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: Militant detonates SVBIED  at pro-Hadi checkpoint in Sheikh Othman district, Aden; coalition airstrike hits AQAP weapons store near al Mukalla, Hadramawt; King Salman Relief Center airdrops food supplies to Taiz city

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab targets SNA convoy with roadside bomb near Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacks El Abdi village, Galgudug region; al Shabaab attacks military outpost at Lanta-Buro, in Lower Shabelle region; SNA and AMISOM forces poised to launch clearing operations in Mahaday district, Middle Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  • A suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) struck a checkpoint manned by security forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Aden’s Sheikh Othman district on February 29, killing four and wounding several others. The attack resembles recent operations by the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan, including a January 28 SVBIED attack near Aden’s presidential palace and a February 1 SVBIED attack on a security checkpoint. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[1]
  • The Saudi-led coalition reportedly launched an airstrike on a weapons store belonging to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) east of al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on March 1. Coalition airstrikes targeted an AQAP-held military base near al Mukalla and AQAP targets in Lahij and Abyan governorates in February.[2]
  • Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Relief Center airdropped food supplies to Taiz city over the past three days. Al Houthi forces and forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh have besieged Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, for months, alongside intense fighting in the city and its environs. Aid organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) have only recently made deliveries of much-needed food and medical supplies. The WFP classifies Taiz at an “emergency” level of food insecurity as of February 15, one step below “famine.”[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants targeted a Somali National Army (SNA) convoy with a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) near Mogadishu’s Alamaha neighborhood on February 29, killing at least four SNA personnel and wounding eight others.  Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said that the bomb killed six soldiers.[4] This attack comes less than a week after al Shabaab launched a complex suicide attack targeting government officials  at the Somali Youth League Hotel in Mogadishu.   
  • Al Shabaab fighters clashed with Interim Galmudug State officers in El Abdi village, Galgudug region on March 1.  Local sources claim that security forces repulsed the attack, which caused 10 total casualties. Residents of El Abdi and a nearby village killed several al Shabaab militants attempting to tax the communities last week. It is possible that the militants returned to punish the villagers.[5]
  • Al Shabaab fighters entered the town of Lanta-Buro in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on February 29 and killed several soldiers at a military outpost.  The militant group briefly occupied the town and the outpost before fleeing as SNA and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops approached on March 1.[6]
  • The District Commissioner of Mahaday District in Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region announced that SNA troops supported by an AMISOM detachment will launch a large-scale clearing operation in the district soon. The operation will aim to clear al Shabaab militants from villages in order to secure the region in advance of the Middle Shabelle-Hiiraan federal state formation process.[7] 
[1] “Suicide bomber kills four in Yemen's Aden city: security source, residents,” Reuters, February 29, 2016,
[2] “The coalition strikes al Qaeda weapons store in Hadramawt, east of the country,” Al Masdar, March 1, 2016,
[3] “King Salman Relief Center airdrops food supplies to Yemen,” eTN, March 1, 2016,
“UN warns of famine in besieged Yemeni city,” Associated Press, February 15, 2016,
[4] “Landmine explosion kills 4 government soldiers in Alamaha locality,” Goobjoog News, March 1, 2016,
“Bomb kills at least five Somali soldiers outside Mogadishu,” Reuters Africa, March 1, 2016,
[5] “At least ten people killed in central Somalia fighting,” Shabelle News, March 1, 2016,
[6] “Somali troops recapture key village from militants,” Shabelle News, March 1, 2016,
[7] “Mahaday ready to launch major offensive against al Shabaab,” Goobjoog News, March 1, 2016.  
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