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-GPC delegation not yet present at Kuwait talks; Turkish government freezes former president Saleh’s assets; local ceasefire signed and possibly violated in al Bayda

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab detonates IED targeting Ethiopian AMISOM convoy in Bay region; AMISOM and SNA troops raid al Shabaab bases in Budbud and Ulo Jarad villages, Galgudud region; Jabha East Africa acknowledges Puntland pro-ISIS cell

Yemen Security Brief

  • Delegates representing the al Houthis and the General People’s Congress party (GPC), led by former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, remain absent from UN-led peace talks in Kuwait and were reportedly still in Muscat, Oman as of the morning of April 21, though they may now be en route to Kuwait. Representatives from President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government stated that if the al Houthi-GPC delegation does not arrive by April 21, their delegation will leave Kuwait, abandoning talks that were scheduled to begin on April 18.[1]
  • The Turkish government ordered Turkish banks and other financial institutions to freeze the assets of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh on April 20 in compliance with a UN Security Council decision. Saleh is believed to have accumulated up to $60 billion in assets, approximately the same amount as Yemen’s annual GDP, and has reportedly safeguarded these assets in at least 20 countries.[2]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces and popular resistance militias signed a ceasefire agreement in al Bayda governorate on April 20. The al Houthi-Saleh forces reportedly fired rockets into al Hibaj and al Zahar districts a few hours after the agreement was signed, according to a pro-Hadi source. The ceasefire is meant to facilitate humanitarian aid delivery and the release of detainees.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants targeted an Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) supply convoy with an improvised explosive device (IED) near Awdinle village in Bay region on April 21. The convoy was reportedly distributing supplies to Ethiopian troops in the area when the device exploded under one of its trucks. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said that the blast killed six soldiers.[4]
  • AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) troops raided al Shabaab outposts in Budbud and Ula Jarad villages near El Bur in Galgudud region, Somalia on April 21, killing at least 25 fighters. Three SNA soldiers were reportedly killed during the operations. AMISOM maintains several forward operating bases (FOBs) in the El Bur area, where al Shabaab has launched attacks on AMISOM convoys as recently as April 6.[5]
  • The pro-Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) militant group Jabha East Africa (JEA) praised a video released on April 15 by pro-ISIS militants in Puntland region of northern Somalia. JEA claimed, in a statement on its English-language Twitter account, that al Shabaab is facing a “big problem” and that East Africa now supports ISIS. JEA announced its founding in early April and is cultivating an active social media presence but has yet to conduct any attacks.[6]

[1] Start of Yemen peace talks pushed back again,” Gulf News, April 21,206,
[2] Khaled Abdullah, “Turkey freezes assets of Yemeni ex-president Saleh,” Reuters, April 21,2016, and “Turkey freezes assets of ousted Yemeni president,” Gulf News, April 21,2016,
[3] “Al Houthis bomb popular resistance positions in al Bayda moments after signing a new truce,” Al Masdar, April 21,2016,
[4] “Roadside bomb targets Ethiopian army convoy, 6 soldiers killed,” Shabelle News, April 21, 2016,
[5] “At least 28 killed as Somali forces and al Shabaab clash in central Somalia,” Goobjoog News, April 21, 2016,
[6] Pro-ISIS Account, Twitter, April 21, 2016, source available upon request.
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