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: Yemeni forces free Yemeni and foreign hostages; Ansar al Shariah and tribes attack al Houthis in Tha’alib Mountains; Ansar al Shariah plants IED targeting military in Abyan

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militant fighters reportedly join up with AQAP in Yemen; al Shabaab releases last speech from the group’s former leader; Somali speaker of parliament postpones all parliamentary sessions amidst ongoing dispute between the Somali president and prime Minister

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni counter-terrorism forces freed eight hostages, including a Saudi and Ethiopian citizen, near the al Anad air base in Lahij on November 25, killing seven of the abductors during the operation. Militants abducted the eight hostages on November 24 near the al Anad air base in Lahij. It is suspected that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is responsible for the abductions, but no group has claimed responsibility.[1]
  • Ansar al Sharia militants and tribesmen attacked al Houthi militants in Khabza and Dar Aziz near the Tha’alib Mountains in northern al Bayda on November 24, leading to the deaths of at least 20 al Houthis. Ansar al Sharia later claimed credit for the attacks.[2] 
  • Ansar al Sharia detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) on November 24 targeting a military convoy in Wadi Dhiqah, al Mahfad, Abyan. The explosion killed two members of an Abyan Popular Committee accompanying the military.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unconfirmed sources reported that two dozen al Shabaab militants traveled to Yemen to fight alongside AQAP on November 25. Yemeni security officials placed security forces along the coast on high alert after reports of al Shabaab militants planning to enter the country.[4]  
  • The publishers of “Gaidi Mtaani” (Terrorism Street), a pro-al Shabaab magazine, released a fifth edition of the magazine featuring the final speech of former al Shabaab emir Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair.[5] 
  • Somali National Assembly Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari announced the suspension of all parliamentary sessions due to the ongoing political dispute between the Somali prime minister and president over cabinet appointments. The announcement follows another failed attempt by parliament to hold a vote on confidence in the prime minister on November 24.[6]

Correction: The original Security Review stated that a U.S. military trainer was abducted on November 25. This was incorrect. The current Security Review has been corrected.

[1] “Eight hostages, including a foreigner, freed, seven abductors killed in pre-dawn raid on al Qaeda hideout,” Saba News, November 25, 2014. Available:
“Yemeni forces free eight hostages, kill seven kidnappers,” Reuters, November 25, 2014. Available:
“Yemen: raid free eight hostages, including US serviceman,” BBC, November 25, 2014. Available:
Tweet from Mohammed Albasha, Twitter, November 25, 2014. Available: 
[2] “After al Houthis and tribes fail to agree, negotiations reach a deadlock, dozens dead and wounded as tribes attack al Houthis in Khabza and Rada’a,” Akbhar al Yom, November 25, 2014[Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Al-Shabaab joins Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” Mustaqbal Radio, November 25, 2014. Available:
“Yemen special forces free US soldier seized by Qaeda,” AFP, November 25, 2014. Available:
[5] “Shabaab Supporters Release “Special Edition” of Gaidi Mtaani Magazine Featuring Last Speech of Former Shabaab Leader,” SITE Intel. Group, November 24, 2014. Available at SITE.
[6] “SOMALIA: Speaker of the Parliament announces the postponement of all Parliament sessions due to the political rift,” RBC Radio, November 24, 2014. Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Dec '14
Nov '14
Oct '14