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: Al Houthi-Saleh forces kill five Sudanese soldiers at Jebel Nar, western Taiz governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces fire ballistic missile toward Hadi government forces near Jebel Nar, Taiz governorate; AQAP seizes al Houthi-Saleh positions in al Bayda governorate; al Hizam commander in southwestern Abyan governorate resigns over unpaid salaries

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab intensifies Mogadishu campaign in response to anticipated expansion of U.S. and Somali operations; KDF airstrikes target al Shabaab camp in Gedo region, southwestern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi-Saleh forces killed five Sudanese soldiers, including one officer, during the fight for control of Jebel Nar area in Mokha district, Taiz governorate. A spokesman for the Sudanese armed forces announced the casualties on April 12. Hadi government forces seized Jebel Nar on April 11 after roughly forty days of conflict. Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi sent his condolences to Sudanese President Omar al Bashir and thanked him for Sudan’s assistance in combat operations. Approximately six thousand Sudanese soldiers are participating in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.[1] 

Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a “Qaher-M2” ballistic missile from Ibb governorate toward Hadi government forces near Jebel Nar in Mokha district on April 12. Saudi-led coalition air defense systems intercepted the missile over Mawza district, Taiz governorate.[2]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen, on April 12. AQAP militants seized al Houthi-Saleh positions in al ‘Abil village, northwest al Bayda, overnight.[3]

The Hadi government’s failure to pay the salaries of security forces is compromising counterterrorism operations in southern Yemen. The commander of Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces in Khanfir and Zinjibar, southwestern Abyan governorate, resigned in protest over his troops’ unpaid salaries on April 12. Al Hizam forces are responsible for security and counterterrorism in areas administered by the Hadi government. The last al Hizam commander in Abyan resigned on April 5, citing the inability of local commanders to coordinate.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab released a statement that characterized recent attacks in Mogadishu as a “proactive step” against the anticipated expansion of U.S. and Somali military operations in Somalia. The statement said that al Shabaab’s increased operational tempo is a response to Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s declaration of war on April 6. Al Shabaab also referred to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to ease restrictions on U.S. military operations in Somalia on March 30. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for two suicide attacks in Mogadishu on April 9 and 10. One of the attacks targeted the convoy of new Somali National Army commander, General Mohamed Ahmed Jimale Arfid. Al Shabaab has intensified a campaign of mass-casualty attacks in Mogadishu since President Farmajo’s election in February 2017.[5] 

Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) warplanes struck an al Shabaab camp in Tamtama village in Gedo region, southwestern Somalia, on April 11. Gedo region officials confirmed that the airstrike killed several al Shabaab militants. KDF forces have expanded military operations against al Shabaab militants along the Kenyan-Somali border since al Shabaab killed at least 60 Kenyan soldiers in an attack in Kolbio, Lower Jubba region, on January 27, 2017.[6]

[1] “Five Sudanese Soldiers Killed in Yemen Conflict,” Reuters, April 12, 2017,; “Breaking: 5 Martyrs fall in the battle to liberate Jebel Nar in Mokha,” Aden Lange, April 12, 2017, ; “President Hadi sends a condolence telegram to his Sudanese counterpart over martyrdom of soldiers in Yemen,” Aden Tomorrow, April 12, 2017,; and “Sudan begins second phase of military involvement in Yemen,” Aden Tomorrow, April 12, 2017,
[2] “Qaher-M2 fired toward invasion forces near Mokha,” al Masirah, April 12, 2017,; and “Coalition defenses intercept ballistic missile fired at Mokha,” Aden Tomorrow, April 12, 2017,
[3] AQAP claims its militants stormed al Houthi-Saleh positions in al ‘Amil, al Bayda governorate, Telegram, April 12.
[4] Al Syed announces his resignation from al Hizam security in Abyan and reveals reasons,” Aden Tomorrow, April 12, 2017,
[5] “Shabaab Calls Its Recent Attacks Countermeasures To Intensified Pressure From Somali, U.S. Governments,” SITE Intelligence, April 11, 2017,
[6] “Kenyan jets bomb al Shabaab base in Gedo region,” Garowe Online, April 11, 2017,
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