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: Airstrike kills AQAP and Ansar al Sharia leadership in al Bayda; U.S. offers asks former President Saleh to leave Yemen; al Houthi militants gain control of territory in Ibb; former Vice President of Democratic Republic of Yemen returns to Aden

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED in Kenya’s North Eastern Province; UN expresses concern over feud between Somali PM and Presidnet; suspected al Shabaab militants assassinate businessman in Bari region; unidentified gunmen assassinate Muslim cleric in Kenya’s Coast Province; Somali security forces conduct security operation in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • An alleged November 4 U.S. airstrike in al Bayda killed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader, Shawki al Badani, and Ansar al Sharia commander of al Bayda, Nabil al Dahab, along with three other militants. Al Badani was a State Department specially designated terrorist and had a role in plotting a summer 2013 attack that lead the U.S. to close 19 diplomatic posts across the Middle East.[1]
  • The United States reportedly told Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh on November 5 to leave Yemen by November 7 or face sanctions from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) due to his involvement in supporting the al Houthi revolution. Saleh rejected the United States’ request and told his followers to prepare for all possibilities. The US embassy in Sana’a denied issuing any such ultimatum. Additionally, the UNSC has reportedly readied sanctions against Saleh, as well as al Houthi leaders Abdul Malik al Houthi and Abdullah Yahya al Hakim.[2]
  • Al Houthi militants gained control of Udain City, Ibb, 175 km south of Sana’a, on November 5 after fighting with Ansar al Sharia militants. No casualties were reported in the incident.[3]
  • Thousands of Southern Movement supporters gathered at Aden International Airport to support the return of former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of Yemen and Southern Movement leader Abdulrahman al Jifri in Aden on November 5. Al Jifri has recently renewed his calls for the South’s independence.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) near a convoy of the Mandera county commissioner in Mandera in Kenya’s North Eastern Province on November 5. The explosion resulted in no casualties.[5]
  • The UN Special Envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay publicly condemned the Somali Federal Government on November 3 for allegations of bribing parliamentarians for votes. Representative Kay additionally stated his concern over tensions between President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed after reports that the two have openly feuded since a cabinet shuffle was rejected by President Mohamud on October 27.[6]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants shot and killed a well-known businessman in Boossaso, Bari region before fleeing the scene on November 4. The motives behind the attack remain unknown.[7]
  • Unidentified gunmen assassinated a Muslim cleric outside a mosque in the Likoni area of Mombasa in Kenya’s Coast Province on November 4. The cleric was known to have supported efforts to fight the radicalization of youth in the region.[8]
  • Somali security forces conducted a security operation in Mogadishu targeting al Shabaab militants hiding in the capital on November 5. Government forces reportedly arrested 82 suspected militants and seized guns, grenades, and explosives.[9]

[1] Drone strike ‘kills Yemen al Qaeda officials,’” al Jazeera, November 5, 2014. Available:
“Senior al Qaeda operative ‘killed’ in U.S. strike in Yemen,” al Arabiya, November 5, 2014. Available:
[2] “Yemen’s ex-president says U.S. has told him to leave or face sanctions,” Reuters, November 5, 2014. Available:
“Former president rejects US request to leave the country and calls on his followers to prepare for all possibilities,” al Masdar, November 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“The US Embassy in Sana’a denies “Masdar Online” reports that it demanded Saleh to depart from Yemen,” al Masdar, November 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“UN poised to slap sanctions on former Yemen strongman,” Yahoo News, November 5, 2014. Available:
“Special committee to discuss the sanctions in Yemen to take effect against the former president and two al Houthi leaders,” al Masdar, November 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Al Houthis control Udain after the withdrawal of al Qaeda militants and are setting up checkpoints in the streets,” al Masdar, November 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Happening now: thousands of sons of the South greet al Jafari leadership after years of absence,” Aden al Ghad, November 5, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Mandera county commissioner survives twin explosive attack,” Bar Kulan, November 5, 2014. Available:
“Explosion in Mandera town injures two people,” Goobjoog, November 5, 2014. Available:
[6] Drazen Jorgic, “Somalia donors warn spat between president and PM risks recovery,” Reuters, November 3, 2014. Available:
Abdi Guled and Jason Straziuso, “UN Tells Somalia to Quit Paying for Votes,” AP, November 3, 2014. Available:
[7] Somalia: gunmen kill renowned businessman in Bossaso port city,” Garowe Online, November 4, 2014. Available:
“Somalia: Unknown gunmen shot dead Prominent Businessman in Bossaso,” Mareeg, November 5, 2014. Available:
[8] Joseph Burite, “Kenyan Muslim Cleric Gunned Down in Coastal City of Mombasa,” Bloomberg News, November 5, 2014. Available:
“Pro-government Kenyan Muslim cleric shot dead in Mombasa,”
[9] “Government troops Seize weapons after Operations in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog, November 5, 2014. Available:
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