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: ISIS launches SVEST and VBIED attacks on a mosque in Sana’a; President Obama will discuss Yemen with Saudi King Salman

Horn of Africa: Search and rescue operations underway after Janale base attack; AMISOM sources say severity of attack is due to lack of support resources; Ugandan official responds to Janale casualties

Yemen Security Brief

  • ISIS Wilayat Sana’a claimed credit for a dual bombing at an al Houthi-run mosque in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a on September 2.  One suicide bomber detonated a suicide vest (SVEST) in the al Muayid mosque, causing the first explosion, and was followed by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) that targeted emergency responders at the scene. Al Houthi-controlled media reported that the blast killed 28 and wounded 75. The casualties purportedly include a number of al Houthi fighters as well as a prominent member of Yemen’s Islah party, Ali al Mashraqi. ISIS Wilayat Sana’a released a statement identifying the suicide bomber as Qusay al Sana’ani and characterizing the attack as “revenge for the Muslims” and targeting the al Houthis, whom ISIS considers polytheists.[1]
  • Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud will meet with President Obama in Washington, DC on September 4. White House officials say that the president will address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, as well as exhort all participants in the conflict to avoid further civilian casualties. White House spokesman Josh Earnest also said that the two leaders will discuss “steps to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.”[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A search is underway for African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers that are unaccounted for following the September 1 attack on the Janale military base by al Shabaab militants. Anonymous military sources put the number of missing soldiers at over 60.[3]
  • AMISOM officials claimed that the lack of air and artillery support were a primary factor in the severity of the attack on the Janale base. The report states that cloud cover prevented the use of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Additionally, ground support assets, such as tanks and artillery, were deployed elsewhere at the time of the attack.[4]
  • Colonel Paddy Ankunda, a spokesperson for the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) stated that 12 Ugandan soldiers were among the victims killed in the Janale base attack. Col. Ankunda called the attack a “game changer” and stated that “al Shabaab can only expect an appropriate response from the UPDF. Western sources put the death toll for Ugandan troops higher, between 20 and 50.[5]
[1]“Islamic State claims bomb attack on Yemeni mosque, 28 reported dead,” Reuters, September 2, 2015. Available:
“Prominent leader from the Islah party killed in explosion at al Muayid mosque in Sana'a and the party condemns the action,” Barakish, September 2, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“IS Sana’a Province Claims Suicide Bombing, Car Blast at Shi’ite Mosque in Yemeni Capital,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 2, 2015. Source available upon request.
[2] “Obama to discuss Yemen humanitarian situation with Saudi king: White House,” Reuters, September 2, 2015. Available:
“Saudi King Salman to meet Obama at White House on September 4,” Reuters, August 27, 2015. Available:
[3] “Somalia: AMISOM hunts for troops missing after al-Shabaab attack,” Horseed Media, September 2, 2015. Available: 
[4] “Al-Shabaab attack on Somalia AU base kills 50 Ugandan troops, another 50 missing: Western Sources,” AFP, September 2, 2015. Available:
[5] “Uganda: Al-Shabaab Somalia Attack “A Game Changer” – UPDF,” The Observer, September 3, 2015. Available:
“'At least 50 dead' in Shebab attack on AU base: Western sources,” AFP, September 2, 2015. Available:
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