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: Forces loyal to Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi retake Aden International Airport from pro-al Houthi forces; al Houthis deploy forces to Ma’rib-al Bayda border; French citizen released from captivity after nearly a month

Horn of Africa: The U.S. Department of Defense confirms March 12 airstrike targeting al Shabaab member

Yemen Security Brief

  • Local militias loyal to Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi along with soldiers from the Yemeni Special Forces, 119th Infantry Brigade, and 31st Armored Brigade led by Defense Minister Mahmoud al Subaihi launched a complex assault on Special Security Forces (SSF) under the command of reported Saleh and al Houthi-loyalist Abdul Hafiz al Saqqaf, driving the SSF from Aden International Airport, Aden city on March 19.  Three soldiers and one popular committee member died in the fighting, along with an unspecified number of SSF troops. Pro-Hadi forces then reportedly surrounded the SSF camp in Aden, leading to the surrender of the SSF troops. Al Saqqaf reportedly fled the SSF encampment, and has taken refuge at the home of the Director of National Security in Aden, Ghazi Ahmed Ali. Unconfirmed reporting also indicates that fighter jets attacked the Presidential Compound in Aden following clashes at the airport.[1]
  • Al Houthi militants deployed forces, including a number of armored vehicles to the Ma’rib–al Bayda border on March 19. Ma’ribi tribesmen had gathered near the border earlier in the week to defend against a possible al Houthi incursion into the governorate.[2]
  • Armed tribesmen released a French citizen on March 19. She had been kidnapped in the capital, Sana’a, on February 24.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The U.S. Department of Defense issued a press release on March 18 confirming that it had conducted the March 12 airstrike that targeted al Shabaab member Adan Garar. The statement also confirmed the death of Garar.[4]

[1] “Al Saqqaf takes refuge at home of Ghazi Ahmed Ali in Aden,” al Masdar, March 19, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Battle for Aden Airport stokes fears of wider conflict in Yemen,” New York Times, March 19, 2015. Available:
“Yemen Crisis: Air raid on president’s Aden compound,” BBC, March 19, 2015. Available:
“Al Jazeera: Aden troops control SSF camp, al Saqqaf escapes,” al Masdar, March 19, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Army led by al Subaihi in full control of Aden International Airport,” al Masdar, March 19, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Army and militants take control of SSF camp in Aden,” Barakish, March 19, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Al Houthis deploy troops to Ma’rib al Bayda border,” al Masdar, March 19, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “French woman released after kidnapping,” Barakish, March 19, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“French woman released from captivity,” al Masdar, March 19, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Statement on March 12 Airstrike in Somalia,” U.S. Department of Defense, March 18. Available:
“U.S. drone strike killed al Shabaab leader Garaar in Somalia – Pentagon,” Reuters, March 18. Available:
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