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 launches airstrikes on al Houthi-Saleh missile base outside Sana’a and intercepts al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile in Ma’rib; coalition airstrikes kill AQAP militants and destroy military equipment in Abyan and Lahij governorates; pro-Hadi security forces arrest AQAP cell leader reportedly responsible for string of assassinations in Aden

Horn of Africa: AMISOM troops clash with local militias in Marka, Lower Shabelle region; militias clash in Adado, Galgudud region

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes on an al Houthi-Saleh missile base in Attan west of Sana’a on April 14. The airstrikes are the first reported since the beginning of the UN-sponsored ceasefire of April 10. Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a ballistic missile towards coalition-backed forces in Ma’rib on April 14, but coalition air defenses intercepted it with a Patriot missile. This is the second reported al Houthi-Saleh missile launch since the beginning of the ceasefire. Neither coalition nor al Houthi-Saleh officials have commented on the strikes. Neither side has formally canceled the ceasefire, despite reports of clashes and strikes on multiple fronts.[1]
  • Reported coalition airstrikes targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militant positions in al Koud, Abyan governorate on April 13 and al Hawta, Lahij governorate on April 13 and 14. The strikes on al Koud reportedly killed at least 10 militants, while strikes on al Hawta destroyed armored vehicles and other military machinery. The Saudi-led coalition recently expanded its air campaign on AQAP targets in southern and eastern Yemen.[2]
  • Aden security forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi claimed to arrest the leader of an AQAP cell in Abyan governorate. Helmi al Zinji reportedly headed an AQAP cell based in al Mansoura district, Aden, and was responsible for several high-profile assassinations, including the assassination of former Aden governor Jaafar Mohammad Saad, according to pro-Hadi security officials. Popular resistance forces in Abyan assisted in the arrest, which took place in March. Al Zinji reportedly fled al Mansoura for Lahij governorate and then Abyan, following a coalition-backed clearing operation in al Mansoura in mid-March.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops clashed with local militiamen in the port city of Marka in Lower Shabelle region on April 14. Residents reported that the AMISOM forces and militiamen argued about the establishment of an illegal vehicle checkpoint before a firefight broke out, injuring three civilians. It is unclear which party was operating the checkpoint. Al Shabaab was not involved in this incident, but the group is active in the vicinity of Marka and seized the city briefly in early February 2016.[4]
  • Militiamen working for two qat traders skirmished at the airport in Adado in Galgudud region on April 13. Galmudug state officials and local clan elders mediated a truce between the two forces.[5]
[1] “The coalition strikes Fajj Attan this morning,” Barakish, April 14, 2016,; and “Second ‘ballistic’ missile launched by the al Houthis toward Ma’rib since the beginning of the ceasefire,” Al Masdar, April 14, 2016,
[2] Ahmed Al-Haj, “Saudi-led coalition targets al-Qaida stronghold south Yemen,” Associated Press, April 13, 2016,; and “Apache launches series of strikes on al Qaeda positions in al Hawta,” Barakish, April 14, 2016,
[3] “Security forces in Aden nail assassination squad,” Gulf News, April 14, 2016,
[4] “Somalia: 3 people injured in Marko fighting,” Shabelle News, April 14,2016,
[5] “Calm returns to Adado following airport skirmish,” Shabelle News, April 14, 2016,  
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