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: U.S. special operations forces in Yemen to advise Emirati and Yemeni troops against AQAP; militants detonate an IED in Ma’rib city; former Yemeni vice president meets with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: NISA forces arrest two suspected al Shabaab members in Waberi District, Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM positions in Bardhere, Gedo region; Kenyan Government announces plans to close refugee camps

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. special operations forces are advising Emirati and Yemeni armed forces in Yemen for operations against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to a senior U.S. official. The official added that U.S. troops are not based near combat areas and are assisting at a headquarters level. Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis stated that the U.S. military personnel are assisting coalition forces with strategy and intelligence, including airborne surveillance, as well as medical and material support. U.S. forces arrived at al Anad air base in Lahij governorate on May 5, according to local sources.[1]  
  • Militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in a market in Ma’rib city on May 6, killing seven people and wounding at least 15 others. Local authorities claim to have arrested several militant cells, one including female militants, that planned to plant IEDs in Ma’rib targeting civilians, popular resistance fighters, and government troops.[2]
  • Former Vice President and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah met with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 5. Bahah and Prince Salman reportedly discussed the ongoing UN-led Kuwait peace talks and potential political solutions for Yemen. President Hadi replaced Bahah with Ahmed Obaid bin Daghir as Prime Minister and Lieutenant General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar as Vice President during a cabinet reshuffle on April 3.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali National Security and Intelligence Agency (NISA) officers arrested two suspected al Shabaab members during a clearing operation in Waberi District, Mogadishu on May 6. The operations may have been a response to the al Shabaab mortar attack on the Halane Training Facility located in Waberi on May 2.[4]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops in Bardhere, Gedo region on May 6. Residents said that the fighters targeted peacekeepers at checkpoints around the city. AMISOM troops supported by Somali National Army (SNA) forces counterattacked and killed three militants. Militants killed one SNA soldier. An AMISOM source claimed that the militants retreated to the outskirts of town.[5]
  • The Government of Kenya announced “expedited” plans to close the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps, which together house an estimated 600,000 refugees, the majority of whom are Somali.  Officials cited the severe economic and security hardships caused by the camps, including the radicalization of refugees by al Shabaab.The Kenyan government has debated closing the camp for some time but has faced resistance from the Somali government and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).[6]

[1] “US military supporting Yemen in fight against al-Qaida,” Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press, May 5, 2016,; and “The arrival of an American plane carrying soldiers to al Anad air base in south Yemen,” Khabara Agency, May 5, 2016,
[2] “Bomb attack kills seven in Yemeni city Marib - police,” Tom Finn, Reuters, May 6, 2016,; and “Killed and wounded more than 20 people in an improvised explosion in the middle of the city #Ma’rib,” Barakish, May 6, 2016,  
[3] “A meeting between Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and advisor to Yemeni president Khaled Bahah,” Al Masdar, May 6, 2016
[4] “Government forces launch security operations in Waberi District,” Goobjoog News, May 6, 2016,
[5] “SNA and AMISOM Troops clash with al Shabab in Bardhere,4 killed,” Goobjoog News,
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