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: Reported U.S. airstrike kills AQAP militants in eastern al Bayda governorate; AQAP militants attack al Hizam forces in northern Abyan governorate; ISIS Wilayat al Bayda claims attack on al Houthi-Saleh forces in western al Bayda; Hadi government and popular resistance forces attack al Houthi-Saleh forces in Usaylan district, Shabwah governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces fire mortars at Hadi government positions in Kirsh district, northern Lahij governorate
Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab gunmen assassinate elector in Mogadishu; EU delays AMISOM reimbursement to Kenya; National Leadership Forum delays additional parliamentary elections until after presidential election
Yemen Security Brief
- A reported U.S. airstrike killed between two and four al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)-affiliated Ansar al Sharia militants on motorcycles in Amdamar area, al Sawmah district, eastern al Bayda governorate on December 29. An AQAP-affiliated Telegram channel confirmed the airstrike and reported the death of two militants. U.S. Central Command confirmed on December 23 that it conducted nine airstrikes targeting AQAP militants in Yemen between September 23 and December 13.
- Likely AQAP militants attacked Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces with small arms fire in al Ayn village, Lawder district, northern Abyan governorate on December 28. Locals also reported hearing an explosion in the area. AQAP last claimed an attack on al Hizam forces in Lawder district on December 25.
- The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat al Bayda claimed to attack al Houthi-Saleh forces in al A’abal, near Qifa village, in western al Bayda governorate on December 28. ISIS Wilayat al Bayda also disseminated pictures of its militants firing an artillery gun. ISIS Wilayat al Bayda last claimed an attack on al Houthi-Saleh forces near Qifa on December 27.
- Forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and allied forces attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in Usaylan district, northwestern Shabwah governorate on December 29. The Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on al Houthi-Saleh positions in Hajr Kahlan area, Shabwah governorate on December 29. Hajr Kahlan is located along a major road that links Usaylan district to Ataq city, the regional capital of Shabwah. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to repel the attacks. Hadi government forces seek to seize territory in Usaylan district to secure major roadways that lead to al Bayda and Ma’rib governorates. Hadi government forces seized territory in Usaylan and Bayhan districts on December 27.
- Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired mortars at Hadi government and allied positions in Kirsh district, northern Lahij governorate on December 29. Al Houthi-Saleh forces attacked Hadi government positions in Kirsh district on December 27. Kirsh district is located along a major highway connecting Aden and Taiz governorates. These attacks are part of operations to cut Hadi government supply lines into Taiz city.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Suspected al Shabaab gunmen assassinated a parliamentary elector in Mogadishu on December 29. Somali electors are tribal elders chosen to vote in the 2016 parliamentary election. Al Shabaab has assassinated several prominent targets in Mogadishu in the past two weeks. 
- The European Union (EU) delayed a quarterly payment to reimburse Kenya for its participation in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) coalition on December 29. The EU delayed the payment because it has not received verification that Kenya paid its AMISOM troops in the last quarter.
- The Somali National Leadership Forum (NLF) announced on December 29 it will delay the election of additional candidates to the Upper House of Somalia’s Parliament until after the upcoming presidential election. The presidential election is scheduled for January 24. The NLF’s decision to expand the Upper House is viewed by domestic critics as packing the legislature in favor of the outgoing NLF. This delay will exclude new parliamentarians from voting in the presidential election.