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: ISIS suicide bomber attacks military training camp in Aden; UN to seek 1.8 billion in humanitarian aid for Yemen; popular resistance forces attack al Houthi checkpoint in Bayhan, Shabwah governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab court executes man for espionage in Hiraan region, Somalia; suspected al Shabaab gunmen attack Turkish workers in Mogadishu, Somalia; al Shabaab announces success of February 16 Afgooye attacks; Kenyan government to build jihadist-only prison

Yemen Security Brief

  • An Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest at a military training camp in Aden on February 17. The attack killed at least 13 new recruits and wounded at least 60 at Ras Abbas camp in Aden’s southwestern Burayqa district. The attacker, identified as Abu Isa al Ansari, wore a military uniform over his suicide vest that allowed him to pass through the camp unnoticed. The attack is the third explosive attack claimed by ISIS Wilayat Aden-Abyan this year, following two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attacks on security checkpoints near Aden’s presidential palace.[1]
  • The United Nations plans to seek 1.8 billion USD in humanitarian aid for Yemen in a campaign beginning February 18, according to Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien. The appeal comes at a time of growing international concern over Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. International aid organizations have struggled to deliver supplies to target populations, though several were recently able to deliver food and medical aid to the besieged city of Taiz. The United Nations’ 2015 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen sought to raise 1.6 billion USD but only raised 893 million.[2]
  • Popular resistance forces killed three al Houthi-Saleh soldiers at a checkpoint in Bayhan, Shabwah governorate on February 17. A tribal mediation on February 10 ruled that al Houthi forces leave the city. Local popular resistance leaders, who were not party to the mediation, expressed doubt that the al Houthis would abide by the ruling.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • An al Shabaab court tried and executed a man for espionage in the village of Eel Warre near Bulo-Barde in central Somalia’s Hiraan region on February 16, according to residents.   The victim, identified as Barre Hasan Dhore, was charged with spying on the militant group for the Somali government and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and was summarily executed by firing squad.[4] 
  • Suspected al Shabaab gunmen conducted a drive-by shooting on a van of Turkish construction works in the village of Bulo-Hubey, outside of Mogadishu, on February 16, killing at least one person.  This attack comes several days after al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Daallo Airlines flight and stated that it sought to kill the  Turkish “NATO agents” aboard the plane.  The group also has a history of targeting Turkish buildings and workers in Somalia’s capital, due to Turkey’s support for the Somali Federal Government.[5]    
  • Al Shabaab announced the success of its February 16 attack on military and police positions in Afgooye village, near Mogadishu, and claimed that the operation killed 35 Somali and AMISOM soldiers.  Militants also looted arms caches in the town before Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM troops repelled them. Al Shabaab also refuted claims made by the SNA that government forces controlled the town during the entirety of the battle, insisting that the militants fully controlled Afgooye overnight.[6] 
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that his government will start construction of a new prison exclusively for jihadist terrorist suspects and prisoners.  President Kenyatta admitted that the project still requires funding but emphasized that the separate prison is necessary to stop jihadist prisoners from spreading their ideology to other criminals.[7] 
[1] Mohammed Mukhashaf, “Suicide bomber kills at least 13 recruits at Yemen army camp,” Reuters, February 17, 2016,
[2] “UN Launching $1.8 Billion Campaign for Urgent Aid in Yemen,” Voice of America, February 17, 2016,
[3] “Casualties and wounded in an attack on al Houthis in Bayhan,” Barakish, February 17, 2016,
“Director of Asilan district in Shabwah: The al Houthis entered Bayhan by force and they will not leave except by force,” Al Masdar, February 10, 2016,
[4] “Somali militants execute a man for espionage,” Kulmiye News Network, February 16, 2016,
Daudoo via Twitter, February 16, 2015,
[5] “Drive by shooting in Mogadishu targets Turkish staff,” Shabelle News, February 16, 2016,
[6] SITE Intelligence Group, source available upon request.
“Somali troops ‘repel’ major militants attack on town near Mogadishu,” Hiiraan News Online, February 17, 2016,   
[7] “Kenya to build prison for jihadists,” BBC News, February 16, 2016,  
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