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: Ansar al Sharia detonates IED targeting al Houthis in Dhamar; suspected IS supporters in Yemen assassinate army officer in Shabwah; al Houthi reject latest draft of constitution

Horn of Africa: Suicide car bomb hits Somali convoy in Mogadishu; Puntland security forces conduct search operations in Galkayo, Mudug region; al Shabaab beheads boy in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; UN Special Representative Nicholas Kay cites successes against al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • Ansar al Sharia militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an al Houthi building on January 4 in Dhamar city, south of the capital Sana’a, killing four and wounding 25. A second IED targeted al Houthis on January 5 in the capital Sana’a, injuring four. The explosions come a few days after Ansar al Sharia vowed to target al Houthis during celebrations of the Prophet’s Birthday.[1]
  • Unidentified gunmen assassinated a senior army officer in Ataq, Shabwah on January 4. Islamic State (IS) supporters reportedly later claimed credit for the attack, marking one of the first attacks for which IS supporters in Yemen have claimed credit.[2]
  • Yemen’s Constitutional Drafting Committee completed a draft of the new constitution on January 4 and to be released in the coming days. The al Houthi representative, however, refused to sign the new constitution and rejected the plan to divide Yemen into six federal regions. Al Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi gave a speech on January 3 also rejecting the plan.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) struck a Somali convoy on airport road in Mogadishu on January 4, killing at least four people. The convoy was of elite Somali forces that had received U.S. training. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack over Radio Andalus.[4]
  • Puntland security forces conducted search operations in Galkayo, Mudug region, on January 5. Local police officials reported that they were searching for individuals linked to an attack that killed a Kenyan school teacher and that dozens of people had been brought in for questioning. Armed men had thrown grenades into Yamays primary and secondary school in Galkayo a few days ago, killing at least four teachers.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants beheaded a teenage boy in Beledweyne, Hiraan region, on January 4. Al Shabaab accused the victim of spying for local Somali government and African Union Mission in Somalia AMISOM) forces operating in the area.[6]
  • UN Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay said U.S. targeted airstrikes and sustained ground offensives against al Shabaab have helped bring the country under Somali federal government control. He said that there had been “considerable success” in 2014 against al Shabaab.[7]


[1] “Four fighters from Houthi-led militia die in bombing, army officer shot in Yemen,” Reuters, January 4, 2015. Available:
“Popular committee in Dhamar tells about explosion in governorate,” Khabar Agency, January 4, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Blast hits Houthi rebel base in Yemen capital,” al Jazeera, January 5, 2015. Available:
“Four injured in IED in capital of Yemen,” al Saudi News, January 5, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Army officer murdered in Shabwa,” Saba, January 4, 2015. Available:
Mohammed Albasha via Twitter, January 4, 2015. Available:
[3] “CDC: The Constitution includes 446 articles,” Saba, January 4, 2015. Available:
Speech of Abdul Malik al Houthi via Facebook, January 3, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] Abdi Guled, “Suicide Bomber Kills 4 People in Somalia’s Capital,” AP, January 4, 2015. Available:
[5] “Puntland Forces Step Up Security Operation in Galka’yo,” Shabelle News, January 5, 2015. Available:
“One Killed, 14 injured – including Kenyans – in Somalia Road Blast,” Xinhua, January 5, 2015. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Al-Shabaab Beheads Somali Teenager for Spying,” Somali Current, January 5, 2015. Available:
[7] “UN Points to Progress in battling al-Shabab in Somalia,” VOA, January 3, 2015. Available:
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