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: Yemeni government forces launch offensive against the al Houthi-Saleh alliance in Sana’a governorate; UN-led peace talks in Kuwait suspended for one month; suspected AQAP militants kill Yemeni colonel in Abyan governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces kill Saudi border guard; al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council announces ten members

Horn of Africa: Somali government announces timeline for parliamentary and presidential elections; al Shabaab militants shell Baidoa town, Bay region; al Shabaab militants fire on vehicle transporting qat in El Waregow, Lower Shabelle region; suspected al Shabaab militants attempt to assassinate Somali Minister in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi launched a major offensive against the al Houthi-Saleh alliance in Nihm district, Sana’a governorate on August 6. The Saudi-led air coalition supported the Hadi government forces, which seized Mt. Manara in central Nihm and are attempting to take control of a major road leading into Sana’a, Yemen’s capital. Coalition airstrikes killed nine civilians in Odhar village in the Nihm area, outside of Sanaa northern Yemen, on August 7 and reportedly struck a civilian home in central Nihm on August 8, killing five people. Coalition warplanes conducted more than 20 strikes on Republican Guard targets in Arhab, northwestern Sana’a on August 8. The Republican Guard is loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.[1]
  • The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, announced the suspension of the UN-led peace talks in Kuwait on August 6. Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced that the peace talks would resume within a month and said that consultations will continue during that time. He emphasized the need for a political solution in Yemen and called for the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions.[2]
  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants killed Yemeni Colonel Abdullah Shamba in Abyan province southern Yemen, on August 7. Militants on motorcycles fired on the Col. Shamba, who led an anti-AQAP militia in Abyan.[3]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces killed a Saudi border guard with small arms fire near the Saudi-Yemeni border on August 7. Coalition spokesperson Brigadier General Ahmed al Asiri accused the al Houthis of escalating cross-border attacks after the breakdown of UN-led peace talks on August 6.[4]
  • An al Houthi news outlet published the names of the ten members of the Supreme Political Council, established on July 28 by a power-sharing agreement between the al Houthi political wing Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress party (GPC) led by former President Saleh, on August 6. The council comprises five GPC members, five Ansar Allah members, and the former commander of the Third Military District.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Somali Federal Election Implementation Team (FEIT) announced the official polling dates for the presidential and parliamentary elections in Mogadishu on August 7. The elections for the Upper and Lower House will begin on September 25 and conclude by October 10. The new parliament will then select a president on October 30. The elections will operate under the “4.5 system,” in which leaders of the four main clans play the central role.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants fired mortars targeting the airport in Baidoa town in Bay region on August 6. The militants inadvertently killed a 15-year-old girl and wounded four other civilians when a mortar struck a nearby household. Al Shabaab militants killed two civilians with mortar strikes on Baidoa on July 2.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants opened fire on a vehicle transporting qat near El Waregow area in Lower Shabelle region on August 6. The militants killed one woman and injured several other civilians. Al Shabaab condemns the use of qat, which is a natural stimulant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.[8]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants attempted to assassinate the Somali Youth and Sports Minister in Mogadishu with a grenade on August 7.  Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan survived the attack, which wounded a passenger in his car.[9]

[2]  “Yemen's Hadi launches military operation east of Sanaa, peace talks end”, Reuters, August 6, 2016,; and “Ould Cheikh Ahmed says that the military solution is not possible in Yemen and there is no substitute for a political solution,” al Masdar, August 8, 2016,
[3] “Yemeni Army Colonel Assasinated”, Yemen Akhbar, August 7, 2016,; and “Al-Qaeda suspects kill Yemen army colonel”, The Indian Express, August 7, 2016,
[4] “Yemen's Hadi launches military operation east of Sanaa, peace talks end”, Reuters, August 6, 2016,; and “Saudi soldier dies in cross border fire with Yemen”, Gulf Business, August 7 2016,
[5] “Names of the leaders of the Supreme Political Council and their political affiliations and their government work,” al Amal News, August 6, 2016,
[6] “AMISOM head hails Somalia for polls date announcement,” Goobjoog News, August 8, 2016,; and “EXCLUSIVE: Poll dates out, President to be elected October 30, 2016,” Goobjoog News, August 7, 2016,
[7] “Somalia: 1 dead, 4 hurt in mortar strike on Baidoa town,” Shabelle News, August 6, 2016,; and “Al-Shabaab fires mortars on Baidoa City,” Shabelle News, August 6, 2016,
[8] “Somalia: At least 1 killed & 7 wounded in attack on by Al Shabaab,” Shabelle News, August 6, 2016,
[9] “Sports Minister Mohamed Hassan escapes grenade attack in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, August 8, 2016,
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