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: Reported U.S. airstrike targets suspected AQAP militants in Ma’rib governorate, central Yemen; AQAP militants kill Emirati-backed security forces in Shabwah governorate, southern Yemen; UN Special Envoy for Yemen discusses Yemen negotiations with Omani Foreign Minister in Muscat; Hadi government-aligned forces resume offensive in Taiz governorate, western Yemen; Hadi government forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh fighters in al Jawf governorate, northern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab raids Kenyan police station Lafey, Mandera County, eastern Kenya; al Shabaab kills local government officials in Tana River County, eastern Kenya; al Shabaab detonates IED targeting SNA troops in Yantoy, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia; Kenyan airport police arrest woman attempting to smuggle ammunition to London

Yemen Security Brief

A reported U.S. airstrike killed suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in al Rawdah area, central Ma’rib governorate in central Yemen on August 3. Local sources reported that the airstrike hit a bus, killing the militants and a child in a nearby home. Three reported U.S. airstrikes have targeted AQAP militants in Ma’rib governorate in the past week.[1]

AQAP militants attacked Emirati-backed Shabwani Elite Forces with small arms fire at a security checkpoint in Rudum district in southern Shabwah governorate on August 2. Shabwani Elite Forces deployed additional troops to bolster security efforts and protect oil pipelines throughout the governorate on August 2 and 3. AQAP militants targeted Emirati-backed security forces in Shabwah governorate on July 17, its first attack on Emirati-backed forces in the governorate since December 24, 2016.[2] 

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed met with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi in Muscat to discuss efforts to reach a political solution to the Yemeni conflict on August 2. Ould Cheikh Ahmed described the meeting as positive and praised Oman for its efforts. Oman hosted negotiations between the al Houthi-Saleh faction and representatives of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government on May 29. Ould Cheikh Ahmed will next meet with President Hadi in Aden city to discuss the UN proposal to transfer al Hudaydah port from al Houthi-Saleh control to a multi-party Yemeni committee.[3]  

Hadi government-aligned forces, supported by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in Mokha district, western Taiz governorate on August 2. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to fire a “Zilzal-2” ballistic missile at Hadi government-aligned forces in neighboring Mawza’ district, western Taiz governorate on August 3. Hadi government-aligned forces seek to control the main road linking Taiz and al Hudaydah governorates to support a planned offensive on al Hudaydah port.[4]

Hadi government-aligned forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Maslum district, southwestern al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen on August 3, killing several al Houthi-Saleh fighters. Saudi-led coalition warplanes also destroyed al Houthi-Saleh artillery pieces in western al Maslum district. Hadi government forces seek to advance the northern frontline in preparation for an offensive on Sana’a city.[5] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Nearly fifty al Shabaab militants raided a police station in Lafey, Mandera County, eastern Kenya on August 3, killing at least six police officers. The militants stole one police vehicle and burned four others. Al Shabaab attacks Kenyan security forces and civilians as part of a broader campaign to coerce the Kenyan government to withdraw troops from Somalia.[6]

Al Shabaab militants killed three local government officials in Tana River County, eastern Kenya on August 2. Militants attacked the officials’ vehicle with small arms fire and a grenade after intercepting it on the Lamu-Garsen highway, which connects Lamu County, Kenya to Tana River County. Al Shabaab also attacked a civilian bus along the Lamu-Gersen highway in Witu, Lamu County on August 2, killing three civilians and wounding five others.[7] 

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) convoy in Yantoy village outside of Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on August 3. The group often targets Somali security forces along major highways in order to obstruct ground lines of communication.[8]

Kenyan airport police arrested a British woman attempting to bring bullets and magazines onto a flight from Moi International Airport in Mombasa to Nairobi on August 3. Surone Abdiwahid Faiza, who was scheduled to fly from Nairobi to London, concealed 42 9mm caliber bullets and two magazines in her luggage. Kenyan anti-terrorism police interrogated Faiza at Moi International Airport and are searching for potential accomplices.[9]

[1] Demolinari, Twitter, August 3, 2017,; “One person was killed and his child was injured after a US drone targeted a bus in Ma’rib,” Al Masdar Online, August 3, 2017,; “Killed by air strike in Ma’rib,” Aden Tomorrow, August 3, 2017,; and “Three al Qaeda members were killed in a U.S. raid east of the city of Ma’rib,” Barakish, August 3, 2017,
[2] AQAP militants attack Elite Forces in Shabwah, Telegram, August 2, 2017; “Al Qaeda attack on a security point in Rudum, Shabwah, killing seven soldiers and injuring eight others,” Al Masdar Online, August 2, 2017,; “Breaking: Shabwani Elite Forces Control Azzan and Habban, Shabwah,” Aden Lange, August 3, 2017,; “Military source: The Elite Forces have entered Ataq enroute to other districts,” Aden Tomorrow, August 3, 2017,; AQAP militants kill Elite Forces with car bomb in Shabwah, Telegram, July 18, 2017; and “AQAP CLARIFIES ASSASSINATION VIDEO CLIP, CLAIMS ATTACKS IN ABYAN, AL-BAYDA’, AND IBB,” SITE Intelligence Group, January 9, 2017, available by subscription at    
[3] UN Envoy to Yemen, Twitter, August 2, 2017,; “Held in complete secrecy .. negotiations between the government and al Houthi-Saleh faction in Oman,” Aden Tomorrow, May 29, 2017,; and “Ould Cheikh begins a tour of Muscat… and he will meet Hadi in Aden,” Aden Tomorrow, August 3, 2017,
[4] “The escalation of fighting between government forces and al Houthis on the western fronts in Taiz governorate,” Al Masdar Online, August 2, 2017,; “Dead and wounded mercenaries of aggression in an offensive attack in al Arqoud in Taiz,” Sabanews, August 3, 2017,; and “Zilzal-2 toward a gathering of invaders and mercenaries in Mawza’ in Taiz,” Sabanews, August 3, 2017,
[5] “Al Houthi-Saleh forces killed and wounded in confrontations and coalition airstrikes in western al Jawf,” Al Masdar Online, August 3, 2017,; and “The army is approaching the last point separating al Jawf from Amran and Sana’a, and three fronts are joining up for the first time,” Mareb Press, August 1, 2017,
[6] Cyrus Ombati, “Police killed, 2 vehicles burnt down after Al- Shabaab attack in Mandera,” Standard Media, August 3, 2017,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 3,
[7] “Three Tana River county workers burned to death in al Shabaab attack,” The Star, August 3, 2017,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, August 2, 2017,
[8] Morad News, Twitter, August 3, 2017,
[9] Fred Mukinda and Mohamed Ahmed, “British Surone Faiza held with bullets at Mombasa airport,” Daily Nation, August 3, 2017,

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