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: Hadi government forces fight for control of Mokha city, Taiz governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces reinforce defenses in Wazi’iyah district, Taiz governorate; Jordan to host Yemen peace talks

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab executes three men in Bay region; SNA bombards civilian areas in Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi seized parts of Jabal al Nar on the road between Mokha city and Camp Khalid bin al Waleed on January 26. Hadi government forces are advancing into Mokha city and surrounding neighborhoods as part of Operation Golden Spear. Landmines planted by al Houthi-Saleh forces have slowed the advance. The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes against al Houthi-Saleh positions in southern and eastern Mokha city, indicating that the area is still contested. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted a communications facility used by al Houthi-Saleh forces north of Mokha in al Maruah district, al Hudaydah governorate.[1]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces planted a large minefield in al Wazi’iyah district, Taiz governorate to defend their positions against popular resistance forces aligned with the Hadi government. Both sides exchanged artillery fire on January 26 as popular resistance fighters participating in Operation Golden Spear advanced towards al Houthi-Saleh positions. The Hadi government’s Operation Golden Spear aims to seize Yemen’s western coast and cut off al Houthi-Saleh supply routes to cities, including Taiz and Sana’a.[2]
  • Hadi government sources announced that Jordan will host the next round of ceasefire negotiations between Hadi government representatives and al Houthi-Saleh representatives. UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed met with al Houthi-Saleh representatives on January 23 and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on January 18. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced on December 18 that the U.S., UK, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Oman hoped to convene ceasefire talks in Amman, Jordan in January 2017.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab executed three men by firing squad in Yaaq Barawe town, Bay region in southwestern Somalia on January 26. Al Shabaab accused the men of spying for the U.S., Kenyan, and Somali governments. Al Shabaab carried out a similar execution of three men in Buale town, Middle Jubba region on January 10.[4]
  • Somali National Army (SNA) forces fired mortars at suspected al Shabaab positions in a residential area of Bulo-Marer district in Lower Shabelle region on January 26. The bombardment killed one civilian and wounded eight others. Residents accused the SNA of firing indiscriminately into the village. SNA Colonel Hassan Jama confirmed the civilian casualties. The UN criticized the SNA and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for killing 92 civilians in the last four months of 2016 in a recent report.[5]


[1]“Government forces liberated 170th Brigade headquarters east of Mokha and attack militias in al Wazi’iyah,” al Masdar, January 26, 2017,  “Taiz: army combs nearby compounds in neighborhoods of Mokha,” Barakish, January 26, 2017,,, and “Taiz: Army control parts of Jabal al Nar East of Mokha,” Barakish, January 26, 2017,
[2] “Southern Resistance besieging Mount Sufi in Wazi’iyah District and Shelling al Houthi,” Aden Tomorrow, January 26, 2017,
[3] “Jordan agrees to host the Peace Commission on Yemen,” Barakish, January 25, 2017, and “Yemeni government declares its readiness to participate in "Ould Cheikh’s" meeting in Jordan,” Aden Tomorrow, December 21, 2016,
[4] “Al Shabaab executes alleged spies in Southern Somalia,” Garowe Online, January 26, 2017,
[5] “One killed, eight hurt in SNA bombardment,” Shabelle News, January 26, 2017,
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