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: Militants assassinate security officer in southern Shabwah governorate; reported U.S. airstrike targets AQAP militants in Hadramawt governorate; likely AQAP militants detonate IED in northern Abyan governorate; Hadi government forces mobilize from Hadramawt to Ma’rib governorate; Saudi-led coalition and al Houthi-Saleh forces exchange attacks near Saudi-Yemeni border

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab ambushes convoy near El Baraf, Middle Shabelle region; al Shabaab attacks KDF convoy in Garissa County, Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • Militants assassinated a retired colonel from Yemen’s Political Security Organization (PSO), an internal security and intelligence service, near the Qat market in Jul al Ridah village, southern Shabwah governorate on December 1. The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) assassinated at least four PSO officers in southern Yemen in the last four months.[1]
  • A reported U.S. airstrike targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Abr district, western Hadramawt governorate on December 1. The last reported U.S. airstrike in Yemen targeted AQAP militants in al Bayda governorate on November 28.[2]
  • Likely al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting al Hizam security forces in Lawder district, northern Abyan governorate on December 1. AQAP militants conduct near daily attacks against Emirati-backed al Hizam forces in southern Yemen. Abyan’s security chief announced a plan to recruit 2,000 troops for counterterrorism and stabilization operations on December 1.[3]
  • The 37 Armored Brigade loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government redeployed from Hadramawt governorate to Ma’rib governorate on December 1. Hadi government forces and al Houthi-Saleh forces have vied for control of western Ma’rib for months. Hadi government and popular resistance forces seek to control western Ma’rib as part of shaping operations for an offensive on Yemen’s capital city, Sana’a.[4]
  • The Saudi-led coalition conducted several airstrikes on al Houthi-Saleh-held territory in northern Yemen. The coalition struck several locations in Sa’ada governorate on December 1, according to al Houthi news outlets. Residents reported 20 different coalition airstrikes in Sa’ada on November 30. Coalition airstrikes killed four civilians, including two children, in Shada district, Sa’ada, near the Yemeni-Saudi border on November 29. Coalition warplanes also struck an al Houthi-Saleh position in neighboring al Jawf governorate in contested al Maton district on December 1. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed multiple cross-border attacks into Najran and Jazan regions, southern Saudi Arabia on December 1.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed a convoy transporting a local official with small arms fire in El Baraf area, Middle Shabelle region on December 1. The attack killed two members of the security forces and a body guard and wounded Jalalaqsi district commander Mohamed Abdulle Fidow. Al Shabaab militants fired mortars targeting Burundian AMISOM positions in El Baraf on November 6.[6]
  • Al Shabaab ambushed Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) traveling from Garissa to Galmagala towns in Garissa County on November 30. The militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) and attacked with small arms fire. Al Shabaab claimed to kill five KDF soldiers.[7]
[1] “Urgent: Gunmen assassinated an officer in the security apparatus in Shabwah,” Aden Tomorrow, December 1, 2016,
[2] Demolinari, Twitter, December 1, 2016,
[3] “Urgent: targeting military truck with improvised explosive device in Lawder, no casualties,” Aden Tomorrow, December 1, 2016,; and “Abyan is preparing a plan to track down terror cells,” Aden Tomorrow, December 1, 2016,
[4] “Urgent: start transfers 37 armored brigade from Hadramawt to Marib,” Aden Tomorrow, December 1, 2016,
[5] “Sources: More than 20 coalition raid targeting Sa’ada,” December 1, 2016,; “Alliance aggression continue aerial bombardment and missile on different parts of Sa’ada,” Saba News, December 30, 2016,; “4 civilians including 2 children killed by coalition airstrike in Sa'ada,” al Masdar, November 30, 2016,; “Air raid aggression aimed at gathering in Maton district al Jawf,” Saba News, December 1, 2016,; and “Army artillery and missile committees tamping number of Saudi military sites in Najran, Jizan,” al Masirah, December 1, 2016,
[6] “Jalalaqsi DC injured in Al Shabaab ambush attack,” Shabelle News, December 1, 2016,
[7] “Al Shabaab carries attacks in Somalia and Kenya,” Shabelle News, December 1, 2016,; and Live From Mogadishu, Twitter, December 1, 2016,  
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