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 John Kerry outlines roadmap for unity government in Yemen; Hadi-allied forces enter al Mahfad district, Abyan governorate to clear AQAP fighters; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target al Houthi-Saleh positions in Sana’a; Saudi PATRIOT system intercepts missile launched by al Houthi-Saleh forces in Jazan, Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab conducts SVBIED attack on Lido Beach restaurant in Mogadishu; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED in Bardhere, Gedo region; al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting SNA forces in Bulo Mareer, Lower Shabelle region; Somali federal elections to occur on schedule

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry outlined a new political framework for the creation of a national unity government in Yemen with “power shared among the parties,” after meeting with senior Saudi officials on August 25. The proposal calls on al Houthi-Saleh forces to withdraw from Sana’a “and other key areas,” which is in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2216, and transfer “ballistic weapons and all heavy weapons…to a third party.” The Saudi-backed government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi has insisted that the al Houthi-Saleh faction abide by the terms in UNSCR 2216 before becoming part of a unity government in the past. Al Houthi-Saleh delegations rejected a draft agreement proposed by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on July 31. That draft generally favored the Hadi government. UN-led peace talks are scheduled to resume in early September.[1]
  • Hadi-allied forces entered al Mahfad district, Abyan governorate on August 26 to clear AQAP militants from the town. Hadi-allied forces cleared Zinjibar, Ja’ar and other towns in Abyan governorate of AQAP fighters in mid-August.[2]
  • Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted positions held by al Houthi-Saleh forces in and around Sana’a city on August 26. Airstrikes targeted al Istiqbal military base in Hamdan district, northwest Sana’a governorate, and al Houthi-Saleh positions in Nihm district, northeast Sana’a governorate. Reported coalition airstrikes also struck Baqim district, Sa’ada governorate on August 26, killing 11 civilians.[3]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh fighters launched a missile toward southern Saudi Arabia on August 26. A Saudi PATRIOT missile defense battery intercepted the missile over Jazan. Al Houthi-Saleh forces intensified missile, shelling and mortar attacks targeting southern Saudi Arabia in recent weeks.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) outside a restaurant in Lido beach, Mogadishu on August 25. Al Shabaab gunmen stormed the restaurant after the blast. Somali Special Operations Forces (SOF) secured the scene and freed 20 civilians. The attack killed at least five civilians and an additional five militants and security personnel.[5]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) outside a cafe in Bardhere in Gedo region on August 25. The blast, which wounded at least 13 individuals, may have been targeting the district’s commissioner and head of security.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants detonated an IED targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Bulo Mareer in Lower Shabelle region on August 25. The blast wounded five SNA forces.[7]
  • The Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) expressed confidence in the Somali parliamentary and presidential elections meeting the September and October timelines. A collection of 135 traditional elders will select approximately 14,000 Somalis to cast votes for the Lower House of Somalia’s parliament. The Lower House will then elect a president in October.[8]
[1] Ahmed al Omran and Asa Fitch, “Kerry Calls for a Unity Government in Yemen to End Fighting,” Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2016,
[2] “Abyan: National Army enters al Mahfad district to hunt down al Qaeda,” Barakish, August 26, 2016,; and Demolinari, Twitter, August 25, 2016,
[3] "Aerial bombardment heavy northwest of the capital Sana'a," Barakish, August 26, 2016,; and “11 civilians martyred and others injured from airstrike by aggression warplanes targeting citizen’s home in Baqim district, Sa’ada,” Saba News Agency, August 26, 2016,
[4] “The al Houthis launch ballistic missile toward Saudi Arabia and PATRIOT intercepts in skies over Jazan,” al Masdar, August 25, 2016,
[5] “Nine dead in Al-Shabaab attack on Mogadishu restaurant,” Goobjoog News, August 26, 2016,; “Death toll in Banadir beach restaurant attack rises to 15,” Shabelle News, August 25, 2016,; and “UPDATE: Car bomb, Gut attack on restaurant near Turkish Embassy,” Shabelle News, August 25, 2016,
[6] “Somalia: At least 13 injured in Bardere Cafe bombing,” Shabelle News, August 26, 2016,
[7] “Land Mine Blast injures Five Soldiers in Somalia,” Shabelle News, August 25, 2016,
[8] “Election in Somalia,” Goobjoog News, August 26, 2016,
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