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: Saudi-led coalition resumes airstrikes on Sana’a city; AQAP withdraws from Azzan, Shabwah; al Houthi-Saleh forces attack government forces in eastern Ma’rib governorate; former President Saleh and al Houthi leaders seek vote to legitimize Supreme Political Council in Sana’a; coalition airstrikes target al Houthi-Saleh forces in Taiz

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants conduct IED attack in Daynille district, Mogadishu; Somali President calls for increased security for upcoming elections; al Shabaab militants destroy vehicles in Jilib, Lower Jubba region

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes on Sana’a city on August 9. The strikes are the first on the capital city, which is controlled by the al Houthi-Saleh alliance, since a UN-brokered ceasefire began in April 2016. The strikes targeted the presidential compound, a special forces camp in western Sana’a, the al Arqoub military camp in Khawlan district south of the capital, Mount Khadam northeast of the capital, and a Republican Guard base in Arhab district. The Republican Guards are loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Coalition warplanes also bombed a factory in western Sana’a, killing approximately 14 civilians. The coalition is providing air support for forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government, which launched an offensive on August 6 in Nihm district in an effort to seize control of a main road leading into Sana’a city.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) withdrew from Azzan in Shabwah governorate following Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on militant positions in the city. AQAP took control of Azzan in February 2016.[2]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to kill 37 Hadi government troops in Sirwah district, eastern Ma’rib governorate on August 9, according to pro-al Houthi sources.  Al Houthi-Saleh forces intensified attacks in eastern Ma’rib after Hadi government forces launched an offensive operation in neighboring Sana’a governorate on August 6.[3]
  • Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and al Houthi leadership plan to convene parliament in Sana’a on August 13 in order to hold a vote on the newly created Supreme Political Council, according to a Saudi source. The vote seeks to legitimize the Council, which was established by a power-sharing agreement between the al Houthi political wing, Ansar Allah, and former President Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) part on July 28.[4]
  • Coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi-Saleh military camps in Taiz district on August 9. Airstrikes also struck an al Houthi-Saleh regional headquarters in al Hawban, outside of Taiz city, and Taiz International Airport.  Al Houthi-Saleh forces shelled the Tabat and al Da’awa neighborhoods in Taiz in response. Hadi government forces advanced incrementally in eastern Taiz governorate.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Somali National Army (SNA) forces in the Daynille district of Mogadishu on August 8. The blast injured at least four SNA soldiers. Militants conducted a second blast targeting the emergency response vehicle transporting the victims.[6]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called for increased security and surveillance measures in the lead-up to the presidential and parliamentary elections on August 9. President Mohamud voiced concerns over al Shabaab efforts to disrupt the upcoming elections during a meeting of Somali and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) security forces.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants torched three vehicles in Jilib town, Lower Jubba region, Somalia on August 8. The militants who destroyed the vehicles claimed to see an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) above the location.[8]

[1] “Renewed violent in the capital Sana'a and its surroundings” Barakish, August 8, 2016; and Ahmed al-Haj, “Saudi-led coalition hits food factory, killing 14 civilians,” AP, August 9, 2016,; and  “Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen capital resume, nine civilians killed: residents,” Reuters, August 9, 2016,
[2] Mohammed Mukhashaf and Noah Browning, “Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen capital resume, nine civilians killed,”Reuters, August 9, 2016,;  “Al Qaeda withdraws entirely from the town of Azzan in Shabwa province after Alliance raids,” Al Masdar, August 9, 2016,; and James Towey, 2016 Yemen Crisis Situation Report: February 1, AEIs Critical Threats Project, February 1, 2016,
[3] “Army purges hills in Mareb, killing many hirelings,” Saba News, August 8, 2016,; and Leith Fadel, “Houthi forces inch closer to Yemen regime stronghold,” al Masdar News, August 9, 2016,
[4] “Yemen’s Ousted President Seeks to Legitimize Political Council,” Asharq Al-Awsat, August 9, 2016,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review: July 29, 2016, AEIs Critical Threats Project, July 29, 2016,
[5] “More than 10 raids targeting Houthi positions and checkpoints in Taiz,” al Masdar, August 9, 2016,; and “Houthis have intensified their shelling of Taiz on high-end neighborhoods in conjunction with the fierce battles,” al Masdar, August 9, 2016,
[6] “Four Govt Soldiers injured in Mogadishu Blasts,” Shabelle News, August 8, 2016,; and “One person killed in bomb explosion in north of Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, August 8, 2016,
[7] “Somali President warns of Al-Shabaab attacks during polls, appeals to Amisom for enhanced security,” Goobjoog News, August 9, 2016,
[8] “Al Shabaab burns vehicles in Jilib town,” Shabelle News, August 8, 2016,
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