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: Al Houthi movement and GPC officials call for easing of tensions; Hadi government forces reinvigorate offensive on Sa’ada governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces claim to launch ballistic missile targeting Saudi security headquarters in southern Saudi Arabia; AQAP militants attack al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; militants attack multiple security officers in southern and eastern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab commander surrenders to SNA troops in Garbaharey, Gedo region, southern Somalia; Kenya’s Supreme Court begins hearing NASA party petition challenging election results; unidentified warplanes strike ISIS militants in Alula, Bari region, northern Somalia; al Shabaab militants ambush SNA troops in Daynunay town, Bay region, southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi movement leaders and officials from former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s GPC party announced an effort to ease tensions between the two groups on August 29. Al Houthi supporters and Saleh loyalists clashed on August 26, killing two al Houthis and a GPC official. GPC and al Houthi movement officials urged supporters to focus on combating the Saudi-led coalition. Al Houthi supporters reportedly assaulted GPC lawyer Mohammed al Maswari on August 29, however.[1]

Hadi government forces reinvigorated its offensive on al Houthi-Saleh positions in Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen, on August 28. Sa’ada is the historic stronghold of the al Houthi movement. Hadi government forces seized Mount al ‘Aliab, just west of al Buqa’ city, northeastern Sa’ada. Al Houthi-Saleh media also reported that Saudi border guards fired into Sa’ada on August 28. Forces loyal to Hadi previously seized Mount al ‘Aliab from al Houthi-Saleh forces in early 2017 but struggled to maintain control of it.[2]

Al Houthi-Saleh media reported that its forces launched a “Zilzal-2” ballistic missile targeting a Saudi security headquarters in Siqam, southern Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on August 28. Al Houthi-Saleh forces also shelled Siqam with Katyusha rockets. This missile launch has not been confirmed.[3]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on August 29. AQAP militants attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces with small arms fire and artillery in the Tayab area, southern al Bayda. AQAP is one of the primary forces combating al Houthi-Saleh forces alongside tribal forces in al Bayda governorate.[4]

Militants targeted multiple Yemeni security officers in eastern and southern Yemen between August 27 and 29. Militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Emirati-backed Shabwani Elite Forces in Ataq city, central Shabwah governorate on August 27. Shabwani Elite Forces pushed AQAP out of most of Shabwah governorate in early August. Militants attacked the convoy of the chief of police of Dar Sa’ad, northern Aden governorate, with small arms fire on August 28. The attack injured one guard. Troops from the Transportation Brigade, a force loyal to Hadi, are reportedly responsible for the attack. Militants also attacked a Yemeni 115th brigade officer in Lawder district, northern Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on August 29.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab leader Abu Mujahid surrendered to Somali National Army (SNA) troops in Garbaharey, Gedo region, southern Somalia on August 29, according to a SNA commander. This marks the second al Shabaab commander to defect to the Somali Federal Government since former deputy leader Mukhtar Robow (Abu Mansur) defected to the Somali Federal Government on August 13. Al Shabaab’s Head of Health for Galgudud region, central Somalia defected to the Somali Federal Government on August 23.[6]

Kenya’s Supreme Court initiated proceedings for the National Super Alliance (NASA) party’s petition challenging the results of the August 8 presidential election. NASA party lead counsel James Orengo’s opening statements claimed the electoral database was compromised and manipulated to indicate that incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta defeated NASA candidate Raila Odinga. The Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) filed legal documents with Kenya’s Supreme Court on August 24 refuting opposition party claims that the election results were fraudulent. Foreign observers from the U.S., European Union, and African Union verified the legitimacy of the election’s results. The Supreme Court expects to issue a final ruling before September 1.[7]

Unidentified warplanes struck Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in Alula, Bari region, northern Somalia on August 28. ISIS maintains a small presence in mountainous villages outside of Qandala town, Bari region.[8]

Al Shabaab militants ambushed SNA troops in Daynunay town, Bay region, southern Somalia on August 29. Daynunay lies along a major highway in connecting Somali Federal Government controlled territories in Bay region.[9]

[1] Sami Aboudi, “Yemen allies agree to end tensions after deadly clash: officials,” Reuters, August 29, 2017,; and Kamel al Khodani, Twitter, August 29, 2017,
[2] “The Army controls areas in Sa’ada,” Barakish, August 28, 2017,; and “Sa’ada governorate is besieged for the eighth day by Saudi border guards targeting the public road,” Saba News, August 28, 2017,
[3] “Zilzal-2 Rocket,” Saba News, August 28, 2017,
[4] AQAP claims its militants attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in Tayab, al Bayda, Telegram, August 29, 2017.
[5] “#Shabwa: An explosion targeting a military vehicle,” Barakish, August 27, 2017,; “URGENT: Police chief survives armed ambush and one of his guards injured in Dar Sa’ad neighborhood,” Aden Lang, August 29, 2017,; and “A 115th soldier wounded in an ambush in Lawder,” Aden Lang, August 29, 2017,
[6] “Senior Alshabab militant surrenders to Somali government forces,” Radio Danan, August 29, 2017,; Garowe Online, Twitter, August 29, 2017,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, August 14, 2017,
[7] “Hearing of presidential petition in Kenya kicks off,” Goobjoog News, August 28, 2017,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, August 25, 2017,
[8] “Unidentified Warplanes fire on coastal town in Puntland,” Garowe Online, August 28, 2017,
[9] “Two soldiers killed in attack in Somalia,” Garsoor News, August 29, 2017,

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