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-Saleh Supreme Political Council chairman indicates willingness to negotiate; al Houthi-Saleh forces launch ballistic missile targeting Saudi military forces in Asir province, southern Saudi Arabia; reported U.S. airstrike targets AQAP militants near Ataq in Shabwah governorate; Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Daghir announces Central Bank relocation from Sana’a to Aden

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack SYL Hotel near presidential palace in Mogadishu; senior al Shabaab commander defects in Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants attack SNA positions near Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region; Kenyan anti-terror police arrest two suspected ISIS recruits

Yemen Security Brief

  • The chairman of the al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council, Saleh al Samad, announced that the Council will participate in peace negotiations but will reserve the right to resist attacks by the Saudi-led coalition and forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government. The formation of the Supreme Political Council, a 10-member governing body formed by a power-sharing agreement between the al Houthi Ansar Allah party and the General People’s Congress (GPC) party, derailed UN-led peace talks in Kuwait in early August. Al Samad rejected Saudi accusations that al Houthi-Saleh forces used the Yemeni Central Bank in Sana’a for their own political and economic interests.[1]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched a Qaher-1 ballistic missile from Shaffar city in Hajjah governorate, northern Yemen that targeted Abha airport in Asir province, southern Saudi Arabia on August 30, according to a pro-al Houthi source. Saudi air defenses intercepted the missile in Asir province. [2]
  • A reported U.S. airstrike struck a vehicle carrying suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants near Ataq city  in Shabwah governorate, southern Yemen on August 30. The attack killed one suspected militant and injured two others.[3]
  • Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Daghir announced that the Central Bank in Sana’a will officially relocate from Sana’a to Aden. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) pledged $15 billion to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government for post-conflict reconstruction and recovery.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) outside a hotel adjacent to the Somali presidential palace in Mogadishu on August 30. The attack on the Somali Youth League (SYL) Hotel killed at least twelve individuals and wounded many others, including Somali cabinet members. Gunmen may have stormed the hotel following the blast. Al Shabaab launched a complex attack targeting the SYL Hotel that killed 11 individuals in February 2016.[5]
  • Senior al Shabaab commander Ibrahim Adan Ibrahim surrendered himself to the Somali Federal Government (SFG) in Mogadishu on August 29. Ibrahim played a prominent role in al Shabaab’s department for education. The SFG’s amnesty policy for defective fighters has been credited in leading to a number of high level defections.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked two Somali National Army (SNA) outposts near Afgoi in Lower Shabelle region on August 29. The militants obtained weapons and supplies and killed six SNA soldiers in the attack.[7]
  • Kenyan anti-terror police arrested two medical students attempting to join the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) in Malindi, Kilifi County, Kenya on August 28. The two men allegedly intended to travel to the semi-autonomous Puntland region of northern Somalia, where a pro-ISIS religious leader Abdul Qadir Mumin reportedly operates an approximately 15-member cell.[8]
[1] “Exclusive” Yemen council head hails peach push, wants Saudis to ‘feel pain’,” Reuters, August 29, 2016,; and “UN: Yemen talks in Kuwait end, peace efforts to continue,” al Arabiya August 6, 2016,
[2] “Army Launches Missile on Asir,” Saba News, August 30, 2016,; and “ #SaudiArabia defense stop ballistic missile #Asir,” Barakish, August 30, 2016,, and “ Houthis fire a ballistic missile from Shaffar toward Saudi Arabia,” Yemen News, August 30, 2016, and  “ Destroyed a number of sites and military gathers in enemy Saudi in Najran and Asir,” Ansaroallah, August, 30, 2016,  
[3] “Suspected al Qaeda member killed by a drone in Southeast Yemen,” al Masdar, August 30, 2016,; and “Shabwa: Drone bombed vehicles near the city of #al Qaeda near #Atiq city,” Barakish, August 30, 2016,, and “Urgent.. U.S. plane carried out air strikes in Southeast in Shabwa,” Aden Time, August 30, 2016  
[4] “Bin Daghr: The government is on its way to relocating the central bank from #Sana’a to #Aden,” Barakish, August 30, 2016,
[5] “Truck bomb targets SYL hotel in Mogadishu, 5 dead,” Shabelle News, August 30, 2016,; “Bomb explosion near Presidential Palace, two Goobjoog News journalists injured,” Goobjoog News, August 30, 2016,; RT News, Twitter, August 30, 2016,; and Over 12 people killed in car explosion near Somali Presidential Palace,” Goobjoog News, August 30, 2016,
[6] “Al-Shabaab’s education leader surrenders to government in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, August 30, 2016,; and “Al-Shabaab leader defects to Somali government,” Shabelle News, August 30, 2016,
[7] “Six dead in Al Shabaab raid on army bases in Somalia,” Shabelle News, August 30, 2016,
[8] “Kenyan arrest Two Somali students trying to join ISIS,” Shabelle News, August 30, 2016,
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