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: AQAP militants attack Emirati-backed Yemeni forces in Abyan governorate; AQAP condemns ISIS’s extremist practices and urges its members to join al Qaeda

Horn of Africa: U.S. airstrike kills three al Shabaab militants southwest of Mogadishu; al Shabaab IED targets KDF in Lamu County, southeastern Kenya; al Shabaab claims attack on militia base in Mogadishu; al Shabaab claims attacks on Ethiopian forces near Garbaharey, Gedo region; Ethiopia forms office to reintegrate rebels  

Yemen Security Brief

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked Emirati-backed Yemeni security forces at a checkpoint in Ahwar district in Abyan governorate , southern Yemen on August 28. The attack killed five al Hizam Security Forces troops and wounded four others, according to Yemeni tribal and security officials. AQAP claimed to seize weapons from the checkpoint after the attack.[1]

AQAP condemned the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) for inciting internal conflict in the Salafi-jihadi movement and for spreading extremism in its fourth issue of Madad Bulletin issued on August 28. AQAP blamed ISIS for deviating the course of jihad, spreading corruption, and failing to establish a just and lasting caliphate. AQAP claimed its policy of avoiding clashes with ISIS encouraged defectors to rejoin al Qaeda and that it maintained this policy despite ISIS provocations. AQAP reiterated its claim that ISIS refused to negotiate after capturing AQAP militants in July. The bulletin concluded by urging ISIS members to repent and join AQAP.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) killed three al Shabaab militants in an airstrike 40km southwest of Mogadishu, Somalia on August 27. [3] 

Al Shabaab militants detonated an IED targeting Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) on the Kounga-Snakuri road in Lamu County, southeastern Kenya on August 29. The attack killed five soldiers and injured ten others.[4]

Al Shabaab claimed to storm a pro-government militia base in Huriwa district, Mogadishu on August 28. The attack has not been confirmed.[5]

Al Shabaab claimed to ambush an Ethiopian military vehicle near Garbaharey, Gedo region on August 28, killing all soldiers on board. Al Shabaab claimed to shell an Ethiopian base near Garbaharey on August 29 as well. Neither attack has been confirmed.[6]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a special office to oversee the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of former rebel fighters on August 29. The director of Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) met with the chairman of the formerly banned Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM), in Asmara, Eritrea on August 29. Asmara hosted two other meetings earlier this month between Ethiopian government officials and Eritrea-based rebel groups, both of which resulted in peace agreements.[7]


[1] “Officials: Al-Qaeda attack on Yemen checkpoint kills,”ABC news, August 29, 2018,; and “Al-Qaeda attack kills 5 of UAE-trained soldiers in Yemen: officials,” The New Arab, August 29, 2018,

[2] “AQAP condemns extremism of is and its sowing sedition and destruction in Madad bulletin 4,” SITE,, August 29, 2018, available at

[3] “U.S. air strike in Somalia kills three al Shabaab militants: statement,” Reuters, August 29, 2018, and “U.S. Conducts Airstrike in Support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. AFRICOM, August 29, 2018,

[4] “Five Kenyan Soldiers Killed, 10 Others Injured in Lamu Blast,” Radio Shabelle, August 29, 2018,; and Kalume Kazungu, “5 soldiers killed, 10 injured in Lamu ‘Al-Shabaab’ attack,” Daily Nation,

[5] “Shabaab Claims Killing 20 Kenyan Soldiers in Ambush in Lamu County, Attacks on SNA and AMISOM,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 29, 2018, translation available by subscriptionion

[6]  “Shabaab Claims Killing 20 Kenyan Soldiers in Ambush in Lamu County, Attacks on SNA and AMISOM,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 29, 2018, translation available by subscriptionion

[7] Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, “Eritrea hosts peace meeting between Ethiopia govt and Tigray ‘rebels’,” Africa News, August 28, 2018,; and Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, “Ethiopian govt, key opposition parties agree to restructure armed operations,” Africa News, August 29, 2018,   

View Citations
Arrow down red
Sep '18
Aug '18
Jul '18