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 Houthi leader announces meeting to resolve political crisis; suspected Ansar al Sharia militants detonate an IED in Hadramawt; Ansar al Sharia attacks military in Abyan

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants kidnap civilians; former al Shabaab member calls for al Shabaab fighters to surrender

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi gave a televised address on January 27 calling for a tribal gathering in the capital on January 30 to discuss the current political crisis. Abdul Malik al Houthi also stated that President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s resignation was wrong and was an attempt to blackmail the group. The speech came immediately after the al Houthis released the president’s Chief of Staff Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, whom the militants have held hostage since January 17.[1]
  • Suspected Ansar al Sharia militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in al Mukalla, Hadramawt on January 27. The explosive targeted a military patrol in the area, killing one soldier and wounding two others.[2]
  • Ansar al Sharia militants attacked the 15th Infantry Brigade in Khanfar, Abyan on January 27, resulting in the deaths of four soldiers.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab kidnapped 43 civilians from Gofgadud village in Bay region, Somalia on January 27. A local official stated that the victims were being held for ransom. The kidnappings come after successful operations by security forces which have deprived al Shabaab of strongholds and sources of income.[4]
  • Former al Shabaab member Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi called for al Shabaab fighters to surrender to the Somali government on January 27. Hersi was the former al Shabaab intelligence chief and surrendered to government forces on December 27, 2014.[5]

"Freeing of presidential Chief of Staff Ahmed bin Mubarak," Barakish, January 27, 2015 [Arabic]. Available: 
[2] “Soldier killed in attack in al Mukalla,” Barakish, January 27, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Ansar al Sharia attacks military base in Abyan,” al Mashhad, January 26, 2015. Available:
[4] “Somalia: Al Shabaab kidnaps farmers, pastoralists for ransom,” Garowe Online, January 27. Available:
“Somalia: al-Shabaab militants ‘kidnap 50 villagers’,” Horseed Media, January 27. Available:
[5] “Somali ex-Shabaab chief tells others to surrender,” Capital FM, January 27. Available:
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