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:  Ansar al Sharia conducts attacks in al Bayda governorate; Geneva peace talks delayed; al Houthi forces kill three Saudi border guards near Sa’ada governorate; popular resistance and coalition-backed forces clash with pro- al Houthi fighters in al Bayda governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants temporarily seize Konton village, northeastern Kenya; unidentified military jets bomb al Shabaab targets in Hiraan region; Iranian hostages escape from pirates in Haradhere, Mudug region; Galmudug forces capture checkpoint from Puntland forces in Galkayo, Mudug region; Al Shabaab militants attack SNA base in Garasweyne, Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Ansar al Sharia, the insurgent arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), conducted nearly a dozen attacks on al Houthi forces in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen from November 18 to November 30. Most of the operations involved improvised explosive devices (IEDs), but Ansar al Sharia militants also engaged al Houthi forces on the ground. AQAP militants are fighting alongside anti-al Houthi popular resistance forces throughout central Yemen, and AQAP maintains tied to tribal militias in al Bayda.[1]
  • An anonymous official in Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government blamed the al Houthis for delaying the start of UN-led Geneva peace talks, saying that the al Houthis are reluctant to accept the peace terms. The same official denied rumors that the talks would begin on December 13.[2]
  • Al Houthi forces in Sa’ada governorate in northern Yemen crossed the Saudi border and attacked two watchtowers on November 30. The attackers killed three Saudi border guards. Fighting along the Saudi-Yemeni border has killed several dozen Saudi soldiers this year.[3]
  • Popular resistance and coalition-backed forces fought al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Dhaleh governorate in central Yemen on November 29-30. The fighting killed 12 al Houthi combatants and four popular resistance combatants. Both sides remain engaged along established battle lines throughout southern and central Yemen.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants crossed into Kenya on November 27 and temporarily captured Konton village, Wajir County. Approximately one dozen militants entered the village, raised al Shabaab’s flag in the town, and lectured the villagers for about one hour. The militants reportedly left the village and crossed back into Somalia before Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) were able to reach the town.[5]
  • Unidentified military jets bombed multiple al Shabaab targets on November 29 in Somalia’s central Hiraan region. The airstrikes targeted the al Shabaab-controlled villages of Yasooman, Ceeldheer, and Ceel Lahelay. African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) officials confirmed the airstrikes but did not state who conducted them.[6]
  • A crew of Iranian citizens held captive by Somali pirates escaped on November 29 off the coast of Haradhere, Mudug region. Local witness reports indicate that parties exchanged gunfire on the captured ship, and that the ship has since left the area. The clash killed at least three pirates. It is unclear if international anti-piracy forces facilitated the rescue, or if the hostages freed themselves.[7]
  • Galmudug State forces captured a security checkpoint manned by Puntland forces on November 28 in Galkayo, Mudug region. The checkpoint’s capture is part of ongoing hostilities between the Galmudug and Puntland administrations that began on November 22 in the dual-administered city of Galkayo. Somali federal and regional officials have since condemned the violence and are holding mediation talks in the city.[8]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base on November 30 in Garasweyne, Lower Shabelle region. SNA forces successfully repulsed the attack and launched a counterattack. Four militants were killed and three SNA personnel sustained minor injuries.[9]
[1] Pro-AQAP Twitter accounts. Sources available upon request.
[2] “Source: Geneva talks delayed between government and rebels,” Al Masdar, November 30, 2015. Available:
[3] “Three Saudi border guards killed in attack from Yemen,” Reuters, November 30, 2015. Available:
[4] “16 dead in fighting for south Yemen province,” Arab News, November 29, 2015. Available:
[5] “Al-Shabaab militants storm Kenyan village,” Xinhua, November 28, 2015. Available:
“Al Shabaab militants repulsed in Wajir raid,” Shabelle News, November 30, 2015. Available:
[6] “Unidentified military jets bomb on Al Shabaab bases in Hiraan region,” Shabelle News, November 29, 2015. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Crew of Iranian Boat hijacked by Somali pirates have been freed,” AFP, November 29, 2015. Available:
“Crew of hijacked Iranian fishing boat kill their captors off Somalia coast,” Shabelle News, November 29, 2015. Available:
[8] “BREAKING: Galmudug forces take base from Puntland,” Shabelle News, November 28, 2015. Available:
“Jubbaland and Puntland heads of State arrives in Galkayo for mediation talks,” Wacaal Media, November 30, 2015. Available:
“Somali PM leads efforts to find lasting peace in Galkayo following fighting,” Shabelle News, November 30, 2015. Available:
[9] “Three soldiers sustain injures in Al Shabaab attack on army base,” Shabelle News, November 30, 2015. Available:
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