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: IS publishes statement of allegiance from Mujahadin of Yemen; US embassy preparing to evacuate personnel; Ansar al Sharia militants fight with al Houthi gunmen in al Bayda; unidentified airstrike kills AQAP militants in Shabwah; al Houthi militants fight with security personnel in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: U.S. Department of State and U.K. express deep concern for growing political instability in Somalia; Somali Federal Parliament suspends vote of no confidence in the prime minister after disruption derails debate; suspected al Shabaab militants target three Somali officials with separate attacks in Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants withdraw from newly taken town in Lower Jubba region

Yemen Security Brief

  • A group calling itself the Mujahadin of Yemen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) and its leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in a statement released by IS on November 10. The pledge was released at the same time as four other statements of allegiance from groups in Saudi Arabia, North Africa, and Egypt. All of the statements were released within 24 hours of each other and were nearly identical in their wording.[1]
  • The U.S. Embassy in Yemen is reportedly preparing to evacuate its personnel due to rising insecurity in the country, according to anonymous defense officials. The U.S. military is also reported to be involved in planning the potential evacuation.[2]
  • Ansar al Sharia militants continued fighting with al Houthi gunmen in Rada’a, al Bayda, 150 km southeast of Sana’a, on November 12, killing a total of 33 people in the last two days. Additionally, Ansar al Sharia detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in Qayfa, al Bayda, just east of Rada’a, although no casualties were reported in the explosion.[3]
  • An unidentified airstrike killed seven al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants near Azzan, Shabwah, 500 km east of Sana’a, on November 12.[4]
  • Al Houthi militants attacked security guards at Sana’a International Airport on November 10, killing two and wounding one guard, over a dispute on the security of the airport terminal.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki announced on November 10 that the U.S. is deeply concerned about the ongoing dispute between the prime minister and president over cabinet appointments. Psaki stated that the U.S. will no longer send a delegation to the High Level Partnership Forum on Somalia held in Copenhagen next week. The British Foreign Ministry echoed the U.S. concern for political turmoil in the Somali Federal Government as a threat to regional security and economic development. [6] 
  • The Somali Federal Parliament began a voting session on confidence in the prime minister on November 11. National Assembly speaker Mohammed Osman Jawari, however, canceled the session soon after constant loud disruptions compromised debate.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants shot and killed the Somali Federal Government Deputy Head of Immigration and two civilians at the in the Hodan district of Mogadishu on November 11. Separately, suspected al Shabaab militants assassinated the Hawl Wadag Deputy Commissioner and his driver in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu on November 12. Finally, suspected al Shabaab militants attempted to assassinate Somali Federal Parliament member Mohamed Omar Dalha survived in the Hamar Jajab district of Mogadishu on November 11. Dalha survived the assassination.[8]
  • Al Shabaab militants withdrew from Kuda Island, Lower Jubba region on November 10, reportedly kidnapping civilians during their retreat. The movement followed a successful seizure of the city by the militants on November 8, which resulted in ninety total casualties.[9]

[1] “IS Releases Five Statements of Allegienca to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi Within 24 Hours,” SITE Intel Group, November 10, 2014. Available: SITE.
“Fighters in Yemen pledge allegiance to the IS, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi,” SITE Intel Group, November 10, 2014. Available: SITE.
[2] Kristina Wong, “US may evacuate Yemen embassy amid violence,” The Hill, November 11, 2014. Available:
Barbara Starr and Elise Labott, “US military plans for possible evacuation of embassy in Yemen,” CNN, November 11, 2014. Available:
[3] “At least 33 dead in Yemeni clashes, U.S. drone kills seven,” Reuters, November 12, 2014. Available:
“Violent attack of the tribesmen in al Rada’a to control Fox Mountain and bombing al Houthi tanks,” al Masdar, November 12, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Yemen officials say airstrike kills 6 militants,” ABC News, November 12, 2014. Available:
“Killed seven al Qaeda air raid US drone Azzan in Shabwa,” al Masdar, November 12, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Yemen officials say airstrike kills 6 militants,” ABC News, November 12, 2014. Available:
“Details: seven killed in a US air raid in Shabwah (the names of the dead),” Aden al Ghad, November 12, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Two killed at Sana’a airport as Houthis, Yemen security men clash- medica,” Reuters, November 11, 2014. Available:
[6] “U.S. Deeply Concerned With Political Turmoil in Somalia,” U.S. Department of State, November 10, 2014. Available:
“Britain worried about political tension in Somalia,” Bar Kulan, November 11, 2014. Available:
[7] “Chaos in Somali Parliament over PM vote of no confidence,” Bar Kulan, November 11, 2014. Available:
Press TV, “Somalia: Parliamentary debate on sacking Somali PM halt,” Horseed Media, November 11, 2014. Available:
[8] Xinhua News , “Somali Official killed in Mogadishu, Al Shabaab claims responsibility,”  Hiiraan Online, November 12, 2014. Available:
“Breaking News: Armed men kill chief immigration officer of Abdulle airport in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog, November 12, 2014. Available:
“Deputy Hawlwadaag District Commissioner Killed,” Radio Dalsan, November 12, 2014. Available:
“Prof. Dalha Survives Attempted Assassination,” Radio Dalsan, November 11, 2014. Available:
[9] “Somalia: Al Shabaab fighters vacate Kudhaa Island,” Garowe Online, November 10, 2014. Available:
“90 Killed as Al-Shabab Takes Somali Island,” VOA News, November 10, 2104. Available:
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