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: Al Houthis battle military in Sana’a near presidential offices; al Houthis kidnap President’s chief of staff; Ansar al Sharia attack kills 5 soldiers in Hadramawt; Ansar al Sharia attacks military convoy in Shabwah

Horn of Africa: Prominent cleric killed in Bay region; IED kills Somali district official in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Fighting between al Houthi forces and security forces broke out in the capital Sana’a near the Presidential Palace on January 19. A ceasefire was agreed on January 19, but clashes resumed on January 20.The fighting began after President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government attempted to vote on a new constitution despite al Houthi objections.[1]
  • Al Houthi militants kidnapped President Hadi’s Chief of Staff Ahmed bin Mubarak on January 17 in Sana’a. The al Houthis claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and said that it was to stop the government from trying to vote on a new constitution.[2]
  • Suspected Ansar al Sharia militants killed five Yemini soldiers on January 20 in the al Qatan district of Hadramawt.[3]
  • Suspected Ansar al Sharia militants attacked a military convoy near a military base on January 19 in al Saeed, Shabwah.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unidentified gunmen killed a prominent cleric on January 18 in Baidoa, Bay region. The cleric was reportedly aligned with the paramilitary group Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a, which is currently fighting al Shabaab. Somali security forces arrested 190 suspected militants on January 20 in response to the attack.[5]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated a roadside improvised explosive device on January 19 in Mogadishu killing a Somali district official and two body guards. [6]

[1] “Heavy clashes between Houthis and government troops in Sana’a,” Yemen Times, January 19, 2015.  Available:
“Fighting erupts in Yemen,” Yemen Fox, January 20, 2015. Available:
Ahmed al Haj, “Shiite rebels shell Yemen President’s home, take over palace,” Associated Press, January 20, 2015. Available:
[2] “Gunmen seize Yemen Chief of Staff,” Gulf News, January 17, 2015.  Available:
[3] “Ansar al Sharia militants kill five Yemeni soldier,” Yemen Fox, January 20, 2015.  Available:
[4] “Clashes between Ansar al Sharia and security forces in Shabwa,” Barakish, January 19, 2015 [Arabic].  Available:
[5] “Somalia: Prominent Cleric Gunned Down in Baidoa,” Garowe Online, January 18, 2015. Available:
“190 Arrested in Baidoa Security Operation,” Bar Kulan, January 20. Available:
[6] “Afgoye district commissioner killed in explosion,” Bar Kulan, January 19. Available:
“Somali official killed in Mogadishu landmine blast,” Mareeg, January 19. Available:
“Somali Official Killed in Mogadishu Landmine Blast,” Hiiraan Online, January 19. Available:
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