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: UN Special Envoy to Yemen arrives in Tehran; Bahraini troops arrive in Aden; ISIS videos target AQAP; clashes kill Ansar al Sharia leader in Dhubab, Taiz

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attempt to infiltrate Kenyan military base in Garissa County, Kenya; KDF forces recover arms cache in Lamu County, Kenya; al Shabaab kills Puntland security officer in Galkayo, Mudug region, Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed arrived in Tehran on November 18. He will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss recent developments in the Yemen conflict. The UN plans to hold peace talks later this month between President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Riyadh-backed government and the Zaydi Shi’a al Houthi movement, which is nominally supported by Tehran.[1]
  • Bahraini troops arrived in Aden city in southern Yemen on November 18. The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has increased its ground presence in Yemen over the last week, with Sudanese infantry units mobilizing in Lahij and Taiz and Emirati special forces arriving in Aden.[2]
  • Syria-based ISIS Wilayat al Khayr released a video entitled “Message to al Qaeda in Yemen: Oh, al Qaeda in Yemen, to where are you going?” on November 16. The video accuses al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) of straying from its mission to fight tyranny in the Middle East and calls on AQAP to join ISIS in its fight. Iraq-based ISIS Wilayat Ninawa also released a video addressing AQAP.[3]
  • Clashes in Dhubab, a coastal region in Taiz governorate in southern Yemen, killed an AQAP-affiliated Ansar al Sharia commander on November 18, 2015. Ansar al Sharia militants are fighting alongside anti-al Houthi popular resistance forces in Taiz and al Bayda governorates and may benefit from the coalition-backed push against the al Houthis in Taiz.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Two suspected al Shabaab militants attempted to gain entry to a Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) military camp on November 17 in Garissa County, Kenya. The militants opened fire on guards who tried to question them, leading to a clash. One gunman was injured and subsequently arrested, while the other escaped. KDF forces did not sustain casualties in the clash.[5]
  • KDF forces cleared an al Shabaab hideout and seized an arms cache on November 16 in Lamu, Lamu County, Kenya. KDF forces recovered six automatic rifles and ammunition, likely stolen by al Shabaab militants during earlier raids on villages in Lamu County.  The KDF conducted the raid as part of the ongoing Operation “Linda Boni,” which aims to clear al Shabaab from the Boni forest region along the Kenyan-Somali border.[6] 
  • Al Shabaab gunmen killed a Puntland security officer on November 17 in Galkayo, Mudug region, Somalia. Two al Shabaab militants shot the victim at his home. Al Shabaab claimed that the victim was an intelligence officer who had received training outside of Somalia.[7] 
[1] “UN Envoy for Yemen arrives in Tehran,” Mehr News Agency, November 18, 2015. Available:
“Ould Cheikh arrives in Tehran to discuss the crisis in Yemen,” Barakish, November 18, 2015. Available:
[2] “Bahraini force arrives in Aden,” Barakish, November 18, 2015. Available:
[4] “Al Qaeda leader killed during clashes in Dhubab,” 7adramout, November 18, 2015. Available:
[5] “Shabaab suspect injured in shootout as he tries to enter Garissa KDF camp,” Daily Nation, November 17, 2015. Available:
 “Kenya issues statement on attempted attack on Garissa by Al-Shabaab,” Shabelle News, November 18, 2015. Available:
[6] “Kenyan police destroy Al-Shabaab hideouts, seize guns in vase forest,” Xinhua, November 16, 2015. Available:
Joseph Muraya, “6 rifles stolen during Mpeketoni attack recovered,” Capital News, November 16, 2015. Available:
[7] “Al-Shabaab kills Puntland security officer in Galkayo,” Wacaal Media, November 17, 2015. Available:
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