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 airstrikes target al Houthi-Saleh positions in Sana’a; Hadi government forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Taiz; al Houthi-Saleh forces claim to shoot down a Saudi helicopter near Najran, Saudi Arabia; al Houthi-Saleh forces launch Zelzal-3 missile towards Najran, Saudi Arabia; Hadi government forces clear AQAP militants from al Wadhea, Abyan

Horn of Africa: U.S. announces $146 million aid package to assist refugees at Dadaab camp in western Kenya; al Shabaab militants ambush AMISOM convoy near Goof Gaduud town, Bay region; Kenya deploys additional forces to secure northern Kenyan-Somali border regions

Yemen Security Brief

  • Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi-Saleh military camps in central and northeast Sana’a city on August 23. Coalition forces bombed Camp al Siana in central Sana’a city and Camp Kharafi in northeast Sana’a city. The Saudi-led coalition resumed airstrikes on al Houthi-Saleh targets inside Sana’a city on August 9.[1]
  • Forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Aqaba market, al Salwa district, Taiz governorate on August 23. Hadi government forces began a new offensive on Taiz city following the breakdown of peace talks on August 6.[2]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to shoot down a Saudi helicopter near Najran city, southern Saudi Arabia on August 23. A local news station aired footage of an object falling from the sky and claimed that it was the helicopter. Saudi Apache helicopters conducted strafing operations along the Yemeni-Saudi border targeting al Houthi-Saleh forces responsible for launching rockets at Najran city on August 22.[3]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched a Zelzal-3 ballistic missile towards Najran city on August 23. Pro-al Houthi media reported that the missile launch is a response to Saudi Arabia’s continued participation in the bombing campaign in Yemen. [4]
  • Hadi government forces continued counterterrorism operations in al Wadhea village and other smaller villages throughout Abyan governorate. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants fled from al Wadhea into al Mahfad village. Al Mahfad is AQAP’s last known stronghold in Abyan governorate, according to local sources. Security forces discovered a bomb making site in Khanfar Court in Abyan governorate on August 23.[5] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The United States will provide $146 million in aid to Kenya, Somalia, and the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) to assist refugees at Dadaab camp in Kenya. Kenya rescinded its decision to close the camp by the end of 2016 on August 21, likely due to U.S. pressure. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the planned aid while in Nairobi to discuss security concerns with East African nations.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy near Goof Gaduud town in Bay region on August 22. The AMISOM forces killed eight al Shabaab militants as they repelled the attack. The militants wounded three AMISOM troops.[7]
  • Kenya deployed additional security forces along the Kenyan-Somali border in an effort to prevent al Shabaab attacks on critical infrastructure. Al Shabaab militants destroyed telecommunications equipment in Mandera County Kenya in Damasa area on June 25 and Fino town on July 28.[8]
[1] “Raids on camp al Siana center of the capital Sanaa,” al Masdar, August 23, 2016,
[2] “Resistance and troops are attacking Houthi positions south of Taiz control sites,” al Masdar, August 23, 2016,
[3] “Houthis declare dropping a Saudi Apache helicopter in Najran,” Yemen Akhbar, August 23, 2016,; and “Najran Army and People's Committees fall hostile Apache helicopter, Yemen TV, August 22, 2016,
[4] “The new Zelzal-3 ballistic missile launched at Najran forces,” al Masirah, August 23, 2016,; and “Al Houthis announce the launch of a new ballistic missile at Najran,” Akhbar Yemen, August 23, 2016,
[5] Saeed Al Batati, “Yemen army forces battling Al Qaida in last stronghold in Abyan,” Gulf News, August 23, 2016; and “Security Belt Forces in Abyan Discover Laboratory Manufacturing IEDs in a Court” Aden Press, August 23, 2016
[6] “Daily Press Briefing,” U.S. Department of State, August 22, 2016,; and “US announces $146 million for refugee support and return,” Goobjoog News, August 23, 2016,
[7] “Spokesman: AMISOM killed 8 militants near Baidoa city,” Shabelle News, August 22, 2016,
[8] “Kenyan forces deployed to protect telco installations in Mandera County,” Goobjoog News, August 23, 2016,
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