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: U.S. Secretary of State calls for humanitarian relief in Yemen and pause in fighting; Saudi airstrikes target Sa’ada and Hajjah in response to al Houthi attack on Najran; eighty people reported dead in Aden clashes

Horn of Africa: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes unannounced visit to Mogadishu; suspected al Shabaab militants assassinate deputy mayor of Wadajir

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia will discuss a possible pause in Saudi operations in Yemen to provide humanitarian relief for Yemeni citizens. Kerry also announced that the U.S. would provide $68 million in aid for relief efforts.[1]
  • Saudi-led airstrikes targeted al Houthi positions in Hajjah and Sa’ada governorates on May 6 in apparent response to the May 5 al Houthi attack on Najran, Saudi Arabia. Al Houthi sources reported that 43 people were killed and over 100 wounded from the strikes.[2]
  • An estimated 80 people were killed in Aden city, Aden, from May 5-6 as popular resistance fighters continued to clash with al Houthi militants in the city. A shell from an al Houthi tank reportedly hit a boat carrying refugees from the al Tawahi district, Aden, causing it to sink and killing a reported 40 passengers.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced visit to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on May 5. Kerry announced that the U.S. will begin reestablishing a diplomatic mission in Somalia. Kerry is the first sitting U.S. secretary of state to visit Somalia.[4] 
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants assassinated the deputy mayor of Wadajir district and two of his body guards in Mogadishu on May 6. Al Shabaab reportedly later claimed credit for the attack. Separately, al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an AMISOM vehicle in Elasha, ten miles northwest of Mogadishu, on May 6.[5]

[1] “U.S. to discuss pause in Yemen fighting with Saudis: Kerry,” Reuters, May 6, 2015. Available:
[2] “Warplanes strike Yemen’s Sa’ada and Hajjah provinces,” Reuters, May 6, 2015. Available:
“Aid agencies may stop work, Houthis say raids near border kill 43,” Reuters, May 6, 2015. Available:
[3] “At least 80 Yemenis killed in Aden violence,” Reuters, May 6, 2015. Available:
“Forty citizens killed in Aden when al Houthis bomb their boat,” al Masdar, May 6, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Shell in Aden kills 50 displaced persons on boat,” Barakish, May 6, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Kerry makes historic trip to Somalia in show of support,” Voices of America, May 5, 2015. Available:
“Kerry talks diplomatic ties on surprise visit to Somalia,” Reuters, May 6, 2015. Available:
[5] “Militants kill deputy mayor in drive-by shooting,” Horseed, May 6, 2015. Available:
“Somali Islamists kill government official, bomb AU convoy,” Reuters, May 6, 2015. Available:
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