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: Suspected AQAP militants detonate SVBIED at intelligence building in al Hudaydah city; coalition deploys missile defense systems in Ma’rib and Aden; coalition airstrike targets Yemeni speaker of parliament; the battle for Taiz intensifies

Horn of Africa: KDF and Jubbaland security forces rescue kidnapped NGO worker in Dhagaha, Lower Jubba region; grenade detonates at police station in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region; gunmen in SNA uniforms rape and rob stopped passengers at illegal roadblocks near Mareeray, Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked an intelligence building al Hudaydah, a Red Sea port city on October 16. The militants reportedly detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) at the rear of the building while attacking its front gate with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The attack killed 10 soldiers and two militants.[1]
  • Saudi-led coalition forces are setting up Patriot missile defense systems in Ma’rib and Aden. The coalition intercepted a Scud ballistic missile fired by al Houthi forces toward Ma’rib governorate on October 15, according to reports. Pro-al Houthi media sources reported that the al Houthis also launched a Katyusha rocket attack on a coalition military base in Ma’rib. On September 4, an SS-21 “Scarab” missile struck a weapons cache at a coalition base in Ma’rib and killed more than 50 coalition soldiers.[2]
  • Coalition airstrikes targeted the house of Yemen’s speaker of parliament in Dhamar governorate, central Yemen on October 16, killing his son and an aide. The coalition is currently targeting influential politicians, according to reports.[3]
  • Clashes intensified between popular resistance forces and al Houthi militias in the streets of Taiz city, central Yemen. Anti-al Houthi forces have been trying to recapture the city for months, and recently took control of the city’s center, which is under siege by al Houthi militias. AQAP militants are reportedly fighting alongside popular resistance forces against the al Houthis in Taiz.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Joint Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) and Jubbaland security forces rescued a Kenyan non-governmental organization (NGO) worker who was kidnapped by suspected al Shabaab militants on October 12, from the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. The rescue operation occurred on October 16 in Dhagaha town, located within Somalia’s Lower Jubba region. After receiving a tip-off from local residents, KDF and Jubbaland security forces raided the house and successfully rescued the kidnap victim, killing four militants in the process.[5]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants threw a grenade at a police headquarters building in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region, on October 15. The grenade successfully detonated, although casualty figures for the attack are currently unavailable.[6]
  • Unidentified gunmen wearing Somali National Army (SNA) robbed and raped five bus passengers on October 16, along the road near Mareeray town in the Lower Shabelle region, according to reports. Drivers reported that individuals dressed in SNA uniforms frequently set up illegal checkpoints along the roads in the region and demand money from people passing by, despite SNA efforts to clear the checkpoints.[7]

[1] “Suicide bombing, gunbattle kills 12 in western Yemen: security sources,” Reuters, October 16, 2015. Available:
[2] Mohammed bin Khaled, Twitter, October 15, 2015. Available:
Mohammed Albasha, Twitter, October 15, 2015. Available:
“Arrival of heavy military equipment to Ma’rib,” Barakish, October 15, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Bombings of al Houthi sites in al Jawf and interception of a ballistic missile in Ma’rib,” Al Wahdawi, October 15, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Military source: Army and popular committee's missiles target enemies' base in Ma'rib,” Saba News, October 15, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[3] “Suicide bombing, gunbattle kills 12 in western Yemen: security sources,” Reuters, October 16, 2015. Available:
“The coalition targets the house of Yahya al Raei, killing his son and office director,” Al Masdar, October 16, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[4] Mohammed Albasha, Twitter, October 15, 2015. Available:
“Street war near Saleh's house in Taiz,”, October 15, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
Michelle Ghabrial, “Yemen conflict: How al-Qaeda is thriving in the nation’s civil war,” Independent, October 12, 2015. Available:
[5] “KDF and Jubbaland forces free kidnapped Kenyan teacher in Somalia operation,” Shabelle News, October 16, 2015. Available:
“Jubbaland forces free Kenyan teacher abducted from Dadaab refugee camp,” Wacaal Media, October 16, 2015. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Grenade bomb blast targets police station in Jowhar town,” Shabelle News, October 16, 2015. Available:
[7] “Five female passengers raped in Lower Shabelle,” Goobjoog News, October 16, 2015. Available:
“Women raped near Afgooye in Lower shabelle region,” Wacaal News, October 16, 2015. Available:
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