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 seize Presidential Palace in Sana’a and hold President Hadi under house arrest; US sends two naval warships to Red Sea in response to unrest in Sana’a; Al Houthis seize missile brigade camp in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases statement praising Charlie Hebdo attacks while calling for more such attacks; Somali security forces tighten security in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi militants seized the Presidential Palace in the capital Sana’a on January 21 and are not permitting President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi from leaving the compound. The seizure came immediately before al Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi gave a televised address warning the government to accept al Houthi demands.[1]
  • The United States in response to unrest in the capital sent two naval warships to Yemen’s coast on January 21 in preparation for a possible embassy evacuation.[2]
  • Al Houthi militants took control of a missile brigade camp in western Sana’a on January 21. The seizure followed the al Houthi takeover of the Presidential Palace nearby.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab released a statement to jihadi forums on January 20, praising the January 7 Charlie Hebdo Paris attacks. In the statement al Shabaab praised the Kouachi brothers and thanked al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) who took credit for the attack. Al Shabaab also called for more attacks by Muslims in Europe.[4]
  • Somali security forces carried out security operations on January 20 in Mogadishu targeting suspected al Shabaab militants. The security operations come after a Somali official was killed and a vehicle carrying explosives accidentally exploded in Mogadishu.[5]

[1] Jane Onyanga Omara, “Yemeni Shiite rebels seize missile base,” USA Today, January 21, 2015. Available:
Shuaib Almosawa and Kareem Fahim, “Coup fears rise in Yemen as rebels storm palace,” January 20, 2015. Available:
[2]“USS Iwo Jima, USS Fort McHenry move to Red Sea for possible Yemen evacuation,” January 21, 2015. Available:
[3] “al Houthi militants take control of missile arsenal,” yaspr, January 21, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“al Houthis in control of missile brigade,” Barakish, January 21, 2015 [Arabic]. Availabe:
[4] “Shabaab Praises Attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Calls Muslims in Europe to Launch Similar Strikes,” Site Inteligence Group, January 20. Available:
“Somalia’s al Shabaab urge more Jihadi attacks in Europe,” Bar Kulan, January 21. Available:
[5] “Somali Forces tighten security in Mogadishu,” Sabahi, January 20. Available:
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