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 attacks targeting al Houthi-Saleh leaders in Ibb governorate; AQAP militants blow up an oil pipeline in southern Shabwah governorate; ISIS militants shell al Houthi-Saleh forces in western al Bayda governorate; AQAP releases video of Ansar al Sharia militants attacking al Houthi-Saleh forces in western al Bayda; security forces break up ISIS assassination cell in Aden city; Hadi government and popular resistance forces repel al Houthi-Saleh attack in eastern Taiz city; Coalition-backed security forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Midi city, Hajjah governorate
Horn of Africa: Unidentified aircraft strike al Shabaab training camp near Torotoro, Lower Shabelle region; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED in Burhakabo, Bay region; PSF kill three ISIS-linked fighters near Bashaashin village, Puntland; AMISOM and Somali security forces detain five suspected al Shabaab militants in Qoryooley, Lower Shabelle region; local militiamen seize polling place in Adado, Galgaduud region
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to conduct two improvised explosive device (IED) attacks targeting al Houthi-Saleh leaders in Ibb governorate on December 6. AQAP militants detonated a vehicle-born IED targeting an al Houthi-Saleh colonel in al Nadira, western Ibb governorate. AQAP militants detonated a second IED in Damat district, western Ibb. AQAP claimed an attack against al Houthi-Saleh forces in Ibb governorate on December 2.
- AQAP militants blew up an oil pipeline in al Uqla, southern Shabwah governorate on December 5. The pipeline connected gas production facilities in Ma’rib to an export terminal in coastal Belhaf, southern Shabwah. Emirati-trained security forces deployed to Belhaf to bolster security surrounding the pipeline on December 2.
- Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat al Bayda militants shelled al Houthi-Saleh forces near Qifa village, western al Bayda governorate, according to a claim on an ISIS-linked news agency on December 4. ISIS Wilayat al Bayda has claimed six attacks on al Houthi-Saleh forces in the Qifa area since mid-October.
- AQAP disseminated footage of its insurgent arm, Ansar Sharia, attacking al Houthi-Saleh forces in western al Bayda governorate on December 6. The sixteen-minute video, titled “Coverage of recent operations in al Bayda state,” features Ansar Sharia militants exchanging small arms fire with al Houthi-Saleh fighters, launching mortars, and operating heavy artillery. AQAP has previously criticized ISIS for claiming to be the defender of Sunnis against invading Shia al Houthi-Saleh forces in central Yemen, where AQAP has participated in the anti-al Houthi fight for years. AQAP last publicly claimed an attack in al Bayda on November 12.
- Coalition-backed security forces arrested members of an Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan cell in Aden city on December 6. The militants may be responsible for ISIS’s claimed assassination of a retired Political Security Organization colonel on November 22.
- Hadi government and popular resistance forces repelled an attack by al Houthi-Saleh forces in eastern Taiz city on December 6. Hadi government and allied forces claimed to seize residential positions in eastern Taiz city. A Hadi military source claimed that al Houthi-Saleh forces are mobilizing west of Taiz city in preparation for an attack on Hadi government forces near Mount Han.
- Hadi government forces with Saudi-led coalition air support clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Midi city, Hajjah governorate on December 6. Coalition airstrikes destroyed an al Houthi-Saleh weapon storage unit in Midi city. Coalition airstrikes also targeted al Houthi-Saleh positions in Haradh area, west of Midi city. Hadi government military sources claimed that the attacks killed approximately 30 al Houthi-Saleh troops.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Unidentified aircraft struck an al Shabaab training camp near Torotoro in Lower Shabelle region on December 6. Reported Western forces using rotary wing aircraft raided the camp following the strikes. The forces captured multiple al Shabaab operatives. U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) accompanied Somali SOF on raids in Torotoro on May 10 and September 5.
- Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a police station in Burhakabo, Bay region on December 5. The blast killed six individuals and wounded at least 10 others. Al Shabaab militants killed multiple police officers with an IED targeting a police station in Burhakabo on November 14.
- Puntland Security Forces (PSF) killed three ISIS-affiliated militants in Obolohe valley near Bashaashin village in northern Somalia on December 5. The militants were part of Abdiqadir Mumin’s ISIS-linked group, which captured Qandala village in northern Somalia on October 26. PSF launched an operation to clear Mumin’s forces from Qandala on November 29. PSF killed seven of Mumin’s fighters west of Qandala on December 3.
- African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces and Somali security personnel detained five suspected al Shabaab militants in Qoryooley town, Lower Shabelle region on December 5. Unidentified aircraft struck an al Shabaab training site in a village outside Qoryooley on November 25.
- Local militiamen stormed a polling place in Adado, Galgaduud region, halting Lower House elections for Galmudug State on December 5. Clashes broke out following a controversial round of voting for HirShabelle State’s Lower House elections on November 18. Incidents of violence and widespread voter fraud have tainted Somalia’s electoral process.