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: Al Houthi militants and allied-military units advance toward Aden through Lahij governorate; airstrikes target Hadi in Aden; Hadi’s government requests military intervention from the Arab League

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab kidnaps former official in Galgudud region; Somali security forces capture explosives-laden vehicle in Galgudud region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi forces and allied military units seized al Anad Air Base and al Hawta city, Lahij, on March 25. The al Houthis reportedly captured Hadi’s Minister of Defense Mahmoud al Subaihi and Faisal Rajab, the commander of the 119th Infantry Brigade, in al Hawta. Al Houthi militants from Taiz supported by the 33rd Armored Brigade likewise seized the cities of Habilayn and al Milah in north-western Lahij.[1]
  • Al Houthi militias reportedly clashed with forces loyal to Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi within the outskirts of Aden city, Aden on March 25. Additionally, unidentified aircraft carried out airstrikes on the presidential palace. Sources have denied rumors that Hadi fled Aden, reporting that he remains in the city. The al Houthis have reportedly announced a reward of approximately $100,000 USD for the capture of Hadi.[2]
  • Hadi’s government requested immediate military intervention from the Arab League on March 25, in an effort to stop what he referred to as Iranian expansion. Arab League officials stated that the issue would be decided during a meeting on March 26. Saudi Arabia, however, has begun moving heavy military equipment towards the Yemeni-Saudi border.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab kidnapped the former governor of Elbur district in Dac, Galgudud region on March 23. Clan elders have reportedly attempted to secure his release from al Shabaab on the basis that he is no longer active in politics. Al Shabaab often targets Somali officials.[4]
  • Somali security forces captured a vehicle loaded with explosives and weapons in the Elbur district of Galgudud region on March 24. The vehicle was reportedly on its way to the al Shabaab-controlled town of Gal Hareeri, Galgudud region. Two suspects were also arrested with the vehicle.[5]
[1] “Yemen’s al Houthis poised to take president’s Aden base,” Reuters, March 25, 2015. Available:
“Mahmoud al Subaihi arrested in al Hawta,” Barakish, March 25, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
"33rd Armored Brigade captures Habilayn and al Milah and meets up with al Houthi forces," Barakish, March 25, 2015 [Arabic]. Available: 
[2] “Warplanes strike Aden district housing presidential compound,” Reuters, March 25, 2015. Available:
“Airplanes bomb presidential palace in Aden,” Barakish, March 25, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Al Houthis announce reward of 20 million Riyals for capture of President Hadi,” al Masdar, March 25, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Arab League says to discuss Yemen proposal for intervention on Thursday,” Reuters, March 25, 2015. Available:
“Saudi moves military equipment near Saudi-Yemeni border,” al Masdar, March 25, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Hadi government asks for military intervention in Yemen,” al Masdar, March 25, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Former Ceelbuur governor kidnapped by Al Shabaab,” Bar Kulan, March 25. Available:
[5] “Vehicle loaded with explosives confiscated in Ceelbur,” Bar Kulan, March 25. Available:
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