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: Saudi forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Jazan, Saudi Arabia; Yemeni VIP guards graduate in UAE; UN FAO reports that over half of Yemen’s population is food insecure

Horn of Africa: Four women arraigned on terrorism charges in Nairobi, Kenya; Ethiopian AMISOM troops conduct clearing operations near El Bur, Galgaduud, Somalia; KDF deploys bomb detection team to Lamu County, Kenya; Kenyan  youth radicalization amnesty program implemented; NISA forces arrest five al Shabaab militants and kill one in El Asha Biyaha, Upper Jubba region, Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Saudi forces clashed with al Houthi forces and forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Jebel al Doud region in Jazan province, southern Saudi Arabia on January 27. The clashes follow confrontations earlier this week in al Horth region,  Jazan province and al Raboah,  Asir province, both less than ten kilometers from the Saudi-Yemeni border.[1]
  • A new class of Yemeni personal security guards graduated from training on January 28 in the United Arab Emirates. The Emirati military trained the Yemeni soldiers in checkpoint inspection, first aid, and other skills. The UAE is a member of the Saudi-led coalition and provides military assistance to the internationally recognized government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.[2]
  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned of growing food insecurity in Yemen. The FAO estimates that approximately 14.4 million Yemenis, over half the country’s population, are food insecure, defined as lacking access to “sufficient, safe and nutritious food.” The FAO’s latest estimate reflects a 12 percent increase in food insecurity since June 2015 and a 36 percent increased since late 2014.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Kenyan officials arraigned four women for attempting to support al Shabaab.  The three Kenyan women and one Tanzanian were arrested as they tried to sneak across the Somali border near El Wak in Mandera County, Kenya to join the militant group.  They are accused of planning to both support al Shabaab in Somalia and return to Kenya to conduct attacks. The women pleaded not guilty to all charges and will be held at Shimo la Tewa Maximum Security Prison outside Mombasa until their trial on March 9, 2016.[4] 
  • A detachment of Ethiopian African Union in Somalia (AMISOM) troops began clearing operations near El Bur town in Galgaduud region, central Somalia.  The operations focus on retaking villages previously occupied by al Shabaab and pushing pockets of fighters out of the region, where AMISOM forces have maintained a significant presence in since 2014.  Somali National Army (SNA) troops are supporting the Ethiopian contingent in these operations.[5] 
  • A Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) bomb detection team deployed to Lamu County, near the Kenyan-Somali border, to find and deactivate roadside bombs placed by al Shabaab.  The decision to deploy the team comes days after an al Shabaab improvised explosive device (IED) attack killed seven Kenyan police officers in Milimani, Lamu County.[6]
  • Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery claimed that a program to rehabilitate radicalized Kenyan youth has been successfully implemented.  The program gives amnesty to youth who have traveled to Somalia to train with al Shabaab, as long as they participate in rehabilitation.[7] 
  • The Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) reportedly carried out an operation targeting al Shabaab militants in El Asha Biyaha town, Upper Jubba region, Somalia. The militants refused to surrender and a gun battle broke out, killing one militant and one NISA soldier. The NISA forces the arrested five al Shabaab militants.[8] 

[1] “Revelation of the reality of al Houthi control over Saudi Jabal ‘al Doud’ .. suicide on the border and an Apache intervenes,” Mareb Press, January 29, 2016,
“1300GMT: Saudi forces thwart an attack by Al-Houthi on Jazan,” Al Arabiya, January 28, 2016,
“Units from the army and popular committees invade the military area of al Doud in Jazan and blow up the area’s surveillance tower,” Saba’ News, Janaury 28, 2016,
“The coalition destroys an al Houthi operations center,”, January 27, 2016,
“Riyadh announces the death of a Saudi captain in clashes with al Houthis in al Raboah,” Al Masdar, January 25, 2016,
[2] “Graduation of a personal security and protection patrol for a number of Yemeni army individuals and training from the Emirati armed forces,” Emirates News Agency, January 28, 2016,
[3] “FAO warns of rapidly deteriorating food security in Yemen,” Relief Web, January 28, 2016,
“Food security: concepts and measurement” in Trade Reforms and Food Security, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Rome: 2003),
[4] Brian Ocharo, “Four Al-Shabaab women charged with planning terror attacks,” The Daily Nation,  January 29, 2016,
[5] “Ethiopia troops launch military maneuver near Elbur,” Shabelle News, January 29, 2016,
[6] Kenya's bomb experts to detonate IEDs along Somali border,” Xinhua Africa News, January 29, 2016,
[7] Wangui Ngechu, “Amnesty for radicalised youths still on, says Nkaissery,” Citizen Digital, January 29, 2016,
View Citations
Arrow down red
Feb '16
Jan '16
Dec '15