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: Fighting between Special Security Forces and pro-Hadi popular committees continues in Aden; al Houthis perform military exercises with Yemeni army near Saudi border; suspected Ansar al Sharia militants assassinate tribal sheikh with IED

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab conducts complex attack in Bay region; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate SVBIED in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Special Security Forces (SSF) in Aden fought with local militias known as popular committees loyal to Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on March 12 in Aden, southern Yemen. Three people died in the clashes. Fighting began after the commander of the SFF and al Houthi-loyalist, Abdul Hafiz al Saqqaf, refused to surrender command of the unit. Reports indicated that the popular committees in Aden received reinforcements from militias in Abyan and from 119th Infantry brigade. There are also unverified reports that the SSF received reinforcements from al Houthi militants.[1]
  • Al Houthi militants performed military exercises in al Buqa, Sa’ada, near the Saudi border on March 12. The exercises were a joint operation between Yemeni military units and al Houthi forces.[2]
  • Suspected Ansar al Sharia militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in al Bayda city, al Bayda on March 12. The explosion killed a tribal sheikh with reported ties to the SSF in the city. No group has claimed credit for the attack.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab carried out a complex attack on the regional government headquarters in Baidoa, Bay region on March 12. The attack involved a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) outside of the compound followed by al Shabaab gunmen storming the compound. At least six police officers were killed in the attack. Al Shabaab later claimed responsibility for the attack.[4]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants carried out a SVBIED attack in Mogadishu on March 11. The attack killed one soldier and wounded two civilians. No group claimed responsibility for the attack but al Shabaab has carried out similar attacks in Mogadishu in the past.[5]

[2] “Yemen’s Houthis in military exercises near Saudi border,” Reuters, March 12, 2015. Available:
[3] “Tribal sheikh killed in violent explosion in his car,” Barakish, March 12, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Explosion kills tribal sheikh in al Bayda,” al Watanye, March 12, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Somali Islamists attack regional office in central city –police,” Reuters, March 12. Available:
[5] “Somalia: One killed as car bomb goes off in pursuit,” Garowe Online, March 11. Available:
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