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 foreign ministry condemns ISIS attack in Iran; suspected AQAP militants attempt to assassinate Abyan security director; AQAP attacks al Houthi-Saleh forces at Tashrifat military base in Taiz city; AQAP releases two videos showing attacks on al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate; citizens protests electricity outages in southern Yemen
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims attacks on Somali security forces in Mogadishu; al Shabaab claims several attacks in Lower Shabelle region; ISIS militant defects to Puntland authorities in Boosaaso, Bari region, northern Somalia; Horn of Africa nations respond to Gulf diplomatic rift; al Shabaab claims responsibility for attacks on Somali and Djiboutian forces in central Somalia; al Shabaab detonates IED targeting Kenyan aid workers in Garissa County, eastern Kenya
Yemen Security Brief
The al Houthi-Saleh foreign ministry condemned the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) attack in Iran on June 7. ISIS militants raided Iran’s parliament complex and detonated a suicide bomb at the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, killing 12 people and wounding 42 others.
Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked the convoy of the security director of Abyan governorate, General Abdullah al Fadhli, with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in , the capital of Abyan governorate in southern Yemen, on June 7. The attack killed two members of the general’s convoy, injured several others, and destroyed a military vehicle. The attempted assassination follows a suspected AQAP attack on Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces in Abyan governorate on June 5.
Militias aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government continued an offensive against al Houthi-Saleh forces at Tashrifat military base in city on June 7. The Abu Abbas brigade, a Salafi militia that has cooperated with AQAP militants in Taiz, is attempting to seize the Presidential Palace next to Tashrifat base. AQAP militants shelled al Houthi-Saleh forces in the Central Security Organization in Tashrifat base on June 7.
AQAP released two videos showing past raids on al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen. One video, released on June 6, shows AQAP militants killing two al Houthi-Saleh troops and looting their supplies on May 14 in al ‘Aqla, southern al Bayda governorate. The other video, released on June 7, shows a night raid in which AQAP claimed to kill 30 al Houthi-Saleh fighters in al Zahir, southern al Bayda governorate on April 28. These videos reinforce AQAP’s narrative of protecting Sunni populations from the Shia al Houthi movement.
Protests over intermittent power outages erupted throughout southern Yemen. Demonstrators burned tires in southern Lahij governorate on June 7 and blocked the roads in city’s Khormaksar district on June 4. Aden Governor Abdul Aziz al Muflahi and Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghir held meetings to discuss the restoration of electricity service.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack targeting Somali intelligence officers in on June 7. The group claims it killed two National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) officers and held another officer hostage after the attack. The group also claimed responsibility for an attack on a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu on June 4.
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for several attacks in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia from June 3 through June 7. The group claimed to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops in city, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on June 7. Al Shabaab militants also detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Somali National Army (SNA) forces in Bala’d town, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on June 6, killing two soldiers. Al Shabaab also claimed to kill a soldier at a military base in Kilo 50 near Mogadishu and target SNA soldiers with an IED in Bulu Marir, Lower Shabelle region on June 3.
An Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militant defected to Puntland authorities in Ja’el area, , Bari region, northern Somalia on June 6. Puntland authorities claimed that ISIS has approximately 70 fighters in Bari region. An ISIS-affiliated militant detonated a suicide vest at a military checkpoint in Boosaaso in May, marking the group’s first suicide attack in Somalia.
Djibouti severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 7. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5. They accused Qatar of promoting terrorist organizations and supporting the al Houthi movement. The Somali Foreign Ministry announced Somalia will remain neutral on the Qatar issue on June 7. The Somali government also allowed at least 15 Qatar Airways flights to operate in Somali airspace after several Gulf countries barred the airline.
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for attacks in central Somalia via Telegram on June 6. Al Shabaab detonated an IED targeting SNA troops in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on June 5. The attack killed three people and wounded four others. Al Shabaab also claimed responsibility for a raid on a Djiboutian military base in Galaksi town, Hiraan region on June 5.
Al Shabaab detonated an IED targeting Kenyan aid workers near refugee camp in Garissa County, eastern Kenya on June 6. The attack killed four aid workers. Dabaab is the world’s largest refugee camp. The Kenyan government threatened to close the camp in February 2017, calling it a “launchpad” for al Shabaab attacks.
