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 for Yemen outlines plan for transfer of al Hudaydah port; AQAP attacks southern security forces in Shabwah and Abyan governorates, southern Yemen; Iranian Foreign Minister calls for cooperation with Saudi-led coalition; Hadi government-aligned forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh fighters in southeastern Taiz governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces target Saudi-led coalition positions in southwestern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab raids Kenyan police base in Lamu County; al Shabaab claims to raid AMISOM base in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab fires mortars at Bardhere town, Gedo region; Jubbaland police interdict al Shabaab militants trafficking explosives; Galmudug and Puntland create joint security force in Galkayo, Mudug region

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed explained plans for ceasefire negotiations in Yemen during an address to the Arab League on July 17. Ould Cheikh Ahmed reiterated his intent to transfer al Hudaydah port from the al Houthi-Saleh faction to a neutral third party as the first step to peace. Ould Cheikh Ahmed outlined a two-part plan that would include international oversight of a military committee to protect the port and an economic committee to manage port revenues to pay government salaries. He stressed that both the internationally recognized government led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the al Houthi-Saleh faction must agree to the composition of the committees. The United Nations pledged its full support for Ould Cheikh Ahmed. A political official of Ansar Allah, the al Houthi movement’s political arm, reiterated that the al Houthi-Saleh faction will not accept Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s proposal.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack on a military camp run by Emirati-backed Hadhrami Elite forces in Belhaf city, Rudum district, southern Shabwah governorate on July 18. AQAP released a photo of the attacker and an image of the explosion. AQAP militants also reportedly detained three southern Yemeni soldiers at a checkpoint between the towns of Ahwar and Shaqra in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, on July 17.[2] 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for the Saudi-led coalition to cooperate in ending the conflict in Yemen during a speech in New York on July 17. He stated that Iran and Saudi Arabia do not need to confront one another, despite ideological differences. Zarif stressed Iran’s viability as a counterterrorism partner. U.S. officials have condemned Iran for providing ballistic missile technology and materiel to the al Houthi-Saleh faction.[3]

Hadi government-aligned forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh fighters in southeastern Taiz governorate on July 18. Forces loyal to the Hadi government killed seven al Houthi-Saleh fighters in al Silw, a strategic site near the Taiz-Aden road in southeastern Taiz governorate. Hadi government-aligned forces claimed to seize al Silw on June 10.[4]

Al Houthi-Saleh forces targeted Saudi-led coalition positions in southwestern Saudi Arabia on July 17. Al Houthi-Saleh ground forces killed three Saudi soldiers in Jazan and Najran regions near the Saudi-Yemeni border. Al Houthi-Saleh forces also shelled Saudi-led coalition forces in Asir region.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab attempted to raid a Kenyan Police General Services Unit (GSU) base at Mokowe Camp, Lamu County on July 18. GSU officers repelled the attack. Al Shabaab conducted the attack hours after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta declared a renewed security operation in Lamu County.[6]

Al Shabaab claimed to raid an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on July 18. The group claimed that U.S. forces were stationed at the base. The attack is not confirmed. U.S. Africa Command denied responsibility for an airstrike on Galashuunbi village near Kismayo on July 18 that killed four villagers and wounded six others.[7] 

Al Shabaab fired mortars targeting Bardhere town, Gedo region, southern Somalia on July 18. The attack killed one person.[8]

Jubbaland regional police interdicted two al Shabaab militants who were attempting to traffic explosive material into Kenya on July 17. Police seized the vehicle in Dhobleey town along the Kenyan-Somali border.[9]

The Galmudug and Puntland administrations announced the formation of a joint security force in Galkayo, Mudug region, central Somalia. The 50-officer force aims to maintain peace in Galkayo. The two semi-autonomous states often clash over territorial control of the city, which they jointly administer. Inter-clan conflicts over access to resources have also degraded security in Galkayo.[10] 

[1] “UN envoy to Yemen proposes plan on how to run disputed port,” The Washington Post, July 17, 2017,; “Plan for the solution in Yemen from both economic and military aspects,” Barakish, July 18, 2017,; and “America is the driver of the Yemen war and we will not relinquish al Hudaydah,” Mehrnews, July 18, 2017,  
[2] AQAP claims attack against Hadhrami Elite forces in Shabwah governorate, Telegram, July 18, 2017; “Car Bomb Targets al Hizam Camp in Belhaf, Shabwah,” Aden Lange, July 17, 2017,; AQAP establishes checkpoint in Abyan, Telegram, Jul 17, 2017; M. Haddar, Twitter, July 17, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, July 18, 2017,
[3] “Iran's Zarif hopes Yemen war does not lead to Iran, Saudi conflict,” Reuters, July 17, 2017,; and “Full transcript: Defense Secretary James Mattis’ interview with The Islander,” The Islander, June 20, 2017,
[4] “Seven militia killed and the national army gains control of al Sayar and al Hawd in southern Taiz,” Sabanew, July 18, 2017,; and “Renewed fighting in al Silw south of Taiz and government forces regain control of many villages,” Al Masdar Online, July 18, 2017,
[5] “Army kills 3 Saudi soldiers, fires artillery on others in border cities,” Sabanews, July 17, 2017,
[6] Goldberg, “GSU Officers In Mokowe, Lamu Thwart Al-Shabaab Attack On Their Camp,” Intelligence Briefs, July 18, 2017,
[7] Al Shabaab claims to raid AMISOM base in Kismayo, Telegram, July 18, 2017; Al Shabaab claims U.S. conducted airstrike near Kismayo, Telegram, July 18, 2017; AFRICOM, Twitter, July 18, 2017,; and Morad News, Twitter,
[8] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 18, 2017,
[9] “Jubbaland Police seizes car with explosives heading to Kenya,” Shabelle News
[10] “Galmudug and Puntland create joint security force in Galkaayo,” Goobjoog, July 17, 2017,

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