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 delegation suspends Geneva talks following ceasefire violations; coalition-backed popular resistance forces capture al Hazm and al Labanat military base in al Jawf governorate; al Houthis launch two unsuccessful missile attacks on a coalition base in Ma’rib and Najran, Saudi Arabia
Horn of Africa: IED blast hits SNA vehicle in Marko, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab claims credit for multiple attacks in eastern Kenya; Kenyan police issue warning of attacks by al Shabaab during holidays
Yemen Security Brief
- The al Houthi-General People’s Congress delegation suspended talks with internationally recognized President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s delegation on December 18, effectively bringing all negotiations to a halt. The al Houthi delegation refused to resume talks until the UN condemns ceasefire violations by pro-Hadi forces. Ceasefire violations by both sides derailed the talks for the past two days, and the al Houthis refused to release political prisoners before a permanent ceasefire agreement was reached.
- Coalition-backed popular resistance forces captured al Hazm, the capital of al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen, on December 18, as well as al Labanat military base, southeast of al Hazm. Pro-Hadi sources claimed that the attacks were in retaliation for al Houthi ceasefire violations.
- Al Houthi forces fired two missiles at coalition targets on December 18, reportedly in retaliation for ceasefire violations. The first, reportedly an OTR-21 Tochka rocket (SS-21 Scarab), targeted a coalition base in Ma’rib governorate in central Yemen, while the second, a “Qaher 1” missile allegedly modified from an S-75 Dvina (SA-2 Guideline), was fired into Najran governorate in southern Saudi Arabia. Saudi officials stated that coalition forces intercepted the first missile over Ma’rib governorate, while the other missile fell in the desert east of Najran city.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- An improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) vehicle detonated on December 18 in Marko, Lower Shabelle region. The blast killed at least two soldiers and wounded a civilian. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Al Shabaab claimed credit for multiple attacks against Kenyan security forces in eastern Kenya during the past week. Sheikh Abdul Abu Musab, an al Shabaab spokesperson, said in an interview on December 17 that the group recently conducted five separate attacks in Kenya. Musab also condemned the Kenyan government, disputing the government’s claim that it successfully cleared al Shabaab from the country. Pro-al Shabaab media outlet Shahada News Agency disseminated the interview.
- Kenyan authorities issued a warning of possible attacks by al Shabaab militants in Kenya during the holiday season. Kenyan intelligence reports indicate that approximately eleven wanted al Shabaab militants may have illegally crossed from Somalia into Kenya in preparation for attacks. A number of the militants were involved in the 2014 Mpeketoni attacks, in which over sixty people were killed in Kenya’s Lamu County. Kenyan police are actively searching for the militants and are disseminating their descriptions in settlements along the Kenyan-Somali border.