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: al Houthi-Saleh forces destroy bridges before coalition-backed attack in al Rahidah, Taiz governorate; President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi visits al Anad airbase in Lahij governorate; popular resistance forces ambush al Houthi-Saleh reinforcements in Ibb governorate

Horn of Africa: IED blast hits KDF vehicle near Hulugho, northeastern Kenya; Somali pirates hijack an Iranian fishing vessel off the coast of Eyl, Nugal region; al Shabaab clashes with civilians in Wargadude, Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni army units and popular resistance fighters backed by the Saudi-led coalition clashed with al Houthi-Saleh militias in Taiz governorate in central Yemen on November 23. Coalition-backed forces advanced near the Taiz-Lahij border and just south of al Rahidah, Taiz governorate’s second largest city. Al Houthi forces destroyed bridges along several roads leading into al Rahidah, slowing the coalition’s advance. Al Houthi landmines have also impeded the coalition’s progress in Taiz.[1]
  • Exiled Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi visited al Anad airbase in Lahij governorate in southern Yemen on November 24. President Hadi arrived in Aden city, the coalition-held coastal city located south of al Anad, on November 17 for his first visit to Yemen since September. A large contingent from Yemen’s Fourth Military District accompanied President Hadi on his trip to al Anad, which was recently rebuilt by the Saudi-led coalition. Emirati-trained Yemeni pilots began flying airstrike missions from al Anad at the end of October.[2]
  • Popular resistance forces ambushed al Houthi-Saleh reinforcements on their way to Taiz in Ibb governorate, northeast of Taiz, on November 24. Resistance forces reportedly killed ten of the al Houthi-Saleh militia and halted their advance.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • An improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) personnel within Kenyan borders detonated on November 23 near Hulugho, Garissa County. The blast occurred when a KDF armored personnel carrier (APC) on a patrol struck the IED. Al Shabaab claimed credit for the attack and said that it killed eight KDF soldiers and destroyed the APC. A KDF spokesperson refuted al Shabaab’s claim, saying that only three soldiers were wounded.[4] 
  • Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel on November 22 off the coast of Eyl, Nugal region. The pirates are believed to be holding 15 crew members hostage.  The pirates reportedly attacked a Thai fishing vessel on the same day, but the ship escaped.  Puntland anti-piracy officials have since confirmed the Iranian vessel’s hijacking.[5] 
  • Al Shabaab militants clashed with civilians on November 24 in Wargadude village, Gedo region. The militants attempted to illegally tax villagers but the residents resisted, leading to a clash. A police official stated that the villagers drove the militants out of the village.[6] 
[1] “Rebels blow up bridges to hamper advance by Yemen loyalists,” Daily Star, November 24, 2015. Available:
“For the first time since Decisive Storm began.. Yemeni pilots bomb al Houthi targets in Taiz and Ma’rib,” al Masdar, October 29, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[2] “President Hadi visits al Anad airbase,” Barakish, November 24, 2015. Available:
[3] “10 al Houthis and Saleh supporters killed in Ibb as reinforcements on their way to Taiz,” El Maam, November 24, 2015. Available:
[4] “Three Kenyan soldiers wounded in blast claimed by al Shabaab,” Reuters, November 23, 2015. Available:
“Kenyan forces targeted in landmine attack in North Eastern,” Wacaal Media, November 23, 2015. Available:
“Al Shabaab claims killing 8 KDF soldiers in IED attack near Somali-Kenyan border,” Shabelle News November 24, 2015. Available:
[5] Abdiqani Hassan, “Somali pirates hijack Iranian fishing vessel with 15 crew, says official,” Reuters, November 23, 2015. Available:
Robyn Kriel and Briana Duggan, “Somali pirates seize Iranian, Thai ships,” CNN, November 24, 2105. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Al Shabaab and residents battle in Gedo region,” Shabelle News, November 24, 2015. Available:
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