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: Former Vice President and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah criticizes President Hadi following dismissal; Saudi-led coalition spokesman accuses Iran of prolonging war in Yemen; IRGC Commander reiterates Iranian support for al Houthis

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants attack SNA official’s residence in Mogadishu; Puntland President claims al Shabaab used seized AMISOM weapons in Puntland incursion; al Shabaab militants ambush Ethiopian AMISOM convoy near Ulo-Jaran, Galgudud region; Somali security forces detain 500 people for suspected al Shabaab ties in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Former Vice President and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah released an extensive statement on his dismissal from the cabinet, calling it a “coup against legitimacy,” on April 5. He said that the cabinet reshuffle damages the legitimacy of the government and provides justification for the al Houthi-Saleh alliance to challenge it. He emphasized that the reshuffle will impede efforts to end the war and said that it violates UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which provides a framework for the conflict’s resolution. Bahah also questioned the president’s authority, stating that the prime minister, not the president, should appoint government ministers. Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi dismissed Bahah from the cabinet on April 3, citing security and economic failures, and appointed Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr and Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar in his place.[1]
  • Saudi-led coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al Asiri accused Iran of destabilizing the Arab world and prolonging the war in Yemen. Asiri said that Iran’s weapons shipments to the al Houthis are violating UN resolutions and may derail the upcoming UN-led peace talks, set to begin in Kuwait on April 18. International naval forces interdicted three arms shipments allegedly sent from Iran towards Yemen in the past two months.[2]
  • Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari commented on the country’s support for al Houthi forces in Yemen during a meeting of IRGC commanders in Tehran on April 5. He professed Iran’s unceasing support for al Houthi forces and said that Iran will continue to back the al Houthis even more than it has in the past.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Suspected al Shabaab militants attacked the home of a senior Somali National Army (SNA) logistics officer in Mogadishu on April 5. Sources said that the gunmen opened fire on security guards outside the house but failed to gain access to the residence. Al Shabaab is conducting an assassination campaign targeting foreign nationals and Somali government officials in and around Mogadishu.[4]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed an Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy in Ulo-Jaran village near El Buur town, Galgudud region. The convoy was reportedly moving supplies from El Buur to nearby forward operating bases when militants attacked the vehicles. The Ethiopian troops repulsed the ambush, killing four militants in the process.[5]
  • Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas, president of the semi-autonomous Puntland State of Somalia, claimed that a majority of the weapons seized from al Shabaab militants in Puntland came from AMISOM bases. Gaas suggested that the al Shabaab militants seized weapons from AMISOM bases in the Lower Shabelle and Gedo regions in southern Somalia and later used the captured weapons during a sea-borne incursion into Puntland near Gara’ad town in mid-March. Puntland Defence Forces captured or killed the majority of the al Shabaab militants that attacked at Gara’ad.[6]  
  • Somali security forces detained 500 people during clearing operations in the Yaqshid district of Mogadishu on April 6 for suspected al Shabaab ties and kept 30 for additional questioning.  Security forces conducted the clearing operations due to the recent increase in al Shabaab attacks targeting Somali government and military officials as well as foreign investors.[7]

[1] “Yemen conflict: Former vice-president Bahah denounces sacking,” BBC, April 5,2016, and “Former Yemeni prime minister Khalid Bahah describes his demotion as a ‘coup’,” The National, April 5,2016,
[2] “Asiri: Iran seeks to prolong the wars and conflicts in Yemen and the Arab countries,” Al Masdar, April 6, 2016,
[3] “Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard: We will support al Houthis more than we have,” Barakish, April 6,2016,
[4] “Gunmen attack army chief residence in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, April 6, 2016,  
[5] “Al shabaab ambushes Ethiopian army convoy near El Bur,” Shabelle News, April 6, 2016,; Four al Shabaab fighters killed in fighting with SNA, officials says,” Goovjoog News, April 6, 2016,  
[6] “Puntland seizes AMISOM weapons using by Al shabaab, says leader,” Shabelle News, April 6, 2016,  
[7] “Somali security forces arrest over thirty people in security operation in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, April 6, 2016,; “Somalia arrests 500 people in terror crackdown,” Radio Kulmiye, April 6, 2016,  
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