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: Saudi-led operation Decisive Storm continues airstrikes in Yemen; pro-Hadi forces recapture Aden Airport and Badr military camp in Aden; al Houthis seize military base in Shabwah

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab commander captured in Mogadishu; Somali pirates hijack Iranian vessel; Kenyan police detain 52 in Mombasa

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Saudi-led operation Decisive Storm continued airstrikes against al Houthi sites and military targets in Yemen on March 27. Saudi aircraft attacked multiple al Houthi sites in Sa’ada governorate in Shada’ah, al Marawi, and Beir Zayid. Continued airstrikes in Sana’a targeted alleged former Republican Guard units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Strikes in al Dhaleh targeted the 33rd Armored Brigade, which is allied with the al Houthis. Airstrikes also targeted an airbase near Safer oil field, Ma’rib, controlled by military units reportedly loyal to former president Saleh. The al Houthis do not have an established presence in Ma’rib.[1]
  • Pro-Hadi forces retook Aden International Airport and captured Badr military camp in Aden city, Aden on March 27. The sites were previously controlled by the Saleh-loyalist 39th Armored Brigade in the city.[2]
  • Al Houthi militants and allied-military unites reportedly seized the military base of the 19th Infantry Brigade in Bayhan, Shabwah, on March 27 following clashes with alleged Ansar al Sharia militants. Ansar al Sharia had temporarily captured the military base on February 12.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali security forces captured a top al Shabaab commander on March 26 in Mogadishu. The government has not released the identity of the suspect but stated that he had been behind suicide attacks and assassinations in Mogadishu in recent months. He was captured with three other militants and a cache of weapons, explosives, and ammunition.[4]
  • It has been reported that Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel off the coast of Mudug region on March 23. The Iranian vessel had been fishing illegally in Somali waters. The crew and ship are being held for ransom. According to the United Nations this is the first successful hijacking by Somali pirates since May 2012.[5]
  • Kenyan police detained 52 people in Mombasa, Coast province, Kenya on March 27. Many of the detained were youths who attended mosques in the city police claimed are used by radical preachers to recruit for militant groups. This comes one day after a Kenyan police officer was killed by unknown gunmen in the city.[6]


[1] “Yemen airstrikes hit airfield in oil-producing Ma’rib,” Reuters, March 27, 2015. Available:
“Warplanes strike al Houthi-held capital Sana’a,” Reuters, March 27, 2015. Available:
“Air-defense rocket launcher destroyed in Ma’rib,” al Tagheer, March 27, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“The second day of Saudi aggression,” al Watanye, March 27, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Saudi-led coalition pounds Yemen with airstrikes a second day,” CNN, March 27, 2015. Available:
[2] “Pro-Hadi forces seize Aden airport and 39th Armored Brigade camp,” al Masdar, March 27, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Pro-Hadi forces expel Saleh-loyal troops from Aden Airport and camp Badr,” al Tagheer, March 27, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Al Houthi militants and allied-army unity seize 19th Infantry Brigade camp in Shabwah,” Barakish, March 27, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Top Shabaab commander captured,” Hiiraan Online, March 27.  Available:
[5] “Somali pirates return, seize Iranian fishing vessel,” Hiiraan Online, March 15. Available:
[6] Joseph Akwiri, “Kenya detains 52 in latest roundup over suspected Islamist attack,” Reuters, March 27. Available:
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