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: U.S. calls for investigation of civilian deaths in Yemen; Russian ambassador holds peace talks; pro-Hadi forces advance in Taiz and Ma’rib governorates

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants take control of Ba’adweyne town in the Mudug region; ISIS releases videos requesting al Shabaab’s allegiance

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price called for an investigation of civilian casualties in Yemen on October 2. He also stated that the U.S. government plays no role in the targeting decisions made by the Saudi-led coalition.[1]
  • The Russian Ambassador to Yemen, Vladimir Dedushkin, is reportedly facilitating negotiations between all parties in the Yemen conflict, including the Saudi-led Arab coalition.[2]
  • Yemeni army and popular resistance forces allied with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi are advancing against al Houthi militias on two major fronts. The pro-Hadi forces are backed by air and ground support from the Saudi-led coalition. In Taiz governorate, pro-Hadi forces are advancing slowly north through the Dhubab region toward the port of al Mokha, following their takeover of the strategic Bab al Mandeb strait on September 30. Popular resistance forces are also clashing with al Houthis along the border of Taiz and Lahij governorates. In Ma’rib governorate, coalition forces seized strategic sites including al Hamra plateau, which is crucial for control of the highway that connects Ma’rib city, Sirwah, and the al Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital, Sana’a.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants seized control of Ba’adweyne town in Mudug region on October 2, after Somalia National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces left the area. The town’s capture has since been confirmed by government officials. It is unknown whether casualties occurred in this attack.[4]
  • The Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) released multiple videos on October 4, calling for al Shabaab to pledge allegiance to organization’s leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. These releases are believed to be related to al Shabaab allegedly arresting five of its foreign members under suspicion of spreading pro-ISIS sentiment within the group.[5] 
[1] “Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on Reports of Civilian Deaths in Yemen,” The White House, October 2, 2015. Available:
[2] Mohammed Albasha, Twitter, October 5, 2015. Available:
[3] Ahmed al Haj, “Fighting Rages on Yemen’s Red Sea Coast,” AP, October 4, 2015. Available:
“Choking of the al Houthis in many regions of Taiz,” Al Masdar, October 3, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
Mohammed Albasha, Twitter, October 5, 2015. Available:
“The army and the resistance control the al Hamra plateau and turn towards al Zour in Ma’rib,” Al Masdar, October 5, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
Mohammed Albasha, Twitter, October 5, 2015. Available:
[4] “Shabaab militants seize two towns in central Somalia,” Somali Agenda, October 3, 2015. Available:
“Shabaab takes two towns in central Somalia,” News 24, October 2, 2015. Available:] 
[5 “Come join the caliphate, ISIS urges al Shabaab,” Al Shahid Network, October 5, 2015. Available:
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