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: Al Houthi-Saleh forces counterattack against Hadi government forces in northern Sa’ada governorate; popular resistance forces seize territory near the Bab al Mandeb strait; AQAP militants attack al Houthi-Saleh forces in central al Bayda governorate; Hadi government forces advance northwest of Taiz city

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims attack on government militia barracks near Mogadishu; Somali security forces arrest al Shabaab militants in Jalalaqsi, Hiraan region; Somali security forces increase security in Mogadishu after multiple al Shabaab bombings; U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter commends AMISOM efforts to combat al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched a counterattack against forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in Sa’ada governorate on January 5. Al Houthi-Saleh forces attempted to retake Jebel Mandabah, Baqim district in northeastern Sa’ada and Alb area, al Buqa’ district in northwestern Sa’ada. Hadi government and popular resistance forces repelled the attack. Al Houthi-Saleh forces also shelled Hadi government forces in Alb on January 6. Hadi government forces seized the al Houthi-Saleh 101st Brigade headquarters near Alb on January 1.[1]
  • Popular resistance forces allied with the Hadi government claim to have seized territory near the Bab al Mandeb strait in Lahij governorate on January 6. The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes in the same region on January 5. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to repel the January 6 attack. Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired multiple missiles at Hadi government and allied forces at a military base near the Bab al Mandeb strait on January 4-5.[2]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants claimed to attack al Houthi-Saleh forces in central al Bayda governorate on January 5. An AQAP-linked Telegram channel claimed that AQAP militants targeted an al Houthi-Saleh training camp. AQAP last claimed an attack against al Houthi-Saleh forces in southern al Bayda governorate on January 4.[3]
  • Hadi government and popular resistance forces made minor advances in northwestern Taiz governorate. Hadi government forces claimed to seize multiple mountains in Maqbanah district, northwest of Taiz city, on January 6. Saudi-led coalition warplanes provided air support. Hadi government forces also claimed to seize parts of Maqbanah district on January 5.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants claimed to attack a government militia barracks in the Amada area on the outskirts of Mogadishu on January 6. A pro-al Shabaab Telegram account reported that militants killed four militia members and wounded seven others in the attack.[5]
  • Somali security forces arrested several al Shabaab militants in Jalalaqsi in Hiraan region on January 5. Al Shabaab, which has controlled Jalalaqsi town in the past, uses residential areas as support zones to prepare attacks. The arrests follow al Shabaab attacks on a military checkpoint in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on January 4. Al Shabaab also conducted multiple vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attacks in Mogadishu since January 2.[6]
  • Somali security forces intensified search operations in several neighborhoods in Mogadishu. Somali security forces increased security in response to al Shabaab VBIED attacks on African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and UN targets on January 2 and 4. Dozens of police officers deployed along major streets to secure the city, where elections for parliament speakers and Somalia’s president are scheduled to occur later this month.[7]
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter lauded AMISOM for its efforts to combat al Shabaab. Secretary Carter praised AMISOM for driving al Shabaab out of Mogadishu and generating the security environment necessary for political progress.[8]


[1] “Sa’ada: the death of the commander of the axis Houthis in front cans in a failed attack on army positions,” Barakish, January 6, 2017,; Ansar Allah, Twitter, January 6, 2017,
[2]“Southern Resistance Front forces report victory and three martyred”, Aden Ghad, January 6, 2017,; “Dozens of Mercenaries injured and killed in Lahij offensive,” al Masirah, January 6, 2017,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review: January 5, 2017” AEIs Critical Threats Project, January 5, 2017,
[3] AQAP claims grad rocket attack on an al Houthi-Saleh training camp in central al Bayda governorate, Telegram, January 6, 2017.
[4] “National Army advancing fronts in the west of Taiz and planes continue strikes on militia positions,” al Masdar, January 6, 2016,
[5] Al Shabaab claims attack on government militia barracks in outskirts of Mogadishu, Telegram, January 6, 2017.
[6] “Security operation in Jalalaqsi nets several Al-Shabaab,” Goobjoob News, January 6, 2017,
[7] “Security beefed up in Mogadishu two days after deadly Al-Shabaab attack,” Goobjoob News, January 4, 2017,
[8] “Exit Memo: Department of Defense,” The White House, January 5, 2017,
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