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: ISIS detonates SVBIED inside recruitment compound in Aden; Hadi government and al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council announce conditions for peace talks; al Houthi-Saleh representatives meet with the Iraqi Foreign Minister in Baghdad; Hadi-allied forces seize positions in western Taiz City; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target al Houthi-Saleh positions in Sana’a city; al Houthi-Saleh forces launch missiles at Najran, Saudi Arabia   

Horn of Africa: NISA forces interdict SVBIED in Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants attack SNA troops in Beled Hawo, Gedo region; al Shabaab militants attack government vehicle in Kiunga, Lamu County, Kenya; senior military commander says hundreds of al Shabaab fighters have infiltrated Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan claimed a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack inside a recruitment compound for local Popular Committees allied with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in Aden city on August 29. The blast killed 54 people and injured 67 others, according to Yemen’s health ministry. ISIS Wilayat Aden-Abyan claimed responsibility for the assassination of a police investigator on August 22, following approximately one month without claimed activity. ISIS last conducted an SVBIED attack of this magnitude in al Mukalla city, Hadramawt governorate in late June.[1]
  • The internationally recognized Yemeni government led by President Hadi agreed to begin peace talks with the U.S., Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the UN on August 27. The talks aim to unify the Yemeni government. The Hadi government also called for al Houthi-Saleh forces to observe a ceasefire. The al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council stated on August 28th that it will participate in peace talks if the Saudi-led coalition honors a ceasefire. The Supreme Political Council is a governing body formed on July 26, 2016 by a power-sharing agreement between the al Houthi Ansar Allah party and the General People’s Congress (GPC) party led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for both factions to observe a mutually agreed upon ceasefire.[2]
  • An al Houthi-Saleh delegation led by Member of Parliament Yahya Badr al Din al Houthi met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari on August 29. A pro-al Houthi-Saleh source reported that the delegation discussed Iraqi government support for the Supreme Political Council in Sana’a. The official al Houthi spokesperson and lead negotiator of the delegation, Mohammed Abdul Salam, expressed concern over Saudi-led coalition attacks on Sana’a and entreated al Jaafari to support the Supreme Political Council. Al Jaafari voiced support for the Council.[3]
  • Hadi government and allied forces seized positions in al Rubai’i, al Souda’ hill, and Mata village in western Taiz city from al Houthi-Saleh forces on August 29. Hadi government and allied forces renewed their offensive on Taiz city following the collapse of peace talks on August 6.[4]
  • Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi-Saleh camps in Sana’a city and its environs on August 29. The Saudi-led coalition struck the First Armored Division camp and a tile factory in Sana’a city and a farm in Bani Al Harith district, northwest Sana’a governorate. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes began targeting Sana’a city for the first time in several months following the collapse of peace talks on August 6.[5]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed responsibility for launching a number of missiles targeting Saudi military sites in Najran, Jazan, and Asir provinces on August 28. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to strike camps ‘Ein al Thurin, Qiadat al Rohoh, and al Khism, and a gathering of Saudi soldiers in al Ghiwa area in al Jawba in Najran. A missile killed two Saudi soldiers and wounded five in Najran, according to a pro-Hadi government source.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali National Intelligence and Security (NISA) forces interdicted a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu on August 28. Al Shabaab is conducting a series of SVBIED attacks on government buildings and civilian attractions throughout Mogadishu.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Somali National Army (SNA) troops in Beled Hawo town in Gedo region on August 28. Al Shabaab militants engaged the government forces with small arms fire following the blast. The fighting killed at least two SNA soldiers and three civilians.[8]
  • Al Shabaab militants detonated an IED targeting a Somali government vehicle traveling through Kiunga area in Lamu County, Kenya on August 27. Al Shabaab militants opened fire on the vehicle, killing a popular Muslim cleric and wounding a security officer.[9]
  • A senior Somali military official said that hundreds of al Shabaab militants have infiltrated Mogadishu to disrupt the upcoming Somali parliamentary and presidential elections. Colonel Ali Yusuf Mo’alin claimed intelligence reports indicate large numbers of al Shabaab militants planning attacks on Mogadishu.[10]
[1] Mohammed Mukhashaf, Hadeel Al Sayegh and Sami Aboudi, “Suicide bomber kills 54 in Yemen attack,” Reuters, August 29, 2016,
[2] Maha El Dahan and Ros Russell, “Yemen’s exiled government welcomes U.S. plan for restart of peace talks,” Reuters, August 27, 2016,; and Niganned Ghobari, Celine Aswad, William Maclean, and Andrew Roche, “Houthis say ready for fresh Yemen talks if attacks stop,”  Reuters, August 28, 2016,
[3] “During a meeting with a delegation of Yemen ... Iraqi Foreign Minister praises the formation of the Supreme Political Council, stressing that the war on Yemen absurdity of war,” Saba Net, August 20, 2016,; and Maher Chmaytelli and John Stonestreet, Reuters, August, 29, 2016,
[4] “Resistance attack Houthi positions west of Taiz and controls al Souda’ Hills and al Rabia’i,” al Masdar, August 29, 2016,; and “Resistance and the army liberate the five positions of the rebels in Taiz, one woman shot by a sniper,” al Masdar, August 29, 2016,
[5] “Intense coalition strikes aimed at sites in Sanaa,” al Masdar, August 29, 2016,
[6] “Missile force bombed a number of sites in Saudi Arabia Najran, Jizan and Asir,” Ansar Allah, August 28, 2016,; and “Two children dead and 5 members injured from a missile projectile in the region of Najran,” Alayam, August 28, 2016,  
[7] “Security forces seize bomb-laden car in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, August 29, 2016,
[8] “Three SNA killed in fighting between Somali soldiers in Bula hawa,” Goobjoog News, August 29, 2016,; and “2 dead, 3 hurt in IED blast and gunfire in Beled-Hawo,” Shabelle News, August 28, 2016,
[9] “Security officers repulse Al-Shabaab militants in Lamu,” Goobjoog News, August 28, 2016,; and “One killed as IED blows up police car in Lamu, Kenya,” Shabelle News, August 28, 2016,
[10] “Al Shabaab fighters sneak into Mogadishu - Official,” Shabelle News, August 29, 2016,
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