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: U.S. Secretary of State Kerry meets with senior Saudi officials to discuss the Yemen crisis; UN calls for investigation into civilian deaths in Yemen; Yemeni Vice President Lt. Gen. Ali Mohsen al Ahmar visits troops in Ma’rib and Shabwah governorates; Hadi government forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Nihm, Sana’a governorate; Hadi government and allied forces seize positions in western Taiz city; militants attempt to assassinate Islah party Secretary-General in Ma’rib governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks SNA base near Goof Guduud, Bay region; suspected al Shabaab gunman assassinates Somali police officer in Mogadishu; top SNA and AMISOM commanders discuss pre-election security in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with senior Saudi officials on August 25 to discuss the Yemeni civil war and the UN-led peace process, which has been suspended since August 6. Kerry met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir in Jeddah. The Saudi-led coalition supports the government of Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.[1]
  • The United Nations called for an investigation into civilian deaths in Yemen on August 25. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, blamed the Saudi-led coalition for the majority of civilian deaths. The UN has not accused any parties in the conflict of war crimes. A Saudi-led coalition airstrike struck a Doctors Without Borders-supported hospital in Abs district, Hajjah governorate on August 15.[2]
  • President Hadi’s vice president, Lieutenant General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, visited troops in Ma’rib and Shabwah governorates on August 24 and 25. Hadi government forces are conducting shaping operations in Nihm district, northeast of Sana’a, in preparation for an assault on the al Houthi-Saleh--held capital city.[3] 
  • Hadi government forces, supported by the Saudi-led coalition, clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Nihm district, northeast of Sana’a city, on August 25. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi-Saleh positions in northern Sana’a city on August 25, including the al Daylami Air Force Base. Coalition-backed forces are conducting shaping operations ahead of an assault on al Houthi-Saleh--held Sana’a.[4]
  • Hadi government forces seized positions from al Houthi-Saleh forces in Wadi Hanash and areas between Mount Han and Midarat in western Taiz city on August 25. Hadi government-allied forces continue to clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in areas around al Rubay’i and Tepe, western Taiz city. Hadi government and allied forces began an offensive on Taiz after the collapse of UN-led peace talks on August 6.[5]
  • Militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting the Secretary-General of the Islah party, Nasser al Mabrouk Raqib, in Ma’rib governorate on August 25. Secretary-General Raqib survived the blast, which injured two of his bodyguards. Three high-ranking Islah officials were assassinated in Dhamar and Aden governorates in August.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base near Goof Guduud in Bay region on August 24. SNA soldiers repulsed the attack with assistance from nearby Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces. Al Shabaab militants ambushed an SNA convoy near Goof Guduud on August 22.[7]
  • A suspected al Shabaab gunman killed a Somali police officer in Bakara Market in Mogadishu on August 24. SNA soldiers returned fire, killing the assassin and a civilian onlooker. Al Shabaab has launched a string of attacks on Bakara Market, including an attempted suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack on August 14 and an assassination of local elder on August 10.[8]
  • Top AMISOM and SNA commanders held a joint conference in Mogadishu on August 24. The soldiers discussed ways to improve coordination and effectiveness ahead of Somalia’s parliamentary and presidential elections, which are expected to take place in September and October 2016.[9]
[1] “Kerry tackles Yemen, Syrian conflicts in Saudi Arabia talks,” Reuters, August 25, 2016,
[2] “UN calls for international probe into Yemen violations,” al Jazeera, August 25, 2016,
[3] “Ali Mohsen arrives in Shabwa,” Barakish, August 25, 2016,
[4] “Fierce fighting ignites in eastern Nihm Sanaa,” August 25, 2016,; and “Coalition strikes air base in Sana’a” Barakish, August 25, 2016,
[5] “ The army and the resistance advancing west of the city of Taiz and fierce battles near Tepe,” al Masdar, August 25, 2016,
[6] “An attempted assassination on Senior leader of the Reform Party in Marib wounding his companions,” al Masdar, August 25, 2016,
[7] “Al Shabaab Attacks Somali Military Base near Baidoa,” Shabelle News, August 24, 2016,
[8] “Somalia: Three killed in Mogadishu shooting,” Shabelle News, August 24, 2016,
[9] “AMISOM, SNA pledge unity in War against Al-Shabaab,” Shabelle News, August 25, 2016,
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