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: CENTCOM confirms two airstrikes targeting AQAP operatives in July; AQAP militants carry out double SVBIED attack on popular resistance base in Lahij; al Bayda ceasefire committee reports al Houthi-Saleh massacre; UN Secretary-General reiterates concerns over child casualties in Yemen

Horn of Africa: Somali officials meet over uncertainties with upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections; unidentified warplanes strike village near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that the U.S. military conducted two airstrikes targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives in “central Yemen” in July. One U.S. airstrike killed one AQAP militant on July 8. The second airstrike killed six AQAP militants and injured one other. AQAP operates freely in the central Yemeni governorates of Hadramawt, Shabwah, and Abyan.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated two simultaneous suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIED) targeting a popular resistance military base in Radfan district, Lahij governorate, killing at least ten popular resistance fighters. Popular resistance fighters are allied with forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi against the al Houthi-Saleh alliance. AQAP claims that the bombing is in response to the “crimes of the (Saudi-led) coalition in Lahij and Abyan” governorates.[2]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces allegedly kidnapped and subsequently killed four local sheikhs in al Mulajim district, al Bayda governorate, between July 31 and August 2. Al Houthi-Saleh forces stormed a house and kidnapped the four sheikhs on July 31, according to a pro-Hadi news outlet. Civilians discovered the bodies of the sheikhs on August 2. The de-escalation committee for al Bayda governorate formally notified the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, of the crime in a written report on August 3.[3]
  • The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated “very strong concerns about the protection of Yemeni children” on August 2. The United Nations placed the Saudi-led coalition on a children’s rights blacklist in June 2016 due to casualties inflicted by its air campaign in Yemen. The UN subsequently removed the coalition from the list due to Saudi pressure. The Saudi Ambassador the United Nations, Abdallah al Mouallimi, claimed on August 2 that repeated al Houthi-Saleh attacks on Saudi Arabia killed “500 Saudi civilians” and breached the Yemeni-Saudi border “1700 times”.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali officials opened the National Leadership Forum (NLF) to discuss electoral procedures for the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Mogadishu on August 3. Officials are expected to finalize details of the power sharing formula and discuss extensions to the election timetable. British Minister to Africa, Tobias Ellwood, urged Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to hold the elections without delay in a meeting on August 2. Officials already delayed elections to the upper house, and are almost certain to delay the presidential elections too.[5]
  • Unidentified warplanes launched strikes on al Shabaab positions near Berhani area in Lower Jubba region on August 2. The strikes killed an unspecified number of al Shabaab militants and wounded at least three civilians.[6]
[1] “August 2: U.S. Central Command announces Yemen counterterrorism strikes,” U.S. Central Command, August 2,
[2] “Dead and wounded in car bomb attacks targeting a camp of the southern resistance in Radfan,” Aden Ghad, August 2, 2016,; “AQAP Claims Dual Suicide Bombings on Arab Coalition Camp in Lahij,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 2, 2016, available by subscription through; and “Death of ten soldiers from suicide bombers that targeted a Resistance base in Lahij,” Barakish, August 2, 2016,
[3] "In a new war crime .. al Houthi militias kidnap and execute four civilians in al Bayda - names," Barakish, August 3, 2016,; and
"Pacification Commission in al Bayda sends a communication to Ould Cheikh regarding the crime of al Houthi execution of four of the sheikhs," al Masdar, August 3, 2016,
[5] “A cloud of uncertainty hangs over 2016 elections as NLF convenes In Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, August 3, 2016,; and “UK Minister for Africa meets President, PM in Mogadishu, urges against poll delay,” Goobjoog News, August 2, 2016,
[6] “Unknown Warplanes hit al-Shabab base in Somali village,” Goobjoog News, August 3, 2016,; and “Suspected U.S. fighter jets bomb Al Shabaab base,” Shabelle News, August 2, 2016,
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