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 ambassador to the UN criticizes UN-led peace process; reported U.S. airstrike kills AQAP militants in central Shabwah governorate; AQAP militants attack al Houthi-Saleh forces in central Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh forces fire ballistic missile at Najran city, southern Saudi Arabia; al Houthi-Saleh forces shell Hadi government forces on northwestern Taiz-Lahij border
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks KDF base in Kolbio town on Somali-Kenyan border
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemen’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Khaled Hussein al Yemani, stated that President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government opposes UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s ceasefire proposal on January 26. Ould Cheikh Ahmed proposed a ceasefire to the UN Security Council on January 26 that would include the voluntary removal of al Houthi-Saleh armed forces from Sana’a city, the appointment a new Vice President, the establishment of a transition government, and the reopening of Sana’a airport. Yemani argued that Sana’a airport lies within the area of hostility and has been used for weapons smuggling on behalf of al Houthi-Saleh forces. Ould Cheikh Ahmed stated that the airport’s closure is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and will remain a component of upcoming ceasefire negotiations in Amman, Jordan.
- A reported U.S. airstrike killed three al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in al Haraj area, central Shabwah governorate on January 26. The U.S. last conducted airstrikes targeting AQAP militants in al Bayda governorate on January 20 and 22.
- AQAP continues to fight al Houthi-Saleh forces alongside local tribal militias in central Yemen. AQAP claimed to repel al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Dahimia village, al Udayn district, western Ibb governorate on January 26. An AQAP-linked Telegram account stated that its militants killed seven al Houthi-Saleh fighters and destroyed an al Houthi-Saleh technical while repelling the attack. AQAP militants also shelled al Houthi-Saleh forces near al Hajab village, Rada’a district, western al Bayda governorate, on January 27.
- Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired three ballistic missiles at Najran city in southern Saudi Arabia on January 27. Saudi forces intercepted the missiles with Patriot air defenses systems. Al Houthi-Saleh forces last targeted Saudi Arabia with a ballistic missile on November 15, 2016.
- Al Houthi-Saleh forces continued an artillery campaign against Hadi government forces based in Kirsh village in al Qubbaytah district, northwest Lahij governorate. Hadi government forces seized nearby Mount Kirsh on January 19 in response to al Houthi-Saleh artillery fire. They have struggled to drive al Houthi-Saleh forces out of the area surrounding Kirsh. Hadi government forces are advancing along Yemen’s Red Sea coast as part of Operation Golden Spear, but inland frontlines remain fixed.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants attacked a Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) base in Kolbio town in Lower Jubba region near the Kenyan border on January 27. Militants detonated multiple suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) before storming the base. Al Shabaab seized the base and claimed to have killed 57 KDF soldiers. Al Shabaab also burned vehicles, tents, and arms depots before withdrawing from the base. KDF forces recaptured the base with reinforcements from Hulugho, a town 18 km from Kolbio, after al Shabaab militants left the area. Official KDF reports claim that KDF forces killed scores of al Shabaab militants and successfully repelled the attack. Al Shabaab-linked Telegram channels claimed the attack was carried out by the Salah Nabhan brigade, the same al Shabaab militants responsible for the attack against a KDF base at El Adde KDF in Gedo region on January 15, 2016. Al Shabaab militants seized that base and killed over 100 KDF and AMISOM forces, while also taking many soldiers hostage.
 “Yemen’s Ambassador to the UN: Sana’a airport has become part of the area of conflict and the government cannot ensure aviation safety,” al Masdar, January 27, 2017, http://www.almasdaronline.com/article/88363, “Yemani: Sana’a airport will not open because it is part of military confrontations,” Aden Lange, January 27, 2017, http://adnlng.com/news/60991/, and “The Text of Ould Cheikh’s Briefing at the Security Council in New York on January 26, 2017,” Aden Tomorrow, January 27, 2017, http://adenghd.net/news/242309/.
“Three members of al Qaeda killed in a drone raid in the Shabwa,” January 27, 2017, http://barakish.net/news02.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=455387; and “ISIL on Run in Eastern Mosul, Pentagon Spokesman Says,” U.S. Department of Defense, January 23, 2017, https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1057200/isil-on-run-in-eastern-mosul-pentagon-spokesman-says.
 “AQAP claims to repel al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Dahimia village, al Udayn district, Ibb governorate”, Telegram, January 26, 2017; and AQAP claims to shell al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Hajab village, Rada’a district, al Bayda governorate.
 “Missile forces fire three missiles at Saudi camp in Najran,” Sabanews, January 27, 2017, http://www.sabanews.net/ar/news454302.htm and “Saudi Army launched ballistic missile defenses to hinder Houthis in city of Najran, Saudi Arabia,” al Masdar, January 27, 2017, http://www.almasdaronline.com/article/88364.
 “Saleh and Houthi militias are bombing villages and areas of Kirsh,” Aden Lange, January 27, 2017, http://adnlng.com/news/60961/.
 “Somalia’s al Shabaab says kills dozens of Kenyan troops in raid on base,” Reuters, January 27, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-somalia-attacks-idUSKBN15B0C9; and “The same battalion that hit El Adde struck the Kulbiyow base,” Telegram, January 27, 2017.