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 spokesman makes anti-Saudi remarks; pro-Hadi delegate refuses unity government; President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi meets with ministers to discuss oil in Aden; pro-Hadi forces take control of Safar al Hania in northern al Jawf; pro-Hadi forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh fighters in Nihm outside Sana’a

Horn of Africa:  President Obama pledges support to President Kenyatta over refugee camp closures; al Shabaab conducts grenade attacks in Mogadishu and in Marka, Lower Shabelle region; Puntland administrators clamp down on media in wake of former mayor’s putsch

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi stated on June 23 that the al Houthi delegation made concessions in direct negotiations with Saudi officials, but that the Saudis had returned to demanding surrender. Al Houthi-Saudi direct talks broke down in May. Abdul Malik al Houthi affirmed that the al Houthis will “proceed in a confrontation of principles, not political tactics.” This statement characterized the al Houthis' intentions at the peace talks as pure. Abdul Malik al Houthi used sectarian language by stating that the majority of authoritarian regimes today follow the legacy of the Umayyads. The Umayyads, the second major Arab caliphate, persecuted the descendants of Ali, the prophet’s son-in-law. Shia regard Ali and his descendants as the rightful leaders of the Muslim community.[1]
  • Dr. Abdullah al Alimi, deputy head of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi's presidential office and member of the government delegation at the Kuwait talks, dismissed the notion of forming a unity government at the Kuwait talks because the Hadi government would not recognize the al Houthi-Saleh government’s demand to be part of the new unity government. Al Alimi added that although the Hadi-led government has negotiated in good faith, the solution to the crisis does not lie in “fragile compromises.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to arrive in Kuwait on June 26 to urge negotiating parties to reach an agreement.[2]
  • Pro-Hadi Yemeni military and popular resistance forces took control of the Safar al Hania region of Mt. Ham, northern al Jawf governorate on June 24. Saudi warplanes assisted pro-Hadi military and popular resistance with airstrikes in the mountainous region near the Saudi border. Six al Houthi fighters surrendered and at least four other were injured.[3]
  • Pro-Hadi government forces and popular resistance fighters clashed with al Houthi-Saleh fighters in Nihm outside of Sana’a on June 22 and 23. Saudi-led coalition warplanes supported pro-Hadi forces with airstrikes against al Houthi positions. Nihm remains a strategically prized area outside of the contested capital Sana’a.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • President Barack Obama spoke with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta over the phone in regards to the planned closing of the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps on June 23. President Obama promised U.S. support and guidance in the closing of the Kenyan camps. The closure of Dadaab refugee camp alone will send approximately 300,000 Somalis back to their ethnic homeland, and potentially increase the severity of Somalia’s security and humanitarian issues.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants conducted grenade attacks on African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) forces in Mogadishu and the Lower Shabelle region on June 23. A militant attacked an SNA checkpoint in Mogadishu, killing at least one soldier and wounding as many as five others. Suspected al Shabaab militants conducted a second grenade attack on AMISOM forces in Marka town, Lower Shabelle region. Casualty reports were not available for the second incident, though sources noted that the AMISOM troops returned fire.[6]
  • Puntland police officers forcibly closed an independent radio station in Garowe, Nugaal region on June 23. The station interviewed Abdisamed Mohamed Gallan, a former mayor of Boosaaso, Puntland, who is leading an armed rebellion to overthrow the semi-autonomous Puntland state’s administration on June 22. Puntland’s information Minister, Mohamud Hassan So’adde, promised violent repercussions for journalists who do not follow state rules.[7]

[1] “Huthi addressing Arabia: Embark on a confrontation of principles rather than political tactics,” al Masdar, June 24, 2016,
[2] “Presidency of the Republic: it is not possible to form a unity government,” Barakish, June 24, 2016; and “GCC meeting in Kuwait to discuss the developments in Yemen,” al Masdar, June 24, 2016,
[3] “National Army controls the three strategic areas in al-Jawf province and the battle is in full swing,” al Masdar, June 24, 2016,; and “Resistance and the army repulse al Houthi attack in Al-Jawf and coalition aircraft targeted reinforcements,” al Masdar, June 24, 2016,
[4] “National Army foils al Houthi attacks in Nihm, east of Sanaa and casualties,” al Masdar, June 24, 2016,
[5] “Obama speaks with President Kenyatta on support on refugees,” Daily Nation, June 24, 2016,; and “Obama speaks with Uhuru about support for refugees,” Shabelle News, June 24, 2016,
[6]  “Three killed in bomb, gun attacks in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, June 23, 2016,; and “Somalia: Deadly explosion hits AMISOM troops in Marka town,” Shabelle News, June 24, 2016,
[7] “Radio station in Puntland shut down over rebel interview,” Goobjoog News, June 24, 2016,; and “Puntland information minister threatens to ‘use bullets’ against journalists,” Goobjoog News, June 24, 2016,
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