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: Hadi delegation prepares to leave Kuwait without a political resolution; UN Special Envoy for Yemen and Islamist al Islah party denounce al Houthi-GPC power-sharing agreement; Hadramawt commander offers pardon to AQAP and ISIS militants; Hadi government forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh fighters northeast of Sana’a; al Houthi-Saleh forces claim to kill four Saudi soldiers in Asir province, Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants clash with Ethiopian AMISOM and SNA forces near Hudur, Bakool region; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) militias drive al Shabaab forces from Guriel, Galgaduud region; Puntland cabinet members vow to retake land from Somaliland

Yemen Security Brief

  • The UN-led peace process in Kuwait may end without yielding a political resolution. A member of the government delegation aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Abdul Aziz Jabari, announced that the delegation will leave Kuwait on July 30. Peace talks between the Hadi government and al Houthi-General People’s Congress party (GPC) delegations began three months ago and have not produced a comprehensive peace deal.[1]
  • The al Houthi political wing, Ansar Allah, signed an official power-sharing agreement on July 28 with the General People’s Congress (GPC), a political party affiliated with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The agreement creates a supreme political council with ten representatives from each side. Its chairmanship will alternate between the two parties. The decision also dissolved the pre-existing al Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee. UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed denounced the power-sharing agreement for violating UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which calls upon parties to avoid “unilateral actions” that could jeopardize any future political reconciliation process in Yemen.  The official spokesman for the al Houthi-GPC delegation, Mohammed Abdul Salam, claimed that peace talks are still the best way forward but noted that the Hadi delegation is not the only actor empowered to make unilateral decisions. The Islamist al Islah party allied with the Hadi government denounced the move by the al Houthi-Saleh faction, calling it a “step that eliminates all efforts for peace in Yemen.” Al Islah also criticized the international community for its reluctance to implement UNSCR 2216.[2]
  • A Yemeni army commander working with the Saudi-led coalition in Hadramawt governorate announced on July 29 that any al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) militants who turn themselves in to authorities in the next two weeks will be pardoned. His announcement follows a series of suicide explosive attacks in al Mukalla that began in May 2016.[3]
  • Hadi government and popular resistance forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh fighters in Yam and Bani Faraj areas in Nihm district, eastern Sana’a governorate on July 28. These forces continue to actively contest Nihm district, including strategic mountaintops overlooking the main road into Sana’a.[4]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh snipers killed four Saudi soldiers in al Rabua, Asir province in southern Saudi Arabia on July 28, according to al Houthi sources. Saudi media has not reported on the attack. Al Houthi-Saleh fighters fired three Yemeni-made rockets on the Jazan province, Saudi Arabia, according to al Houthi media.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants clashed with Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces and Somali National Army (SNA) troops stationed in Moragabey village near Hudur in Bakool region on July 28. The militants killed three Ethiopian AMISOM soldiers and two SNA troops. The militants fled the area following the attack.[6]
  • Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ), a Sufi Islamist paramilitary group, began operations to combat al Shabaab in the Galgaduud region of central Somalia on July 28. ASWJ has recaptured multiple towns from al Shabaab militants this week. Al Shabaab representatives held unsuccessful talks with local elders in Guriel town of Galgaduud region on preventing civilian casualties. The talks will restart next month.[7]
  • Puntland officials vowed to retake territory lost to Somaliland in clashes between the two states that began on July 18. Both states claim sovereignty of overlapping lands in the Sool and Sanaag regions of northern Somalia. Somaliland forces entered villages in Sool region on July 28 to intimidate civilians into voting in the 2017 Somaliland elections.[8]
[1] "Government delegation announces departure date from Kuwait," Barakish, July 29, 2016,
[2] "Signing of the national political agreement between the General People's Congress and its allies and Ansar Allah and their allies and formation of a higher political council to run the country according to the Constitution," Saba News, July 28, 2016,; "Houthis and Saleh announce the formation of a political council to run the country and the abolition of the Revolutionary Committee," al Masdar, July 28,; “Spokesman for Ansar Allah: the agreement between the national forces has no effect on the existing discussions in Kuwait,” Saba News, July 28, 2016,; "Houthi-led bloc says to set up body to run Yemen with peace talks stalled," Reuters, July 28, 2016,; and “Al Islah party: the slowdown in the implementation of resolution 2216 encouraged more follies,” al Masdar, July 29, 2016,
[3] “The leadership of the Second Military Region calls for al Qaeda and ISIS fighters to surrender within two weeks,” Aden Ghad, July 29, 2016,
[4] “Ignition of battles east of the capital Sana’a,” Barakish, July 28, 2016,
[5] “Four Saudi soldiers shot dead in Asir,” Saba News, July 28, 2016,; and “Army's snipers kill Saudi soldier in Jizan,” Saba News, July 28, 2016,
[6] “Three Ethiopian Soldiers among 5 killed in Somalia,” Shabelle News, July 29, 2016,
[7] “Ahlusuna dislodges Al-Shabaab from several villages in Galguduud,” Goobjoog News, July 29, 2016,; and “ASWJ hunts Al Shabaab in central Somalia,” Shabelle News, July 28, 2016,
[8] “Puntland says it respond to any ‘Aggression’ from Somaliland,” Goobjoog News, July 29, 2016,
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