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: AQAP attacks Hadhrami Elite Forces in Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen; UAE announces death of soldier in Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh forces fire ballistic missile toward Hadi government forces in Taiz governorate

Horn of Africa: Puntland forces exchange fire with pirates aboard hijacked tanker in Puntland, northern Somalia; Ethiopian AMISOM troops mobilize in central Somalia; al Shabaab attacks SNA base in northern Mogadishu; al Shabaab assassinates militiaman in Mogadishu; drought-based violence kills 13 people in central Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

 Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked Hadhrami Elite Forces, an Emirati-backed counterterrorism force, in Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen on March 15. AQAP militants wounded three troops in an attack on a Hadhrami Elite Forces base in al Dhlia’ah district, western Hadramawt, near the Shabwah governorate border. A reported U.S. airstrike killed two AQAP militants in al Abr district, north of al Dhalia’ah, Hadramawt on March 14. AQAP media channels also distributed a message warning Hadrami tribes not to align with the U.S. or the UAE on March 16.[1]

Emirates News Agency announced the combat death of an Emirati first sergeant serving with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen on March 16. Emirati Special Forces are supporting coalition combat operations along western Yemen’s Red Sea coast, as well as counterterrorism operations in southern Yemen. Two other Emirati soldiers died during combat operations in February.[2]

Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a ballistic missile from Mawza district toward Dhubab district, southwestern Taiz governorate, on March 16. Saudi-led coalition air defense systems intercepted the missile. Al Houthi-Saleh forces have fired eight ballistic missiles at Hadi government forces since the beginning of March.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Puntland Security Forces (PSF) engaged in a firefight with Somali pirates aboard a hijacked oil tanker in Guardafui, Puntland State, northern Somalia, on March 16. The crossfire wounded four members of the ship’s eight-member Sri Lankan crew. The PSF failed to intercept a boat carrying supplies to the hijackers. Local elders are attempting to broker negotiations. Residents blamed an uptick in illegal fishing for the incident. Pirates hijacked the Aris 13, a UAE-flagged oil tanker, on March 13 as it sailed between northern Somalia and Yemen’s Socotra Island. Somali pirates have not hijacked a commercial ship since 2012.[4]

Hundreds of Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops deployed to Beledweyne town in Hiraan region, central Somalia on March 16. Ethiopian AMISOM troops also mobilized in El Bur and Mahaas towns in Galgudud region, central Somalia.[5]

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Suqa-Holaha, northern Mogadishu, on March 16. The attack killed at least three people. Somali security forces claimed to kill al Shabaab’s commander in Suqa-Holaha, known as “Jafar,” in Heliwa district, Mogadishu on March 16.[6]

Al Shabaab militants assassinated a pro-government militiaman in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu on March 16, according to a pro-al Shabaab Telegram account. The attack is not confirmed.[7]

A series of retaliatory attacks related to drought conditions killed thirteen people in central Kenya. Violence began on March 13 when herders from the Ilchamus tribe raided herds belonging to the Pokot tribe. Subsequent attacks targeted women and children. The severe drought is driving armed pastoralists to attack ranches in Laikipia County, central Kenya. Gunmen shot and killed a British rancher in Laikipia on March 6.[8]

[1] “An armed attack on a Security base in al Dhali’aa district in Hadramawt wounding three soldiers,” Mukalla Now, March 15, 2017,; and AQAP distributes warning to Hadramawt tribal leaders not to side with U.S. or UAE, Telegram, March 16, 2017.
[2] “Armed forces announce the death of Zachariah Za’abi in Operation Restoring Hope in Yemen,” Emirates News Agency, March 16,; “UAE Armed Forces announces martyrdom of serviceman in Yemen,” Emirates News Agency,” February 24, 2017,;  “Emirati soldiers die in separate incidents,” The National, February 4, 2017,; and “Commander of Saudi-led Emirati Troops in Yemen killed in ballistic missile attack of al Houthi-Saleh alliance,” South Front, February 23, 2017,
[3] “Intercepted missile launched towards Bab al Mandab,” Barakish, March 16, 2017,
[4] Abdiqani Hassan, Somali force and pirates aboard hijacked vessel exchange fire,” Reuters, March 16, 2017,;  “Puntland forces clash with pirates aboard hijacked tanker, elders call for negotiations,” Goobjoog News, March 16, 2017,;  Frank Gardner, “Somalia ship hijack: Maritime piracy threatens to return,” BBC, March 16, 2017,; and “Somalia pirates: Anger fuels return of ship attacks,” al Jazeera, March 15, 2017,
[5] Live from Mogadishu, Twitter, March 16, 2017,
[6] Live from Mogadishu, Twitter, March 16, 2017,; and “Senior Al-Shabaab leader in Mogadishu felled by security forces,” Goobjoog News, March 16, 2017,
[7] Al Shabaab claims assassination of pro-government militiaman, Telegram, March 16, 2017.
[8] “13 killed in Kenya in drought-related violence,” AFP, March 15, 2017,; and Bmj Muriithi, “Pastoralist Attacks Have Kenyan Ranchers Living in Fear,” Voice of America, March 15, 2017,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Apr '17
Mar '17
Feb '17