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: Humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen ends; SVEST targets al Houthi militants in Abyan; Ansar al Sharia captures Yemeni soldiers in al Mukalla

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab denies plotting Burundi attack; suspected U.S. UAV captured by al Shabaab in Bay region; SNA recaptures towns in Lower Shabelle region; Kenyan police arrest al Shabaab recruiter in Coast Province, Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • The five-day humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen between Saudi Arabia and the al Houthi movement expired on May 17. A Yemeni al Houthi-allied military spokesman released a statement on May 17 welcoming calls from the UN special envoy to Yemen to extend the ceasefire. Saudi Arabia refused to extend the ceasefire due to al Houthi violations of the truce and resumed airstrikes across Yemen the evening of May 17.[1]
  • An unidentified militant detonated a suicide vest (SVEST) targeting the al Houthi headquarters in Lawder city, Abyan, on May 17. The attack reportedly killed dozens, though no detailed report is yet available. No group has yet claimed credit for the attack.[2]
  • Ansar al Sharia militants in al Mukalla, Hadramawt, captured a reported 20-40 Yemeni soldiers in al Mukalla on May 16. The captured soldiers were allegedly affiliated with the al Houthi movement.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage denied accusations on May 17, from Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza that al Shabaab was plotting to attack Burundi. Ali Mohamed Rage alleged that Nkurunziza’s allegation was an attempt to distract from the ongoing crisis in Burundi.[4]
  • A suspected U.S. Unmanned Aeriel Vehicle (UAV) crashed near the town of Bur Hakaba, Bay region, on May 17. Al Shabaab militants, who control the area, claim to have seized the UAV. There has been no comment from U.S. officials.[5]
  • Somali National Army (SNA) forces recaptured the towns of Aw dheegle and Mubarak, both in Lower Shabelle region, from al Shabaab on May 15. Militants had previously driven SNA troops from the towns earlier on May 15.[6]
  • Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) arrested a suspected al Shabaab recruiter in Mombasa, Coast Province on May 16.[7]

[1] “Houthi violations ended Yemen truce: foreign minister,” Reuters, May 18, 2015. Available:
“Saudi-led alliance resumes strikes on Yemen,” Reuters, May 17, 2015. Available:
“Yemen army welcomes U.N. envoy appeal for truce extension,” May 17, 2015. Available:
[2] “Suicide bomber blew himself up targeting the al Houthis in Lawder, Abyan,” al Masdar, May 18, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Suicide bomber blew himself up at al Houthi headquarters in Abyan,” Yemen Akhbar, May 18, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “AQAP captures soldiers suspected of being affiliated with al Houthi movement in al Mukalla,” Middle East Online, May 16, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“al Qaeda captures 36 in al Mukalla,” al Mashhad, May 16, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Al Shabaab denies Burundian President Attack claims,” Dalsan Radio, May 18. Available:
[5] “Somali Militants seize crashed ‘US’ drone,” Hiiraan Online, May 17. Available:
[6] “Somali Forces Recapture Towns Attacked by al-Shabab,” VoA, May 15. Available:
“Somali gov’t troops retake towns from Al-Shabaab,” Bar Kulan, May 16. Available:
[7] Joseph Muraya, “Alleged Shabaab recruiter arrested in Mombasa,” Capital FM, May 17. Available:
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