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: The al Houthi movement released a U.S. citizen from captivity; reports indicate progress being made towards UN talks in Geneva; unconfirmed U.S. airstrike targets AQAP in al Jawf

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab continues to hold village in Mandera county, Kenya; Somali security forces recapture town in Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  • The al Houthi movement released U.S. citizen Casey Coombs from captivity in the capital, Sana’a, on June 1. Coombs arrived in Muscat, Oman, the same day. U.S. officials confirmed on June 1 that they have been meeting with al Houthi representatives in Oman. The al Houthi movement is still detaining three other U.S. citizens in Sana’a, one of whom has reportedly been held for several years to due suspected links to al Qaeda.[1]
  • Unconfirmed reports indicate that Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government is prepared to engage in UN-led talks in Geneva within the next two weeks, following talks with UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. It is uncertain how involved the al Houthi movement has been in this process. The talks in Geneva will reportedly focus on the implementation of UN Resolution 2216.[2]
  • An unconfirmed U.S. airstrike reportedly targeted two cars carrying suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Yatamah, al Jawf, on June 2. It is uncertain how many AQAP militants were killed in the alleged strike.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Local reporting indicates that al Shabaab continues to hold the village of Warankara in north eastern Kenya near the Somali border, which they seized on June 1. Residents of the town have begun fleeing, and schools have shut down.[4]
  • Somali security forces supported by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces recaptured Toratorow village in Lower Shabelle region from al Shabaab on June 2. The militants reportedly withdrew from the town without fighting.[5]

[1] “Yemen’s Houthis still hold three U.S. citizens,” Reuters, June 1, 2015. Available:
“U.S. citizen detained in Yemen has arrived in Oman,” Reuters, June 1, 2015. Available:
“U.S. met secretly  with Yemen rebels,” Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2015. Available:
[2] “Preliminary agreement on date of Geneva talks and main points to discuss,” Barakish, June 2, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemeni government announces its offer to hold talks in Geneva,” Barakish, June 2, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“U.N. diplomat pushes to hold Yemen talks, Arab air strikes pound Houthis,” Reuters, June 1, 2015. Available:
[3] “U.S. raid destroys two cars in al Jawf,” Barakish, June 2, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“US drone bombed two vehicles with AQAP in Yemen,” Dostor, June 2, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Somalia’s al-Shabab enters Kenyan village,” BBC News, June 2, 2015. Available:
[5] “Allied forces capture Toratorow village in Lower Shabelle,” Bar Kulan, June 2, 2015. Available:
“Somalia, AU forces seize al Shabab held areas,” Shabelle Media Network, June 2, 2015. Available:
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