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: Saudi-led coalition continues airstrikes in Sana’a and Ma’rib; Kuwaiti troops prepare for deployment; U.S. airstrike kills AQAP militants

Horn of Africa: Unconfirmed reports of ISIS recruiting from Puntland emerge; al Shabaab claims to have captured the town of Bulo Marer

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Saudi-led coalition continued heavy shelling of Sana’a overnight on September 9, targeting military bases and the homes of al Houthi leaders. Coalition airstrikes also destroyed a “large” al Houthi military site in Ma’rib province. The coalition plans to secure Ma’rib before launching a ground offensive on Sana’a.[1]
  • Kuwaiti and Emirati sources reported on September 9 that Kuwait is preparing ground troops, artillery, and heavy weaponry for deployment to Yemen. If Kuwaiti forces enter Yemen, they will join the recent surge in ground reinforcements that includes new Qatari, Emirati, Sudanese, and Somali forces, as well as the rumored arrival of 800 Egyptian troops.[2]
  • A reported U.S. airstrike targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in the Riyan region near al Mukalla, Hadramawt on September 9. The strike killed between two and four AQAP members, and some sources claim that it also killed up to four civilians.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • There are unconfirmed local reports of approximately 40 youth from Puntland being abducted in the past week by individuals with ties to the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) with the intent of forcing them fight for the militant organization. As of yet, no government sources have confirmed the rumors. Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri mentioned that ISIS had attempted to convince al Shabaab to switch allegiance, but that the effort failed.[4]
  • Radio Andalus, a radio station run by al Shabaab, has claimed that the militant organization captured the town of Bulo Marer in the Lower Shabelle region from AMISOM forces. No official statements on the claim are available at present.[5] 
[1] “Saudi-led air raids hit bases, Houthi leaders’ houses in Yemeni capital,” Reuters, September 10, 2015. Available:
“Saudi-led strikes destroy Houthi site in Marib,” Al Arabiya, September 9, 2015. Available:
[2] “Kuwait begins preparing ground troops for Yemen,” Barakish, September 9, 2015. [Arabic] Available: 
[3] “Source: American drone strike kills two al Qaeda members and four civilians in al Mukalla,” Al Masdar, September 10, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Four al Qaeda members killed in drone attack in al Mukalla,” Nashwan News, September 10, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[4] “ISIL is recruiting in fighters in Puntland,” Hiiraan, September 9, 2015. Available:
Thomas Joscelyn, “Zawahiri Argues Islamic State’s Caliphate is Illegitimate in Newly Released Message,” Long War Journal, September 9, 2015. Available:
[5] “Mujahedeen raid towns, African forces and unbelievers have fled,” Radio Andalus, September 9, 2015. Available:  
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