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: AQAP detonates VBIED killing approximately 30 civilians in capital Sana’a; AQAP assassinate al Houthi-loyal tribal sheikh in al Bayda; Ansar al Sharia attacks al Houthis in Rada’a

Horn of Africa: Puntland authorities claim to have killed 46 al Shabaab militants over the past week in Galgala Mountain region; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate car bomb in Mogadishu; al Shabaab executes four accused spies in Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) targeting civilians lined up to apply for the local police academy in the capital Sana’a on January 7. The bomber drove a minibus next to the police academy before detonating. The blast killed an estimated 26.[1]
  • Suspected AQAP militants assassinated an al Bayda tribal sheikh loyal to the al Houthis and four of his companions during an ambush on January 6 in al Bayda, south of the capital Sana’a. AQAP often targets sheikhs loyal to al Houthi militants.[2]  
  • Ansar al Sharia detonated an improvised explosive device targeting an al Houthi patrol in Rada’a, al Bayda on January 6, killing an unknown number of al Houthis. Ansar al Sharia later claimed credit for the attack.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Puntland authorities claimed on January 7 that their troops killed 46 al Shabaab militants over the past week in the Galgala Mountains in northern Somalia. Puntland officials also claimed to have captured several militants including al Shabaab commanders Mukhtar Abdinur Ahmed (Ahmed Gurey) and Ahmed Abdi Mohamed. Five Puntland troops were killed and four were injured during fighting.[4]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated a car bomb in Hodan district, Mogadishu on January 7. A lecturer at Simad University in Mogadishu was injured in the blast.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants executed four people accused of spying for the United States, Ethiopia, and the Somali government in Bardhere, Gedo region on January 6. Al Shabaab accused one of the spies of working for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).[6]

[1] “Suicide bomber kills at least 33 at Yemen police enrollment,” New York Times, January 7, 2015. Available:
“Car bomb kills 31 outside Yemen police college,” Reuters, January 7, 2015. Available:
“Police academy bombing death toll raised to 26,” Saba, January 7, 2015. Available:
[2] “Tribal chief, four others killed in Yemeni ambush,” Reuters, January 6, 2015. Available:
“Tribal sheikh killed in al Bayda,” Saba, January 7, 2015. Available:
[3] “Explosion targets al Houthi patrol in al Bayda with casualties, including senior leader,” Yemen Akhbar, January 6, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “About 60 people killed in northeastern Somalia attack,” Bar Kulan, January 7, 2015. Available:
[5] “Suspected Islamist car bombing badly injures Somali lecturer,” Reuters, January 7, 2015. Available:
“Car bomb injures 1 in Mogadishu explosion,” Shabelle News, January 7, 2015. Available:
“Simad university lecturer wounded in Mogadishu explosion,” Bar Kulan, January 7, 2015. Available: 
[6] “Shebab militants execute 4 ‘spies’,” Hiraan Online, January 7, 2015. Available:
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