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: U.S. general indicates possible increase in American presence in Yemen; militants attempt to assassinate security leaders in Aden with VBIED; Hadi delegation member rules out July 15 return to Kuwait peace talks; al Houthi spokesman reiterates negotiating position

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants conduct complex attack on KDF convoy near El Wak, Gedo region; Galmudug security forces prepare to attack al Shabaab strongholds in Mudug region; Kapenguria Police station attack incorrectly attributed to al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. Army General Joseph Votel indicated that the U.S. military may expand its presence in Yemen to intensify the fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Votel added that future operations would focus on better understanding AQAP and re-gaining situational awareness in Yemen. U.S. officials confirmed in mid-June that the U.S. will maintain a small team in Yemen to track AQAP.[1]
  • Militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in Inma district, Aden governorate on July 15. Militants targeted a convoy carrying Governor of Aden Aydarus al Zubaydi and Aden Police Director Shalal Ali Shaye’a. The blast injured at least one guard but did not injure al Zubaydi and Shaye’a.[2]
  • Abdullah al Alimi, a member of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s delegation to the Kuwait peace talks, stated on July 15 that his delegation will not travel to Kuwait to attend negotiations scheduled to resume on July 15. Al Alimi added that the Hadi delegation “will be ready to travel to Kuwait when conditions for success at the talks are arranged.” President Hadi also stated that the government delegation will not return to the Kuwait talks without guarantees that the al Houthi-Saleh delegation will recognize previous UN resolutions. The announcements follow the al Houthi-Saleh delegation’s decision to travel to Kuwait.[3]
  • Al Houthi official spokesman and delegate to the Kuwait talks Mohammed Abdul Salam reiterated his delegation’s rejection of any political solution that does not “stop all forms of aggression, lift the siege and remove economic restrictions” on July 14.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants conducted a complex attack on a Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) convoy traveling in the Gedo region of Somalia on July 15. The al Shabaab fighters detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting the convoy before attacking the vehicles with small arms fire. The militants killed at least four KDF soldiers. The convoy was moving toward El Wak town, which is located on the Somali-Kenyan border. Al Shabaab forces ambushed civilian passenger buses near El Wak on July 1 and attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base near El Wak on May 25.[5]
  • The Galmudug Administration security forces are planning an offensive to drive al Shabaab from its strongholds in Mudug region. Al Shabaab uses Harardhere in Mudug region as its financial and operational control center. Reports indicate that al Shabaab fighters are transporting large quantities of weapons to Mudug region in preparation for an attack. Local militias also clashed with al Shabaab near Harardhere on July 14.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants did not conduct the July 14 attack on the Kapenguria Police Station in West Pokot County, Kenya that killed seven. Early reports indicated that the assailant was an al Shabaab recruiter. Recent reports indicate that the assailant, Abdulhakim Maslah, was a disgruntled employee of the Kapenguria Police force.[7]
[1] “U.S. weighs more robust presence in Yemen for al Qaeda fight,” Reuters, July 15, 2016,; and U.S. Special Operations force extends Yemen mission against al-Qaeda, Washington Post, June 17, 2016,
[2] "Explosion of a car bomb in Aden targeting the convoy of the governor and the director of security," Barakish, July 15, 2016,; and “Yemen: Car bomber strikes Aden governor’s convoy,” Bawaba, July 15, 2016,
[3] "Dr. Alimi: Government delegation informed the UN envoy that it is not going to Kuwait to resume consultations," al Masdar, July 15, 2016,; and “Hadi: I will not go back to Kuwait consultations but with these conditions,” Aden al Ghad, July 15, 2016,
[4] "Al Houthi spokesman: We will not accept any case that is not based on real consensus and stopping aggression," al Masdar, July 14, 2016,
[5] “Kenyan forces convoy hit landmine in Gedo, no immediate casualties reported,” Goobjoog News, July 15, 2016,; and “Four KDF soldiers killed by Al Shabaab in Somalia,” Shabelle News, July 15, 2016,
[6] “Galmudug says it will flush Al Shabaab out of Mudug,” Shabelle News, July 15, 2016,
[7] “Kenya: Police officer ‘goes beserk’, kills 7 colleagues,” Shabelle News, July 15, 2016,
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