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: AQAP militants detonate SVBIED targeting Hadi government troops in Shaqra, Abyan governorate; Saudi-led coalition continues airstrikes on al Houthi-Saleh positions in Sana’a; coalition airstrike strikes hospital in Abs, Hajjah governorate; Hadi government security forces raid ISIS-linked weapons cache in al Jawla near Aden city; U.S. transfers twelve Yemeni prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to UAE

Horn of Africa: U.S. military confirms advisory role in raid targeting al Shabaab leadership in Sakow town, Middle Jubba region; SNA and AMISOM forces drive al Shabaab from villages near Bardhere, Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device targeting a position belonging to the army of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Shaqra city, Abyan governorate on August 15. The explosion killed four Hadi government soldiers and injured four others. Government forces supported by the Saudi-led coalition seized Shaqra and nearby Zinjibar and Ja’ar cities in Abyan governorate from AQAP militants on August 14.[1]
  • Saudi-led coalition forces continued to launch airstrikes targeting al Houthi-Saleh positions in and around Sana’a city on August 16. Airstrikes targeted a weapons cache in Jabal Niqem area, al Houthi-Saleh positions in Bani Harith district, and areas around Mt. al Nabi Ayoub in Sana’a governorate. The coalition resumed airstrikes on Sana’a city and its environs on August 9 after a three-month pause.[2]
  • A Saudi-led coalition airstrike struck a Doctors Without Borders-run hospital in Abs district, Hajjah governorate on August 15, killing at least 11 people. The Saudi-led coalition announced that its Joint Incidents Assessment Team will launch an independent investigation into the airstrike. The al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Committee condemned the August 15 airstrike as a “heinous massacre.”[3]
  • Hadi government security forces raided a weapons cache attributed to Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS)-linked militants in al Jawla area, Lahij governorate near Aden city on August 16. Hadi-allied security forces discovered small arms, two rigged car bombs, and explosive materials at a safe house in al Jawla.[4]
  • The U.S. Department of Defense announced the transfer of custody of 12 Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United Arab Emirates on August 15. The transfer also included three Afghan detainees.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A U.S. military spokesman said that armed U.S. advisors assisted Somali troops in a raid on al Shabaab positions in Sakow town in Middle Jubba region on August 10. The American troops did not participate in the firefight, which killed three al Shabaab militants. U.S. personnel are assessing whether the attack killed any high value targets (HVTs). Somali Minister of Defense Abdulkadir Sheikh Dini confirmed the August 10 raid killed al Shabaab senior members. Unconfirmed rumors claimed that Somali troops killed al Shabaab emir Ahmad Umar and spokesman Abdul Aziz Abu Musab during the operations.[6]
  • Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces drove al Shabaab militants from four villages near Bardhere town in Gedo region on August 15. The al Shabaab fighters resisted but failed to hold their positions. Al Shabaab militants attacked the Bardhere airport with mortars and small arms fire on May 16.[7]

[1] “Four dead and five injured in car bomb that targeted a military position in Shaqra, Abyan” al Masdar, August 15, 2016,; and “AQAP claims suicide bombing in Abyan, attacks in al-Bayda’ and Ibb,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 15, 2016, available by subscription through
[2] “Strikes target locations in the capital Sana’a,” Barakish, August 16, 2016,
[3] "Yemen conflict: Air strike hits MSF hospital in Hajjah," BBC News, August 15, 2016,; “The coalition announces opening of independent investigation regarding strike on hospital in Hajjah,” Barakish, August 16, 2016,; and “the Supreme Political Council condemns in the strongest terms the massacre committed by aggression planes on a hospital in Abs, Hajjah” Saba News, August 15, 2016,
[5] “Detainee transfers announced,” Department of Defense, August 15, 2016,; and “America transports 12 Yemenis from Guantanamo to the Emirates,” Barakish, August 16, 2016,
[6] “Somali government confirms Sakow raid, affirms key Al-Shabaab leaders felled,” Goobjoog News, August 16, 2016,; “Top Al-Shabaab leaders killed in US backed Somali elite squad operation in southern Somalia- Sources,” Goobjoog News, August 15, 2016,; and Jeffrey Gettleman, “Somali Forces, Backed by U.S., Kill Shabab Militants in Raid,” New York Times, August 16, 2016,
[7] “SNA and AMISOM capture 4 villages from Al-Shabaab in Somalia,” Goobjoog News, August 16, 2016,; and “Somali forces capture villages from Al-Shabaab,” Shabelle News, August 16, 2016,
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