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: Suspected AQAP militants attempt to assassinate Yemeni brigade commander in Lawder city, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen; ISIS militants shell al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; rogue security forces assassinate Abyan security director in Aden city, southern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Defected al Shabaab leader urges militants to leave the group; al Shabaab claims raid an AMISOM base in Middle Shabelle region, central Somalia; Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga delays post-election announcement

Yemen Security Brief

Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants wounded Yemeni 115th Infantry Brigade Commander Ahmed Mohammed al Shabaily and killed his son in Lawder city, northern Abyan governorate on August 14. Shabaily was driving to the 115th Brigade Camp at the time of the attack. Security forces began renewed counter-AQAP operations in Abyan governorate in early August. AQAP militants forced security forces to withdraw from Abyan governorate in early 2017.[1] 

The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat al Bayda continued an offensive against al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Zaharah area, northwestern al Bayda governorate. ISIS Wilayat al Bayda militants shelled al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Zaharah on August 14. ISIS increased its operational tempo in al Zaharah after breaking an al Houthi-Saleh siege in late July. ISIS fights alongside AQAP militants and local tribal forces against the al Houthi-Saleh faction in al Bayda governorate.[2] 

Rogue security forces attacked several Abyani security officers during a raid in northern Aden city on August 14. Aden security forces assassinated Hussein Ahmed Qamata, the director of security in Rasad district in Abyan governorate, and injured Abdul Razzaq al Jordemi, commander of the Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces in Rasad district. Aden Governor Abdul Aziz al Miflahi ordered an immediate investigation of the attack. Aden’s deputy security director, Ali al Zayyib al Kazemi, resigned in response. Al Hizam security forces arrested several suspects, including Yasser al Amoudi, the administrative director of Rasad district.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Former al Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow (Abu Mansur) urged al Shabaab militants to defect at a press conference in Mogadishu on August 15. Robow stated that he severed his ties with al Shabaab in 2012 because the group failed to properly serve the Somali people. Robow defected to the Somali Federal Government on August 13 and is still negotiating the terms of his defection.[4] 

Al Shabaab claimed to attack a Burundian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base with small arms fire in Mahaday, Middle Shabelle region, central Somalia on August 15. Al Shabaab often attacks AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) troops in Mahaday in order to obstruct ground lines of communication. Mahaday is located along a major highway connecting Mogadishu to north-central Somalia.[5]

Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga refused to concede defeat and delayed a planned speech on August 15. Kenyans expected Odinga to deliver a speech indicating his plans to challenge the internationally recognized results of Kenya’s August 8 presidential election. Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) party will issue a comprehensive statement on August 16. Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta won the country’s presidential elections by a wide margin.[6]

[1] “A military official was killed and his son killed by an attack by suspected al Qaeda militants in Abyan,” Al Masdar Online, August 14, 2017,; and “103rd Infantry Brigade in Jahhayn advance toward Lawder,” Yemen Akhbar, August 9, 2017,
[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, August 15, 2017,
[3] Demolinari, Twitter, August 14,; “The governor of Aden directs the immediate and urgent investigation into the killing of a security director,” Aden Tomorrow, August 14, 2017,; “Deputy director of Aden security suspended his work in protest against the killing of the Rasad security director,” Aden Tomorrow, August 14, 2017,; and “The organization behind the killing of the Rasad security director in Aden… the arrest of those involved, including a local official,” Barakish, August 14, 2017,
[4] “I fell out with Shabaab over ideological differences-Robow Abu Mansuur,” Goobjoog News, August 15, 2017,; and “Former senior al Shabaab leader says militants should leave group,” Reuters, August 15, 2017,  
[5] Al Shabaab claims to raid AMISOM base in Mahaday, Telegram, August 15.
[6] “No Raila Announcement Today- NASA,” Nairobi News, August 15, 2017,; and “NASA postpones big announcement,” Standard Media, August 15, 2017,

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