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: Governors of Aden and Lahij survive SVBIED attack in Aden; AQAP stones woman for adultery in al Mukalla, Hadramawt; fighting continues along major frontlines as coalition airstrikes target al Houthi-Saleh sites; coalition deploys additional troops to Saudi-Yemeni border

Horn of Africa: Gunmen attempt to assassinate a Galmudug official in Mogadishu’s Waberi district, Banadir region; Ethiopia deploys troops to Jubbaland State territories; gunmen attempt attack on compound housing Turkish nationals in Mogadishu, Banadir region

Yemen Security Brief

  • The governors of Aden and Lahij governorates survived a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack in Inma city in Aden. The attack killed at least one of the governors’ bodyguards and injured several others. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack at this time. The assassination attempt comes less than a month after an SVBIED, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan, killed the previous governor of Aden, Jaafar Mohammed Saad, on December 6, 2015.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) stoned a woman to death for adultery in al Mukalla, Hadramawt on January 4, according to a local journalist. The woman was judged to have committed adultery in Ansar al Sharia’s court in al Mukalla in December 2015. Gunmen prevented photography of the execution.[2]
  • Clashes continued along established frontlines throughout central Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition continued its airstrike campaign by targeting al Houthi-Saleh military sites in Sana’a, al Hudaydah, and Taiz. An airstrike also reportedly struck the Noor Centre for the Blind in Sana’a’s Safi’ah district, but no casualties have been reported. Reports indicate that al Houthi-Saleh forces advanced in Hajjah governorate in northern Yemen and Lahij governorate in southwestern Yemen, pushing back against recent coalition advancements. Residents of Ma’rib claimed that the al Houthis fired Katyusha rockets into the city, marking the first attack on Ma’rib city since coalition-backed troops recaptured it in the summer.[3]
  • An additional 1,000 coalition troops, mostly Bahrainis and Emiratis, deployed to the Saudi-Yemeni border. Sources indicate the reinforcements will support border security operations against al Houthi-Saleh forces based in northern Yemen. Cross-border attacks have increased in the past month.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unidentified gunmen attempted to assassinate the Galmudug State’s assistant minister of transport, Abdisamad Yusuf Elmi, on January 3 in Mogadishu’s Waberi district, Banadir region. Assailants dress in military uniforms blocked Elmi’s vehicle and opened fire but missed, allowing Elmi to escape. It is unclear who was behind the attack.[5]
  • Two hundred and sixty Ethiopian soldiers arrived in in the Gedo region’s Bardere city on January 4 to replace Sierra Leonean African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers that left in 2014. Additionally, an unspecified number of soldiers arrived in the Lower Jubba region’s capital of Kismayo on January 3. The new Ethiopian troops will assist Interim Jubbaland Administration (IJA) forces and allied AMISOM contingents in ongoing Operation Jubba Corridor, which is an offensive operation aimed at clearing al Shabaab’s from the IJA’s territory in southern Somalia.[6]
  • Unidentified gunmen attacked a compound housing Turkish nationals on January 5 near the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu, Banadir region. Security guards in the compound clashed with the gunmen and eventually forced them to flee. One person was killed and another was wounded in the clash. It is unclear who was behind the attack, although al Shabaab has targeted Turkish citizens in the past.[7]

  Updated 2016-01-05 5:00PM EST

[2]“Al Qaeda in Yemen stones woman to death for adultery, witnesses say,” AP, January 4, 2015,
[3]“Yemen war intensifies amid mounting regional tension,” Reuters, January 5, 2016,
Alex MacDonald, “”Yemen centre for blind ‘hit in Saudi coalition air raid,’” Middle East Eye, January 5, 2016,
[4]“Gulf states helping secure Saudi border with Yemen,” World Tribune, January 4, 2016,
[5]“Galmudug assistant minister escapes assassination attempt,” Goobjoog News, January 4, 2015,
[6]“Somalia: Fresh Ethiopian troops arrive in Bardere,” Shabelle News, January 5, 2015,
“SNA and AU troops in Jubbaland to lead new offensive against al-shabaab,” Goobjoog News, January 5, 2015,
[7]“Gunmen attack Turkish building near Mogadishu airport,” Shabelle News, January 5, 2015,
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