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: UN Special Envoy meets Yemeni president in Riyadh; coalition forces deliver Emirati tanks to government forces in Ma’rib, east of Sana’a; al Houthi-Saleh and government forces agree to localized truce in al Sarari, Taiz; UN Special Envoy meets GCC Secretary General in Riyadh; government forces claim to seize Mt. Qarn, Nihm district, Sana’a governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab emir Ahmad Umar expected to release speech; suspected al Shabaab militants attack SNA checkpoint in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed met with Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar on July 12 in Riyadh after members of the Hadi government delegation threatened to boycott peace talks scheduled to resume on July 15. President Hadi stated that his government had made many concessions in the peace process and reiterated his call for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which mandates that al Houthi-Saleh forces disarm and withdraw from seized territory.[1]
  • Saudi-led coalition forces delivered Emirati military vehicles intended for urban warfare to Ma’rib city on July 12. The delivery follows Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s July 10 visit to Ma’rib city, during which he pledged to liberate Sana’a from the al Houthi-Saleh alliance.[2]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh fighters and popular resistance forces reached a preliminary truce in al Sarari, Sabr al Mowadam district in Taiz city on July 11. The conditions of the truce include disarmament of all weapons except rifles in al Sarari and the withdrawal of al Houthi-Saleh fighters not originally from Taiz.[3]
  • UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed met with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary General Abdul Latif bin Rashid al Zayani in Riyadh on July 11 to discuss developments in the Yemen conflict. The Secretary General and the Special Envoy agreed on the importance of following the National Dialogue outcomes, the Gulf Initiative, and UN Security Council Resolution 2216.[4]
  • Government and popular resistance forces took control of Mt. Qarn in Nihm district northeast of Sana’a city on July 11, killing 28 al Houthi fighters, according to a pro-government news outlet. Thirteen al Houthi-Saleh fighters surrendered to popular resistance and government forces in Nihm, outside of Sana’a on July 11, according to pro-government sources. An al Houthi news outlet claimed that al Houthi-Saleh forces repelled a government army advance in the Yam area of Nihm district, Sana’a governorate on July 12.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab emir Ahmad Umar is expected to release an audio message on July 12. Al Shabaab’s media wing al Kataib will release the speech, titled “Shari’ah or Shahaada.” Umar is expected to address the current state of affairs in Somalia and the status of al Shabaab.[6]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants conducted an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on a Somali National Army (SNA) checkpoint in Mogadishu on July 11. The blast killed at least one civilian and wounded three SNA soldiers.[7]

[1] “U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Seeks to Meet President Hadi, Save Peace Negotiations,” Asharq al Awsat, July 12, 2016,; and “Presidential adviser says that Ould Cheikh’s attempt to meet with Hadi ‘is an effort to correct his mistakes’,” al Masdar, July 12, 2016,
[2] "Military reinforcements reach Ma’rib- Photos," Barakish, July 12, 2016,
[3] “A draft agreement between the resistance and the Houthis in "Sabr al Moqadam," Taiz to institute a truce and disarmament of weapons (Details),” al Masdar, July 11, 2016,
[4] “Al Zayani emphasizes GGC support for the UN Special Envoy for Yemen’s efforts,” Saba New, July 11, 2016,  
[5] “Thirteen al Houthis surrender to the resistance and the army in Sanaa after being besieged,” al Masdar, July 11, 2016,; “Saudi warplanes wage raids on Yemen,” Sabanews, July 12, 2016,; and “Al Shandaqi: legitimate forces take control of Mt. Qarn in Nihm, killing 28 militiamen,” Saba New, July 11, 2016,  
[6] Al Shabaab Watch, Twitter, July 12, 2016,
[7] “One died in bomb blast in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, July 12, 2016,; and “One dead, several injured in bomb blast in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, July 11, 2016,  
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