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: Yemeni delegation members accuse al Houthis of delaying an agreement and purging Ministries of Interior and Defense; Aden officials deploy special forces before Southern Movement protest; gunman shoots anti-AQAP imam in Ja’ar, Abyan; Kuwait delegations discuss security committees; al Houthis donate large sum towards medical college in Sana’a; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target al Houthi positions in al Maslub, Jawf governorate 

Horn of Africa: Likely al Shabaab militants assassinate senior intelligence official in Mogadishu; al Shabaab fires mortars into Mogadishu; UN approves Turkish plan for military base in Somalia; AMISOM and SNA forces conduct demining operation near Marka, Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  •  The head of the Yemeni government delegation at UN-led peace talks in Kuwait, Abdullah al Alimi, warned that “negotiations may be devolving into a mirage” after 50 days without a substantive agreement.  Al Alimi stated that Ramadan is an opportunity to stop the bloodshed, but that the al Houthi delegation is stalling the negotiations with their “intransigence.” This statement comes one day after al Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam said that his delegation would reject any agreement that fails to meet al Houthi demands. General Askar Zail, another member of the Yemeni delegation at the Kuwait talks, accused the al Houthis of replacing employees of the Ministries of Interior and Defense, including 120,000 soldiers in the armed forces and 60,000 members of the Ministry of the Interior, while also promoting 3,000 officers loyal to the al Houthis.[1]
  • Adeni officials deployed a large number of Special Security Forces along the road to al Mashiq Palace in Aden on June 15 in preparation for protests by elements of the Southern Movement against President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government. The Southern Movement is a secessionist movement that seeks independence for the former South Yemen.[2]
  • Gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed an imam after he performed Tarawih prayers in Ja’ar, Abyan governorate. The imam had opposed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in his speeches. AQAP kidnapped the imam several months ago and transported him to Azzan, Shabwah governorate before releasing him.[3]
  • Four members from each delegation in Kuwait met alongside the UN Special Envoy on June 14 to discuss the formation of security-military committees. They also discussed routine security concerns, including the withdrawal of al Houthi forces from Sana’a and their surrender of heavy weapons to the national army.[4]
  • Mohammed Ali al Houthi, Chairman of the al Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee, announced its donation of 100 million riyals ($400,000) to establish a medical college in Sana’a. Pro-Hadi sources commented that this large sum reveals the extent to which the al Houthis continue to siphon money away from the Yemeni government. Government sources reported in May 2016 that the al Houthis were pilfering $100 million a month from the Central Bank Branch in Sana’a to pay salaries and fund the war effort. [5]
  • Coalition fighter jets targeted various fortified military positions belonging to al Houthi and Ali Abdullah Saleh forces in and around al Maslub, Jawf governorate late at night on June 14.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Likely al Shabaab militants assassinated Somali senior intelligence official Abdullahi Ibrahim Isbimo and his bodyguard in Mogadishu on June 15 in a drive-by shooting. Al Shabaab conducts frequent assassinations of prominent Somali government officials, politicians, and journalists in Mogadishu. No suspects were detained following the attack.[7]
  • Suspected al Shabaab operators fired mortar rounds into Warta Nabada, Howl Wadag, and Waberi districts in Mogadishu throughout the night of June 15. No casualties were reported. Al Shabaab has fired mortars at the presidential palace, airports, and government buildings in the past.[8]
  • The United Nations approved an agreement between Turkey and Somalia for the joint installation of a military base in Mogadishu on June 15. Two hundred Turkish military personnel will train a force of approximately 1,500 Somalis in their fight against al Shabaab militants. Turkey provided over 400 million dollars in aid to Somalia during a humanitarian crisis in 2011 and continues to seek greater military and economic cooperation between the two nations.[9]
  • Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces conducted a demining operation near the town of Marka, Lower Shabelle region on June 15. AMISOM forces retook the provincial capital of Marka from al Shabaab militants on February 8, but al Shabaab has since returned to the area.[10] 

[1] “Leadership releases warning on failing of Kuwait talks,” Barakish, June 15, 2016,; and “Askar Zeil reveals Houthi pursuit to replace 180 thousand in the army and security forces,” Akhbar Al Yemen, June 15, 2016,
[2] “Private security forces are deployed along the road leading to Mashiq hours ahead of rumored demonstrations,” Aden al Ghad, June 15, 2016,   
[3] “Gunmen assassinated the imam of a mosque in Abyan,” Akhbar Al Yemen, June 15, 2016,
[4] “Discussions on the formation of the Military Committee, which provides security for Sanaa during the militia's withdrawal,” Barakish, June 15, 2016
[5] “After years of rule .. # Mohammed al-Huthi reveals his vast fortune,” Barakish, June 15, 2016; and “25 billion a month towards al Houthi war efforts from the Central Bank,” al Masdar, May 4, 2016
[6] “Alliance fighter jets raid Houthi and Saleh positions in Al Jawf” Al Masdar, June 15, 2016,
[7] “Govt official, his security guard killed in Mogadishu attack,” Shabelle News, June 15, 2016,
[8] “Mortar shells rock parts Mogadishu, no casualties reported,” Goobjoog News, June 15, 2016,; and “BREAKING: Powerful blasts heard in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, June 14, 2016,
[9] “Turkey’s first military base in Somalia,” Shabelle News, June 15, 2016,; and “First Turkish military base in Africa to open in Somalia,” Daily Sabah, January 19, 2016,
[10] “SNA, AU troops conduct mine-clearance sweep in Lower Shabelle,” Shabelle News, June 15, 2016,; and “Al Shabaab retakes town after Govt forces withdrew,” Shabelle News, June 11, 2016,
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