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 forces claim to fire ballistic missiles into Asir region, southern Saudi Arabia; Hadhrami Elite Forces raid AQAP safe house in Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen; Hadi government forces advance to Hasy Salim village near al Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen; Saudi Arabia pledges $10 billion to rebuild Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants ambush Ethiopian AMISOM forces withdrawing from Galgudud region, central Somalia; Somali and AMISOM forces repulse al Shabaab ambush on aid convoy near Baidoa town, Bay region; ISIS-linked militants assassinate Somali intelligence officer in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to fire three ballistic missiles at King Khaled Air Base in Khamis Mushait, Asir region, southern Saudi Arabia, on March 28. Royal Saudi Air Defense reported the interception of four ballistic missiles over Khamis Mushait and Abha, the capital of Asir region, on March 28. Saudi government sources reported nine attacks against Saudi targets by al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missiles in March 2017.[1] 

Emirati-backed Hadhrami Elite Forces raided an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) safe house in central Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen, on March 28. Hadhrami Elite Forces arrested AQAP commander Abu Ali al Sayari and three other militants in Wadi Hadramawt. Hadhrami forces also killed two AQAP militants in the raid. An AQAP-affiliated social media account reported that Hadhrami Elite Forces killed only one AQAP militant.[2]

Forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi advanced to the outskirts of Hasy Salim, a village in northern Taiz governorate near Khawkah city, al Hudaydah governorate, on March 28. Al Houthi-Saleh forces shelled Hadi government positions in Yakhtul village on March 28. Yakhtul is located approximately 12 miles behind the frontline. Hadi government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition are attempting to seize Yemen’s western coast from al Houthi-Saleh forces. The Hadi government has stated that it will not agree to a ceasefire until it controls al Hudaydah port, which is located 83 miles north of the current frontline.[3]

Saudi Arabia will announce a pledge of $10 billion for the reconstruction of Yemen during the Arab League summit in Amman, Jordan, on March 29, according to Hadi government Foreign Minister Abdul Malik al Mikhlafi.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attacked Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops in multiple locations in Galgudud region, central Somalia, on March 27 and 28. Al Shabaab militants ambushed Ethiopian AMISOM forces near Odweyn, Waholey, Elqohle and Elaheley villages. The attacks occurred along the road between Elbur town and Dhusamareb in central Galgudud region. Al Shabaab also claimed to kill more than 10 Ethiopian soldiers gathered outside of Elbur town. The attacks follow the withdrawal of Ethiopian AMISOM forces from bases in Elaheley, Elbur, and Dhusamareb on March 26. Al Shabaab seized several villages in central Somalia after more than 3,000 Ethiopian soldiers, who were not part of AMISOM, withdrew from central Somalia in fall 2016.[5] 

Somali and AMISOM forces repulsed an attack by al Shabaab militants near Baidoa town in Bay region, southern Somalia, on March 28. Al Shabaab militants ambushed the forces as they escorted a convoy carrying humanitarian aid. The militants killed four Somali soldiers in the attack. Somali and AMISOM forces repulsed a similar al Shabaab attack outside Baidoa town on March 20.[6]

Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS)-linked militants assassinated a Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) officer in the Yaqshid district of Mogadishu on March 27, according to pro-ISIS Amaq News Agency. ISIS-linked militants conduct infrequent attacks in Mogadishu and parts of Puntland in northern Somalia. ISIS-linked militants last assassinated a Somali National Army (SNA) officer in Mogadishu on February 24.[7] 

[1] “Missile force targets Khalid Air Base in Asir with three ballistic missiles,” Sabanews, March 28, 2017,; “Saudi Air Defense intercepts four rockets fired by militias towards the towns of Khamis Mushait and Abha,” Sabanew, March 28, 2017,
[2] “The Hadhrami Elite operation to arrest the second man to al Qaeda in the governorate,” Aden Lang, March 28, 2017,; and AQAP reports that Hadhrami Elite Forces killed Hathifa al Ghili, Telegram, March 28, 2017.
[3] “Five kilometers separates the legitimacy from al Hudaydah,” Barakish, March 28, 2017,; and “At least one civilian killed near Yakhtul, northern Mokha,” al Masdar, March 28, 2017,
[4] Miriam al Saghir, “Mikhlafi: Iranian experts trained the coup and ‘support’ saved Yemen,” Okaz, March 28, 2017,
[5] “Ethiopian forces clash with al Shabaab in Galgudud, central Somalia,” Goobjoog News, March 28, 2017,; Live From Mogadishu, Fierce clashes in Somalia’s Galgudud region, March 28, 2017,; and Live From Mogadishu, Fighting erupts in Wamoley, Elahaley in Galgudud, March 27, 2017,
[6] “Somali, AU troops repel al Shabaab attacks in southern Somalia,” Garowe Online, March 28, 2017,; and “Four Southwest Soldiers killed in al Shabaab attack,” Shabelle News, March 28, 2017,
[7] Bruce Wright, “Where Is ISIS? Islamic State Kills Somalia Spy In Mogadishu,” International Business Times, March 27, 2017,
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