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: President Obama expected to issue executive order on civilian drone strike casualties; UN Special Envoy announces that 700 prisoners have been released since peace talks began; gunmen attempt to assassinate general in Lahij governorate; militants detonate car bomb targeting southern resistance member in al Mansoura, Aden; coalition airstrikes target al Houthi positions in al Jawf and Taiz governorates; al Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam arrives in Saudi Arabia; U.S. Under Secretary of State visits Kuwait
Horn of Africa: U.S. State Department issues updated travel warnings for American citizens in Kenya; suspected al Shabaab militants attack passenger buses near El Wak, Mandera County, Kenya; Somali security personnel block major roads in Mogadishu as nation celebrates independence
Yemen Security Brief
- U.S. President Obama is expected to release the number of civilian casualties caused by the nearly 500 U.S. military and CIA drone strikes since 2009 and issue an executive order to make protecting civilian lives more integral to military and intelligence protocol as early as July 1. The Associated Press estimates that nearly 100 civilians were killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. The European Parliament also held a hearing on civilian casualties of drone strikes in Yemen on June 30.
- UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced that al Houthi forces and government forces have released a cumulative 700 prisoners since the start of the peace talks in Kuwait on April 21. Peace talks are currently suspended and are scheduled to resume on July 15.
- Gunmen attempted to assassinate Major General Thabit Jawas on June 30 in al Habilayn, Radfan district, Lahij governorate. Jawas is a military leader in the Yemeni Army and commander of the Special Security Forces in Aden. The gunmen fired on Jawas at his home, but he escaped unharmed. Militant groups, including al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have conducted multiple assassination attempts targeting southern movement and Yemeni army leaders in past months.
- Militants detonated a car bomb on July 1 targeting southern resistance member Mustafa al Wika near the Rida mosque, al Mansoura district, Aden governorate. The southern resistance comprises militia groups aligned with the Southern Movement, a political group that advocates for better representation of southern interests in the Yemeni government. Al Wika was taken to hospital with severe injuries. Al Wika previously served as a member of the police department in the al Qahirah area of al Mansoura, Aden.
- Seven Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi-Saleh positions near the al Ghayl and al Maslub districts of al Jawf governorate on June 30. Coalition airstrikes struck the Osama bin Zeid School in Ghirab and al Houthi-Saleh positions around the 35th Brigade military base, western Taiz. Al Houthi-Saleh forces clashed with government army and popular resistance forces on June 17 near the 35th Brigade military base, which has been contested since March 2016.
- Al Houthi delegation spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam arrived in Saudi Arabia to take part in consultations to discuss the issues stalling negotiations in Kuwait. Al Houthi representatives previously met with Saudi leaders in April to negotiate an al Houthi-Saudi ceasefire, and later in May to try to negotiate a truce along the border.
- U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon arrived in Kuwait on an official visit to the emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah. Shannon praised Kuwait’s "tireless efforts" in support of the Yemeni peace talks.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The U.S. State Department issued updated travel warnings for American citizens in Kenya on June 30, citing violent crime and the threat of terrorist groups like al Shabaab. The announcement urged American citizens in Kenya to avoid the northeastern counties of Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa. The State Department also warned citizens to avoid the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi, Lamu County, and Kilifi County north of Malindi, as well as a number of other locations.
- Suspected al Shabaab militants ambushed two passenger buses traveling from Wargadud to El Wak in Mandera County, Kenya on July 1. The attackers fired from fixed positions as the vehicles passed and killed at least six civilians.
- Somali security forces established road blocks throughout much of Mogadishu as the city celebrates Somalia’s 56th year of independence on July 1. Security personnel blocked off major roads, such as Airport Road and KM4 junction, where al Shabaab attacked the Ambassador Hotel on June 1 and the Naso Hablod Hotel on June 25, respectively.