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 coalition launches offensive on Taiz city; UN special envoy warns against al Houthi delay of negotiations; U.S. transfers five Yemeni Guantanamo inmates to UAE; Popular resistance forces and al Houthi-Saleh militias clash in Shabwah governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks IJA training base in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Al Shabaab arrests pro-ISIS recruiters in Buale, Middle Jubba region; Galmudug State forces retake Hanra and Qosol-Tire villages, Mudug region; Hiraan region security forces kill UN worker in Hawatako village, Hiraan region; al Shabaab publically executes cleric in central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Saudi-led coalition renewed its campaign to retake Taiz governorate from al Houthi and pro-Saleh forces on November 16. This offensive comes after a weeklong buildup of Sudanese and Emirati reinforcements in the coastal city of Aden in southern Yemen, as well as the deployment of coalition reinforcements and anti-mining and assault vehicles to the Shuraija region on the Taiz-Lahij border. Sudanese forces are also positioned at al Anad airbase in Lahij governorate. Coalition forces deployed to Dhubab, a coastal region in southwestern Taiz, and will likely push northward toward the al Houthi-controlled port city of Mokha.[1]
  • The UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, warned the al Houthis against prolonging the conflict in Yemen or delaying negotiations on November 16. Ould Cheikh Ahmed threatened a severe international reaction if the al Houthis do not cooperate. The peace talks in Geneva are expected to take place during the month of November but do not yet have an official start date.[2]
  • The U.S. Department of Defense transferred five Yemeni inmates from Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to the United Arab Emirates on November 15. The inmates were not repatriated to Yemen due to the ongoing fighting and humanitarian crisis.[3]
  • Popular resistance forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh militias in Shabwah governorate in eastern Yemen on November 16, killing 13 al Houthi fighters. The al Houthis attempted to ambush resistance patrols and the resistance responded with mortar attacks. Neither side made significant territorial gains.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a military training base manned by Interim Jubbaland Administration (IJA) soldiers on November 13 near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region.  Al Shabaab launched mortars at the base before conducting a ground assault. IJA soldiers successfully repulsed the attack but sustained at least 17 casualties. A Kenyan contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) based five kilometers away did not respond to the attack for unknown reasons.[5]
  • Al Shabaab arrested five pro-Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) recruiters on November 16 in Buale, Middle Jubba region. The detained individuals reportedly entered al Shabaab’s stronghold city in order to convince militants to join ISIS and pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.[6]
  • Galmudug State security forces recaptured Hanra and Qosol-Tire villages in the Mudug region on November 14. Al Shabaab militants clashed with residents while attempting to collect illegal taxes, and Galmudug forces quickly responding to support the residents. Galmudug forces killed 14 militants in Qosol-Tire before regaining control of the village. Government forces also liberated Hanra, but casualty figures are unknown.[7]
  • Hiraan region security forces killed a Somali UN worker on November 14 in Hawatako village, Hiraan region. Hiraan region security forces opened fire on the victim’s vehicle, killing him. The victim’s clan blamed the region’s governor for the killing, citing personal arguments with the victim as a motivation. Members of the victim’s clan have since blockaded Hawatako village and are demanding that the town hand over the individuals responsible for the killing.[8] 
  • Al Shabaab militants publically executed a prominent cleric on November 16 in an unspecified location in either the Hiraan or Middle Shabelle region. The militants intercepted the victim’s vehicle, gathered a crowd, and executed him. The motives for the killing are currently unknown.[9] 

[1] “Saudi-led forces advance towards Yemen’s besieged Taiz,” AFP, November 16, 2015. Available:
“Yemen, allies in Taez as peace talks remain uncertain,” AFP, November 16, 2015. Available:
[2] “Ould Cheikh warns al Houthis of consequences of a stall to thwart Geneva 2 conference,” Barakish, November 16, 2015. Available:
[3] “5 Guantanamo inmates sent to the United Arab Emirates,” New York Times, November 15, 2015. Available:
[4] “13 al Houthis killed in Shabwah governorate, shelling of historic fort,” Al Masdar Online, November 16, 2015. Available:
[5] “At least 17 Jubbaland soldiers killed in army base attack,” Shabelle News, November 14, 2015. Available:
“One killed after Al-Shabaab attacks Jubbaland military base,” Goobjoog News, November 14, 2015. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Al Shabaab arrests 5 pro-ISIL commanders in Bu’ale town – Source,” Shabelle News, November 16, 2015. Available:
[7] “Galmudug forces take villages near Harardhere town from Al shabaab,” Shabelle News, November 14, 2015. Available:
“14 militants killed as Galmudug forces come to the rescue of residents facing forceful collection of Zakah,” Wacaal Media, November 14, 2015. Available:
[8] “Somalia: Hiiraan governor accused of killing Mine action staffer,” Shabelle News, November 15, 2015. Available:
“Growing tension in Beledweyne town after UN official killed,” Geeska Africa, November 15, 2015. Available:
[9] “Al-shabaab militants execute prominent cleric in public,” Wacaal Media, Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Dec '15
Nov '15
Oct '15