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: AQAP claims IED attack on al Houthi-Saleh forces on al Bayda frontline; Hadi government forces seize territory in Sirwah district, Ma’rib governorate; Saudi-led coalition resumes airstrikes south of Sana’a city

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab media outlet claims responsibility for attacks, assassinations, and sabotage; Somali Parliament sworn into office in Mogadishu; al Shabaab takes control of Moqokori town, Hiraan Region; Jubbaland security forces announce offensive against al Shabaab in Lower and Middle Jubba regions

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Arqub district on December 28. Conflicting reports placed the attack in both Abyan and al Bayda governorates. The attack most likely occurred in al Bayda, where AQAP militants are fighting alongside anti-al Houthi forces along an active frontline. Al Houthi-Saleh forces also attacked popular resistance forces allied with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in al Quraishi district, northwestern al Bayda governorate on December 27. Three al Houthi-Saleh troops were killed during the clashes.[1]
  • Hadi government forces claimed to seize territory in al Makhadara area, Sirwah district, Ma’rib governorate on December 28. The Hadi government seeks to secure western Ma’rib governorate to support an offensive on Sana’a city, Yemen’s capital. Hadi government and popular resistance forces attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in Sirwah district on December 27 and 28. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to repel the attacks.[2]
  • The Saudi-led coalition resumed airstrikes on multiple al Houthi-Saleh positions south of Sana’a city on December 27. Coalition airstrikes targeted a military camp in Sanhan district, Sana’a governorate. Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck multiple al Houthi-Saleh positions in Nihm district, northeast of Sana’a city, on December 24-27.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab media claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, assassinations, and sabotage operations in southern Somalia, Puntland, and Kenya between December 22 and 26. The most notable claims include the assassination of a military prosecutor in Boosaso, Puntland Region on December 25 and the destruction of Safaricom telecommunications infrastructure in eastern Kenya on December 24.[4]
  • The newly elected Somali Parliament assumed office on December 28 in Mogadishu. Five of the body’s 347 seats remain unfilled due to insecurity and electoral disputes.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants took control of Moqokori town, Hiraan region from Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces on December 28. The SNA and AMISOM troops withdrew from the town without a fight. The SNA will reportedly launch a counteroffensive to retake the town in the coming week.[6]
  • The commander of Jubbaland security forces announced the beginning of an offensive to clear the Lower and Middle Jubba Regions of al Shabaab militants on December 28. Al Shabaab remains capable of attacking Jubbaland forces despite recent territorial losses.[7]
[1] AQAP claimed attacks against al Houthi-Saleh forces in northern Abyan, Telegram, December 28, 2016; and “Popular resistance announces three al Houthi-Saleh troops killed in clashes in Quraishi, al Bayda,” al Masdar, December 27, 2016,
[2] “Government forces launched a military operation to liberate sites in Sirwah and al Makhadra in west Ma’rib,” al Masdar, December 28, 2016,; and “Army repulses two attacks in Sirwah,” Saba News, December 28, 2016,
[3] “Renewed raids south of Sana’a capital,” Barakish, December 28, 2016,
[4] “Shabaab Claims Attacks on Somali, Burundian, and Kenyan Forces,” SITE, December 27, 2016,
[5] “Somali parliament officially resumes its legislative responsibility,” Goobjoog, December 28, 2016,; and “UPDATED: Somalia swears in its 10th new parliament,” Shabelle News, December 27, 2016,
[6] “Al-Shabaab takes control of Moqokori district from SNA,” Shabelle News, December 28, 2016
[7] “Jubbaland security forces set to launch major offensive on Al-Shabaab regions,” Goobjoog,  December 28, 2016,
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