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: Yemeni Foreign Minister meets with Russian Foreign Minister in Abu Dhabi; AQAP militants ambush al Houthi-Saleh forces in Ibb governorate; warship allegedly shells AQAP militants in Abyan governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants ambush Southwest State military convoy in Bay region; al Shabaab militants attempt to assassinate Somali senator in Mogadishu; Kenyan parliamentarians urge KDF withdrawal from Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Foreign Minister, Abdul Malik Mikhlafi, met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on February 1. The pair discussed the Hadi government’s plan to pay government employees’ salaries with currency printed in Russia. The Hadi government announced the plan when a shipment of Russian-printed Yemeni riyals arrived in Aden on January 6. The meeting took place at the Fourth Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum. Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan stated that Russia and Arab states need to coordinate in a unified and transparent manner to combat terrorism during the forum.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants ambushed al Houthi-Saleh forces in Naqil Samara, Ibb governorate central Yemen on January 31. AQAP claimed to kill an al Houthi-Saleh commander and two militants in the ambush. AQAP last attacked al Houthi-Saleh militants in Ibb on January 27.[2]
  • A warship may have shelled AQAP militants in Shaqra area, southern Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on January 31, according to unconfirmed reports. Yemeni fisherman claimed to have seen a warship off the coast of Shaqra. Local sources claimed that the ship was American. Its affiliation is not confirmed. The Saudi-led coalition maintains a naval blockade on Yemen that often causes tension with local fishermen and traffickers.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Southwest State military convoy near Baidoa city, the capital of Bay region in southern Somalia, on February 1. Al Shabaab militants attacked the convoy with heavy gunfire on the road between Baidoa and Burhakabo town. Burhakabo’s district police chief, Col. Ibrahim Hussein Mohamed, confirmed the deaths of several soldiers in the ambush. Al Shabaab frequently ambushes Somali military convoys, sometimes with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), along the road between Baidoa and Burhakabo.[4]
  • Al Shabaab militants attempted to assassinate Somali Senator Osman Mohamud Dufle by detonating an IED outside his business in the Hodan district of Mogadishu on February 2. Al Shabaab militants detonated the IED as Senator Dufle passed in a convoy. The attack caused no casualties. Al Shabaab has targeted government officials and politicians during the ongoing federal election process. Al Shabaab militants also conducted a complex attack on a hotel frequented by Somali parliamentarians in Mogadishu on January 25.[5]
  • A growing number of Kenyan Members of Parliament (MPs) are calling for the withdrawal of Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) from Somalia. Balambala MP Abdikadir Aden urged Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to “seriously consider withdrawing KDF from Somalia and have military men and women deployed to guard our borders.” KDF forces first entered Somalia in 2011 during Operation Linda Nchi to drive al Shabaab out of strongholds in southwestern Somalia. Al Shabaab militants attacked KDF forces at a base in Kolbio town, Lower Jubba region on January 27, killing more than 50 KDF soldiers.[6]


[1] “Mikhlafi meets with his Russian counterpart to discuss the latest developments in Yemen,” Sabanew, February 1, 2017,, “Russia renews its support for legitimate authority in Yemen,” Aden Tomorrow, February 1, 2017,, and “Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum emphasizes the fight against terrorism,” Barakish, February 1, 2017,
[2] AQAP claims attack against al Houthi-Saleh forces in Naqil Samara, Ibb Governorate, Telegram, February 1, 2017.
[3] “Urgent: naval bombardment targeted by armed groups in Mawjan and al Maraqisha,” Aden Lang, February 1, 2017,; and Sheikh bin Nayef, Twitter, January 31, 2017,
[4] “Al Shabaab attacks army convoy near Baidoa city,” Shabelle News, February 1, 2017,
[5] “A Senator narrowly escapes death in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, February 1, 2017,
[6] “Lawmaker calls for KDF withdrawal from Somalia,” Shabelle News, February 1, 2017,
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