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: U.S. airstrike kills three AQAP militants; Ansar al Sharia militants ambush al Houthis in al Bayda; VBIED in Sana’a kills three al Houthis; Ansar al Sharia militants attack military checkpoint in Abyan

Horn of Africa: Security forces retake villages in Bakool from al Shabaab; security forces seize ship carrying military equipment in Woqooyi Galbeed region

Yemen Security Brief

  • A suspected U.S. airstrike targeting a vehicle killed three al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) members in Harib, Shabwah, eastern Yemen, on January 26. President Barack Obama earlier this weekend stated that US targeted airstrikes will continue despite recent political developments in the capital Sana’a.[1]
  • Ansar al Sharia militants ambushed an al Houthi patrol in Qayfah, al Bayda, south of Sana’a, on January 26. Six al Houthi militants were killed in the attack.[2]
  • A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in the capital Sana’a killed three al Houthi militants on January 25. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Ansar al Sharia has used similar tactics to attack al Houthis in the capital. [3]
  • Suspected Ansar al Sharia militants attacked a military checkpoint in Mahfad, Abyan on January 26. One soldier was killed in the raid, and two others were wounded.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Three villages in Bakool region of southern Somalia were liberated from al Shabaab militants by security forces on January 24. While al Shabaab has lost direct control over much of the south, it had managed to impose a blockade on the three villages.[5]
  • Somaliland security forces seized a ship docked in Berbera Port in the Wooqoyi Galbeed region on January 25. The ship was carrying military hardware including armored vehicles and artillery. Investigations into the ship’s owner and the destination of the weapons is ongoing.[6]

[1] “Three AQAP members killed in US drone strike in Ma’rib,” Barakish, January 26, 2015 [Arabic].  Available:
“US drone strike kills three suspected AQAP members,” al Masdar, January 26, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
Iona Craig, Twitter, @ionacraig, January 26, 2015. Available:
[2] “Ansar al Sharia ambush kills six al Houthi militants,” Barakish, January 26, 2015 [Arabic].  Available:
[3] “Car bomb targets al Houthis, kills six,” Yemen Fox, January 25, 2015.  Available:
“Car bomb detonated in Sana’a,” al Watanye, January 25, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“IED targets al Houthis in Sana’a,” al Madar, January 25, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “AQAP militants kill soldier in Mahfad,” Gulf News, January 26, 2015. Available:
[5] “Somalia: Al Shabaab liberated from villages under blockade,” Garowe Online, January 24. Available:
[6] “Somaliland Administration seizes ship carrying military hardware at the Berbera Port,” Dalsan Radio, January 25. Available:
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