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: Unidentified militants carry out quadruple suicide attacks targeting two Zaydi mosques in Sana’a; unidentified militant detonates SVEST targeting al Houthis in Sa’ada; Special Security Forces reportedly send al Houthi troops to Taiz

Horn of Africa: Security forces attempt to open roads in Hiraan region; al Shabaab releases video depicting 2009 suicide bombers

Yemen Security Brief

  • Two suicide bombers detonated suicide vests (SVEST) at the Zaydi Badr Mosque in the capital, Sana’a, on March 20 during Friday prayers. Two separate suicide bombers simultaneously detonated SVESTs at the Zaydi Hashoush mosque in al Jiraf, Sana’a. Both mosques were frequented by al Houthis. An estimated 77 people were killed in the attacks and over 200 were wounded. No group has yet claimed credit for the attacks.[1]
  • A suicide bomber detonated a SVEST at the Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in Sa’ada city, Sa’ada, on March 20. The bomber attempted to enter a Zaydi mosque in the city but was captured by al Houthi militants who transferred him to the DCI for questioning. Upon arrival at the DCI, the bomber detonated his explosives, killing an unspecified number of people.[2]
  • Special Security Forces (SSF) in the capital, Sana’a, reportedly deployed troops primarily comprised of al Houthi militants to Taiz governorate on March 19. The commander of the SSF in Aden, Abdul Hafiz al Saqqaf, was reportedly transferred to the custody of popular committees in Taiz following his surrender to pro-Hadi forces after widespread clashes in Aden city on March 19.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali National Army (SNA) troops supported by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces began an operation on March 19 to open the roads from Beledweyne, Hiraan region to Bulo-Burde, Hiraan region. The roads to Bulo-Burde have been closed by al Shabaab for almost a year.[4]
  • Al Shabaab released a nine-minute video on March 17. The video is the first in a series titled “In Remembrance” and depicts four suicide bombers, who carried out operations in 2009, giving speeches before their operations.[5]
[1] “At least 46 killed, 200 wounded in Yemen mosque bombings,” Reuters, March 20, 2015. Available:
“Preliminary information: around 50 killed in Sana’a mosque bombings,” Barakish, March 20, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Preliminary information of Sana’a bombings,” al Masdar, March 20, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Dozens killed in suicide attacks at Shiite mosques in Yemen,” New York Times, March 20, 2015. Available:
[2] “Suicide bomber blows himself up in Sa’ada,” al Masdar, March 20, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Bomber blows himself up in al Houthi stronghold of Sa’ada,” Barakish, March 20, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[3]“Security leaders sends al Houthi troops to Taiz,” al Masdar, March 20, 2015 [Arabic]. Available: 
“Southern popular committees receive al Saqqaf,” Yemen Akhbar, March 20, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Army starts operation to clear roads leading to Bulla Burte,” Bar Kulan, March 19. Available:
[5] “Shebaab begins New Video Series Reflecting on Deceased Fighters,” SITE, March 19. Available:
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