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 Arabia denies targeting or striking the Iranian embassy in Sana’a; Vice President Khaled Bahah returns to Aden; AQAP releases video showing operations in Taiz city

Horn of Africa: Kenyan police arrest wanted al Shabaab militant in Mombasa, Kenya; al Shabaab releases Indonesian-language statement; Nigerian AMISOM contingent arrives in Mogadishu, Banadir region

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Saudi-led coalition officially denied Iranian claims that coalition airstrikes deliberately targeted and damaged the Iranian embassy in Sana’a on the night of January 6. The coalition also denied conducting operations near the embassy. Local reports have confirmed that the embassy suffered no damage. Iranian embassy guards reported that the airstrike in question struck a target across the street from the embassy, a residence of Ahmed Saleh, son of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Coalition airstrikes have struck the residence multiple times throughout the Saudi-led campaign.[1]
  • Khaled Bahah, Vice President to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, arrived in Aden on January 8 on a military jet from the United Arab Emirates. He immediately boarded a helicopter to the presidential palace, where he met with President Hadi. The Hadi government is still working to implement security in its de facto capital, where two local officials were assassinated this week. Security forces are currently attempting to exercise control over key sites, including Aden’s seaport and airport, and counter the militant groups active in the city.[2]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video showing fighters from Ansar al Sharia, AQAP’s militant arm, targeting al Houthi fighters and destroying shrines in Taiz city. The video states that Ansar al Sharia militants are fighting against al Houthi-Saleh forces alongside “some of the fighting groups from the Sunni people.” AQAP is currently leveraging the anti-al Houthi fight to build relationships with local militias, including tribal fighters and local Salafi groups currently active in Taiz.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Kenyan police arrested Ikirima Shosi, an al Shabaab member, in Mombasa, Mombasa County, Kenya on January 8. Shosi was wanted by Kenyan authorities for suspected involvement in the killing of a Kenyan intelligence officer in July 2015. Additionally, police believe Shosi is one of the four suspects who escaped a January 5 police raid on a house in Mandera that yielded a sizable arms cache. Police are questioning Shosi on the whereabouts of the other militants who escaped the earlier raid.[4]
  • Al Shabaab released an Indonesian-language statement on January 8. The statement, entitled “Victory Comes with Patience,” was distributed by the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) and is a direct translation of an English-language statement released by the GIMF on December 17. The statement praises militant activity world-wide, condemns Western involvement in Syria and Iraq, and calls for Muslims to attack Western interests worldwide.[5]
  • A contingent of 140 Nigerian police, who will serve under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), arrived in Mogadishu, Banadir region on January 6.  The new police will replace a similar number of outgoing Nigerian police who completed a one-year rotation. The new police contingent will help Somalia’s police conduct security operations throughout the capital for the next year.[6]

[1] “Saudi coalition denies air strike on Iran's Yemen embassy,” BBC News, January 8, 2016,
Thomas Erdbrink and Kareem Fahim, “Iran Accuses Saudi Arabia of Hitting Embassy in Yemen,” The New York Times, January 7, 2016,
“Coalition airstrikes target former residence of Saleh’s son in Sanaa,” Al Bawaba, May 19, 2015,
Hayfal Bafana, Twitter, January 7, 2016,
[2] “Bahah arrives in Aden,”, January 7, 2016,
[3] “AQAP video shows attack on Houthi position in Taiz, destroying ‘Polytheist’ shrines,” AITE Intelligence Group, January 7, 2016,
[4] Elkana Jacob, “Wanted terror suspect linked to NIS officer's murder arrested in Mombasa,” The Star, January 8, 2016,
[5], Twitter, January 8, 2016,
Casey, “al-Shabaab: Victory Comes with Patience,” World Analysys, December 21, 2015, Source available upon request.
[6] “New contingent of Nigerian Police arrive in Somalia,” Goobjoog News, January 8, 2016,
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