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: Clashes continue between pro-Hadi forces and suspected AQAP militants in Aden; ISIS Wilayat Hadramawt claims attack on military vehicle in al Qatan, Hadramawt; Vice President Bahah says pro-government forces are close to Sana’a

Horn of Africa: AMISOM claims al Shabaab possesses AMISOM uniforms; SNA troops skirmish with Interim Southwest Administration militia in Bardhere, Gedo region, Somalia; suspected al Shabaab members behead cleric in Buulobarde, Hiiraan region, Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Clashes resumed between military and security forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Aden on February 10. Local sources reported explosions near the Aden International Airport and fighting near the Coral Hotel and Worker’s Island in Khormaksar district. Military and security forces, backed by Saudi-led coalition air support, clashed with militants in al Mansoura district, north of Khormaksar, on February 9. Militants continued to move openly in the area into the night.[1]
  • The Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Hadramawt claimed responsibility on February 9 for an attack on a Yemeni army vehicle in al Qatan in central Hadramawt. ISIS Wilayat Hadramawt released a separate video on February 3 highlighting the group’s training, as well as footage of three previously claimed attacks.[2]
  • Yemeni Vice President Khaled Bahah declared that coalition-backed forces now control 80 percent of the county and are close to the capital Sana’a, in a statement at the World Government Summit in Dubai on February 9. Bahah’s statement follows over a week of intense fighting in Nihm district, northeast of Sana’a, which many pro-government media and analysts cast as a prelude to a battle for the capital itself.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) stated on February 10 that al Shabaab militants possess AMISOM military uniforms and intend to use them in future attacks.  AMISOM’s official Twitter account said that the uniforms were stolen from AMISOM bases and called on all Somalis to be vigilant.  Al Shabaab has used AMISOM uniforms to approach major military installations before launching attacks.[4]
  • Somali National Army (SNA) troops skirmished with Interim Southwest Administration (ISWA) militia in Khat Market in Bardhere in Somalia’s Gedo region on February 10.  Local reports indicate that the SNA soldiers attempted to disarm the ISWA men when a gun battle broke out, killing two soldiers and wounding at least five.  ISWA claims control of the Bay, Bakool, and Lower Shabelle regions, contesting the authority of the Somali Federal Government.[5]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants beheaded a prominent Islamic cleric near Buulobarde in Somalia’s Hiiraan region on February 10.  The victim, identified as Sheikh Abdullahi Abdulaziz, was found dead in a nearby suburb the day after his apparent abduction.[6] 
[1] “Battles resume in al Mansoura in Aden city and violent explosions rock residential areas,” Al Masdar, February 10,
[2] “IS al-Bayan Provincial News Recaps for February 9, 2016,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 9, 2016, source available upon request.
[3] “Yemeni VP Bahah: ‘We are on the outskirts of Sanaa,’” Al Arabiya, February 9, 2016,
[4] “Somali militants planning attacks disguised as peacekeepers: AU force,” Reuters, February 10, 2016,
[5] “Breaking news: two killed and five others injured in Bardhere town,” Goobjoog News, February 10, 2016,
“Somalia: One dies, two hurt in Bardere fighting,” Shabelle News, February 10, 2016,
[6] “An Islamic scholar beheaded in central Somalia,” Shabelle News, February 10, 2016,
“Suspected members of Al-shabaab abduct, behead cleric near Buulo – burde,” Wacaal Media, February 10, 2016,  
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