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: Russian plane lands in Sana’a; al Houthi shelling kills civilians in Taiz city; cyclone forces evacuations in Abyan governorate; Saudi ambassador to UN expresses optimism for peace talks

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants conduct drive-by shooting in Beled Hawo, Gedo region; Galmudug security forces rescue four Iranian hostages from pirates in Mudug region; unidentified assailants throw grenade into government official’s home in Bardhere, Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Russian cargo plane landed at Sana’a International Airport on November 5 carrying 23 tons of food and humanitarian aid. Russia last delivered aid to Sana’a in July. The Russian plane broke the Saudi-led coalition’s no-fly zone in Yemen. It will also evacuate 75 Russian nationals from Sana’a. Airport officials reported that an Emirati plane carrying Doctors Without Borders supplies also landed in Sana’a this week, as did aircraft carrying UN and Red Cross aid shipments.[1]  
  • Pro-al Houthi shelling killed 11 civilians and wounded 21 others in besieged Taiz city on November 4. The shelling hit residential neighborhoods in al Jahmiliya and ‘Usayfarah in south central Taiz, as well as al Rawdah in north central Taiz. Additional al Houthi shelling killed four children in the al Sayna neighborhood in western Taiz city on November 5.[2]
  • Rising sea levels caused by Cyclone Chapala forced approximately 28 families to evacuate from coastal areas near Zinjibar in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen. Officials warned that the storm will continue to bring heavy rain and floods as it moves inland toward Yemen’s mountainous regions. Chapala has displaced at least 40,000 people from Yemen’s coastal areas and the island of Socotra, according to the UN.[3]
  • The Saudi ambassador to the UN, Abdallah al Mouallimi, said on November 4 that he is “optimistic” that peace talks will take place this month. Al Mouallimi said that the al Houthis had attempted to circumvent UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which requires them to withdraw from seized territory, but that they had “recently backed down.” Yemeni ambassador to the UN Khaled Alyemany said that the UN will finalize the agenda for peace talks this week.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants killed six people and wounded a dozen more on November 5 in a drive-by shooting that took place in Beled Hawo, Gedo region. Militants opened fire on soldiers at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the city and then made their way deeper into the town where they attacked a police station. Local reports indicate that the militants died when their vehicle crashed as they were fleeing the scene. Additionally, the vehicle used in the attack is reported to have been the same vehicle militants hijacked on November 3 in Tolo-barwaqo.[5]
  • Galmudug security forces rescued four foreign hostages in operations against Somali pirates in an unspecified location along the coast of Somalia’s central Mudug region. The hostages are Iranian fishermen who had been held for ten months prior to their rescue. Operations are currently underway to locate and rescue an additional nine foreign hostages believed to still be held by the pirates.[6] 
  • Unidentified assailants threw a grenade at a city official’s house on November 5 in Bardhere, Gedo region. The grenade detonated in the house, but failed to inflict any casualties. Body guards at the house responded and opened fire on the attackers who then fled the scene.[7] 
[1] “Yemen.. Russian aid plan lands in Sana’a airport,” Khabar Agency, November 5, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Russia sends plane carrying ‘humanitarian aid’ to Yemen,” AFP, November 5, 2015. Available:
Mohammed Albasha, Twitter, November 5, 2015. Available: 
[2] “Sieges and massacres.. death and injury of dozens of civilians in al Houthi shelling on residential neighborhoods in Taiz,” Al Masdar, November 5, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Medical source: four children killed by al Houthi shelling in Taiz and other civilians injured,” Al Masdar, November 5, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[3] “Evacuation of residents in the coastal village of Hassan in Abyan after rising sea levels,” Barakish, November 5, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Aid rushed to Yemen island after cyclone displaces over 40,000: U.N.,” Reuters, November 4, 2015. Available:
[4] “Saudi U.N. envoy optimistic about Yemen talks,” AFP, November 5, 2015. Available:
[5] “6 killed in a drive-by-shooting by Al shabaab Beled-Hawo city,” Shabelle News, November 5, 2015. Available:
“Death toll rises in Baladhawo Al-Shabaab attack,” Wacaal Media, November 5, 2015. Available:
[6] “Galmudud State launches operation against pirates, to free hostages,” Shabelle News, November 5, 2015. Available:
“The security administration redeemed foreigners kidnapped,” Radio Muqdisho, [Somali] Available:
Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 5, 2015. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Huge explosion heard in Bardere town,” Shabelle News, November 4, 2015. Available:
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