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: Fighting intensifies in Taiz governorate; Saudi-led coalition bombs Sana’a; military and tribes coordinate against AQAP in Lawder, Abyan governorate; Yemeni government commissions currency from Russia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab renews clashes with Puntland forces in Af Urur; al Shabaab claims attacks in Hiraan and Lower Shabelle regions; al Shabaab assassinates electoral official in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Clashes between Saudi-led coalition-backed forces and al Houthi-Saleh forces continued to escalate in Taiz governorate on June 9. Coalition-backed forces killed 15 al Houthi-Saleh troops in eastern Taiz city during an effort to gain control of the al Qasr military camp adjacent to the contested Tashrifat military base. Separately, coalition warplanes killed 10 al Houthi-Saleh troops in al Khokha district, southern Hudaydah governorate. A series of coalition strikes in al Khokha is a response to an al Houthi-Saleh offensive that aims to combat coalition forces in nearby al Mokha, western Taiz governorate.  Al Houthi-Saleh forces also claimed to infiltrate a coalition-backed cell tasked with monitoring al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Wazi’iyah district, southwestern Taiz governorate on June 8.[1]

Saudi-led coalition warplanes bombed suspected al Houthi-Saleh weapon caches and military sites in Sana’a. Strikes killed one woman and three children in Bayt Bus, southern Sana’a city on June 9. Coalition warplanes also carried out three strikes on al Houthi-Saleh training camps in Arhab district, Sana’a governorate on June 8.[2]  

Yemeni government forces and local tribes announced coordination efforts to combat al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Lawder district, northern Abyan governorate on June 9. The Yemeni 115th Brigade commander met with tribal leaders to discuss security initiatives in Lawder following an AQAP attack on Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces on June 5. The meeting focused on denouncing terror attacks as un-Islamic and galvanizing civic trust in the central government.[3]

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government commissioned the printing of Yemeni riyals in Russia on June 9. The Hadi government claimed that the Russian government delivered tens of billions of riyals to Aden for government salary payments on June 1. The Hadi government has not paid most public sector salaries for the past nine months, despite a prior claim to receive Russian-printed riyals in January 2017.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab clashed with Puntland security forces in Af Urur town, Bari region, northern Somalia on June 8. The renewed clashes follow an al Shabaab raid on Af Urur earlier that same day in which the group seized Af Urur town and attacked a military base, killing dozens of Puntland soldiers. The group also seized Puntland military vehicles and weapons. President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo promised to seek revenge against al Shabaab in a speech on June 8.[5]

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for an unconfirmed attack on an Ethiopian military base in Halgan, Hiraan region, central Somalia on June 9. The group also claimed to kill five African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops and wound four others with an improvised explosive device (IED) attack near Marka, Lower Shabelle region southern Somalia on June 9.[6]  

Al Shabaab militants assassinated an electoral official in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu, Somalia on June 8. Gunmen shot Ahmed Barre outside the Gargurte hotel in the capital. Al Shabaab has intensified assassination campaign targeting electoral and military officials in Mogadishu over the past three weeks.[7]

[1] “Dozens of Houthis are killed in Taiz… Renewed fighting on the west coast,” Aden Lange, June 9, 2017,; and “Arrest of a criminal cell designed to gather coordinates in Taiz governorate,” Sabanews, June 8, 2017,
[2] “Father: 3 siblings, grandmother killed in Yemen airstrike,” The Washington Post, June 9, 2017,; “A Woman and Her Three Children Killed in a Mistaken Airstrike on a House in South Sana’a,” Al Masdar Online, June 9, 2017; and “Eight Civilian Casualties in Coalition Airstrikes in Bayt Bus,” Sabanews, June 9, 2017,
[3] “Military-Tribal Coordination in Lawder, Abyan to Counter al Qaeda,” Hadramout Net, June 9, 2017,; and “Tribal Movement in Lawder to Curb Terror Attacks,” Aden Lange, June 9, 2017,
[4] “Hadi Government begins a new money printing operation,” Aden Tomorrow, June 9, 2017,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” AEIs Critical Threats Project, June 2, 2017,
[5] “Latest News: The Fight in Af Urur in Puntland Region Continues,” Goobjoog News, June 8, 2017,; and “President vows revenge on Shabaab after deadly raid,” Shabelle News, June 8, 2017,
[6] Al Shabaab claims attacks in Halgan and Marka [Telegram].
[7] “An electoral delegate shot dead in Somali Capital,” Shabelle News, June 8, 2017,

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