 “An official source at the Foreign Ministry condemns the terrorist incidents in Iran,” Saba News, June 7, 2017, http://www.saba.ye/ar/news466472.htm; Thomas Erdbrink, “Islamic State Claims Deadly Attacks on Parliament and Khomeini Tomb,” The New York Times, June 7, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/world/middleeast/iran-parliament-attack-khomeini-mausoleum.html.
 Fateh Allah Mansour Abdul Hadi, “Explosive Device Targets the Security Director of Abyan and Killed a Number of His Companions,” Forsannet, June 7, 2017, https://www.forsannet.com/Yemen/442051/%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%81%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D9%88%D8%A9-%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%81%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%AF%D9%81%D8%AA-%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%A3%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A3%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86-%D9%88%D9%82%D8%AA%D9%84-%D8%B9%D8%AF%D8%AF-%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%81%D9%82%D9%8A%D9%87; “Security Director of Abyan Injured and a Number of His Companions Killed and Injured in an Explosion in Dofas,” Barakish, June 7, 2017, http://barakish.net/news02.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=480544; and “Al Hizam casualties in a Surprise Attack in Lawder,” Aden Lange, June 7, 2017, http://adnlng.com/news/70545/.
 AQAP claims attacks on al Houthi-Saleh forces in Taiz city’s Central Security Organization, Telegram, June 7, 2017; “The killing of a leading militant commander: Abu Abbas brigade gunman shot dead in Taiz,” Aden Lange, June 6, 2017, http://adnlng.com/news/70587/;
 “AQAP night raid on al Houthi controlled area, Hadramawt,” YouTube, June 7, 2017; “AQAP attacking al Houthi-Saleh forces and stealing their weapons, al Bayda” YouTube, June 7, 2017; “AQAP RELEASES TWO VIDEOS OF STORMING HOUTHI MILITARY POSITIONS IN AL-BAYDA’, CLAIMS MORTAR ATTACK IN TAIZ,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 7, 2017, available by subscription at https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/; AQAP claims to kill 30 al Houthi-Saleh troops in al Zahir, southern al Bayda, Telegram, April 28, 2017.
 Furious Protests in Lahij due to Electricity Cuts,” Aden Tomorrow, June 7, 2017, http://adengad.net/news/262625/; and “Al Muflahi Pledges a Solution to Aden’s Electricity Problem amidst Continuing Protests,” Yemen Akhbar, June 5, 2017, http://www.yemenakhbar.com/yemen-news/904266.html; and “Prime Minister Discusses the Electricity Situation in Aden and it Neighboring Governorates,” Yemen Voice, June 7, 2017, http://voice-yemen.com/news102321.html.
 Al Shabaab claims several attacks throughout southern Somalia, Telegram, June 7.
 “Shabaab reports nine attacks, killing Kenyan, Somali and Djiboutian forces in Kenya and Somalia,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 6, 2017, available by subscription at https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/.
 “Somalia: ISIS fighter surrender to Puntland Authorities,” Garowe Online, June 6, 2017, http://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/puntland/somalia-isis-fighter-surrender-to-puntland-authorities.
 “Official: Somali Federal Government Takes a Neutral Position on the Diplomatic Crisis of Qatar,” Goobjoog News, June 7, 2017, http://goobjoog.com/english/official-somali-federal-government-takes-a-neutral-position-on-the-diplomatic-crisis-of-qatar/; “Somalia’s Federal government calls for dialogue, Djibouti severs ties with Qatar,” Garowe Online, June 7, 2017, http://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somalias-federal-government-calls-for-dialogue-djibouti-severs-ties-with-qatar; and “Qatar flights using Somali airspace after Gulf ban,” Shabelle News, June 6, 2017, http://www.shabellenews.com/2017/06/qatar-flights-using-somali-airspace/.
 “Shabaab reports nine attacks, killing Kenyan, Somali and Djiboutian forces in Kenya and Somalia,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 6, 2017,available by subscription at https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/.
 “IED kills 4 aid workers near Kenyan-Somali border,” Shabelle News, June 7, 2017, http://www.shabellenews.com/2017/06/ied-kills-4-aid-workers-near-kenyan-somali-border/; and Deborah Bloom, Hilary Clarke and Farai Sevenzo: “Kenya to appeal court block on closure of world's largest refugee camp,” CNN, February 17, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/09/africa/kenya-dadaab-refugee-camp/index.html.