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: President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi expels former Republican Guard members from Aden city; unidentified militants kidnap French citizen in Sana’a; IED targets al Houthis in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Somali government forces and ASWJ militants clash in Galgudud region; al Shabaab commander killed in Hiraan region; al Shabaab ambushes Somali troops in Sanaag region

Yemen Security Brief

  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi expelled soldiers from the Special Forces camp in Crater district in Aden city on February 24. The Special Forces initially resisted the order, but capitulated after brief clashes with military and popular committee forces. Yemen’s used to have two special operations units, one of which was under the Republican Guard that Hadi disbanded in reforms to Yemen’s security sector.[1]
  • Unidentified militants kidnapped a French citizen in the capital, Sana’a, on February 24. Reports indicate that the kidnapped woman is an employee of Total, a French oil and gas company. The French foreign ministry confirmed the kidnapping. No group has claimed credit for the abduction.[2]
  • Unidentified militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in Sana’a on February 23 in a neighborhood known to be an al Houthi stronghold. The blast resulted in no casualties. Ansar al Sharia has previously targeted al Houthis in the area using IEDs.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali government forces and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) militia clashed in Guriel, Galgudud region on February 24. The fighting came despite a ceasefire agreement between Somali forces and ASWJ militants on February 17.[4]
  • Unknown gunmen killed a low-ranking al Shabaab commander near Halgen, Hiraan region on February 23. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.[5]
  • Al Shabaab ambushed Somali soldiers in the Galgala Mountains, in Sanaag region on February 23. Two soldiers were killed with up to five wounded. The region has seen increased fighting between security forces and al Shabaab in recent weeks.[6]

[1] “Popular committee forces and others loyal to Hadi expel others trying to lay siege to Presidential residence in Aden,” al Masdar, February 24, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“President Hadi issued decision to withdraw Republican Guard troops from Presidential Palace,” al Tagheer, February 24, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “French foreign ministry confirms French woman kidnapped in Yemen,” Reuters, February 24, 2015. Available:
“French woman kidnapped in Sana’a,” Barakish, February 24, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Bomb explodes near military academy in Yemeni capital: security sources,” Reuters, February 23, 2015. Available:
[4] “Somalia: Brief gun battle occurs in Guri’el outskirts,” Garowe Online, February 24. Available:
“Fighting erupts outside Guriel,” Bar Kulan, February 24. Available:
[5] “Al-Shabaab commander killed in Hiran,” Bar Kulan, February 24. Available:
[6] “Shabaab kills Somali soldiers in Puntland ambush,” Hiiraan Online, February 24. Available:
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