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 launch missile into Najran, Saudi Arabia; ISIS Wilayat Aden-Abyan claims assassination of Salafi commander in Aden; militants detonate VBIED during Friday prayers in Sana’a; suspected AQAP militants assassinate military leader in Zinjibar city, Abyan governorate

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants attack passenger bus in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab occupies village near Adale in Middle Shabelle region after SNA withdraws; Somaliland and Puntland forces continue to clash in Sanaag region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched a missile into Najran, Saudi Arabia on July 21. The missile targeted a Saudi National Guard camp, but Saudi reporting indicates that it struck a civilian area. The missile injured at least three Egyptian citizens in Najran. Al Houthi-Saleh sources claim that the missile attack was in retaliation for Saudi violations of the ceasefire. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes reportedly targeted the al Houthi governor of Sa’ada, Mohammed Jaber Awad, in al Majz district, Sa’ada governorate on July 21 in response to an earlier al Houthi missile attack on a Saudi National Guard camp in Najran on July 19 that killed at least three Saudi troops.[1]
  • Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan claimed credit for the assassination of Salafi al Mihdhar Brigade commander Faiz Hamid Abdu al Dhabyani on July 21. Militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) that killed al Dhabyani in Sheikh Othman, Aden city on July 21.[2]
  • Militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) during Friday prayers at Bilal Mosque in southwestern Sana’a city, Sana’a governorate. Sana’a is controlled by al Houthi-Saleh forces. ISIS Wilayat Sana’a claimed credit for an IED attack in Sana’a in December 2015.[3]
  • Suspected AQAP militants assassinated Colonel Saeed Salim al Mul in Zinjibar city, Abyan governorate. Zinjibar is a historical area of AQAP presence. Suspected AQAP militants assassinated a man in al Husn, Abyan governorate on July 19.[4]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Militants attacked a civilian passenger bus traveling from Bulo Mareer to Golweyn in Lower Shabelle region on July 21. The attackers opened fire on the bus and killed at least two civilians. Al Shabaab militants attacked passenger buses with small arms fire in Mandera County, Kenya on July 1 and July 15.[5]
  • Al Shabaab fighters claimed control of a village near Adale town in Middle Shabelle region on July 21. Somali National Army (SNA) forces withdrew to nearby Adale town center. The militants then took the village unchallenged.[6]
  • Clashes between Somaliland and Puntland forces have killed at least ten individuals and displaced hundreds since the fighting broke out in Sanaag region on July 18. Somaliland claims authority of the Sanaag and Sool region based on historical precedent, while Puntland claims authority based on tribal and ethnic ties. Local civilians have called for the Somali Federal Government to intervene to halt the continued violence.[7]
[1] “Army fires Zelzal-3 on camp in Najran,” Saba News, July 21, 2016,; "Al Houthi Projectile injures 3 Egyptians," Okaz, July 22, 2016,; "The launch of a ballistic missile at the Saudi National Guard camp in Najran," Sabanews, July 19, 2016,; “Governor of Saada survives and director of Majz district wounded in coalition raids,” Akhbar Yemen, July 21, 2016,; and Yemen Post Newspaper, Twitter, July 20, 2016,
[2] Demolinari, Twitter, July 22, 2016,
[3] "Explosion of a bomb in a car near a mosque in the capital Sanaa," July 22, 2016,
[4] "Abyan: Gunmen assassinated a colonel in the city of Zanjibar," Barakish, July 21, 2016,; and "Abyan: Al-Qaeda executes a young man in al Husn area," Barakish, July 20, 2016,
[5] “Somalia: Gunmen open fire on passenger bus, kill two,” Shabelle News, July 21, 2016,
[6] “Al Shabaab retakes city vacated by Somali army,” Shabelle News, July 21, 2016,
[7] “Civil society calls on Federal government to intervene in Puntland - Somaliland clash,” Goobjoog News, July 22, 2016,; and “Somalia: Tension Rises Between Puntland and Somaliland in Sanaag region,” All Africa, July 21, 2016,
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