroys car in Shabwah,” al Masdar, February 20, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“U.S. airstrike in Shabwah kills three AQAP fighters,” Long War Journal, February 21, 2015. Available:
[3] “General survives assassination attempt that killed his son and wounded eight,” al Watanye, February 23, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“IED targets military convoy in Hadramawt,” al Masdar, February 23, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Somalia: Hotel staffers arrested after deadly bombing,” Garowe Online, February 21. Available:
[5] “Al-Shabaab video calls for attacks on malls in Canada, UK, U.S.,” Bar Kulan, February 22. Available:
Todd Melby and Dan Riedlhuber, “Threat of attack draws shrugs at North American malls,” Reuters, February 22. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Puntland forces repel Al Shabaab attack,” Garowe Online, February 23. Available:
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