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 publications target U.S.; Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Oman to revive Yemen peace talks; AQAP claims attacks on Yemeni forces; Hadi government and allied forces clash in northern Yemen; Saudi-led coalition warplanes strike al Houthi-Saleh vessels in Red Sea; cholera cases double in Yemen; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit civilian vehicle in Ibb governorate
Horn of Africa: AMISOM commanders request additional forces; al Shabaab conducts IED attacks in Burhakabo, Bay region; AMISOM and Southwest State security forces capture El Garas village, Bakool region; suspected al Shabaab gunmen target SNA forces in Mogadishu; Independent Electoral Dispute Resolution board reports widespread corruption
Yemen Security Brief
- The media wing of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Malahem media, published the latest edition of AQAP’s English-language magazine, Inspire, on November 12. AQAP also published the 29th edition of al Masra newspaper on November 11. Both publications targeted the United States. Inspire urged Muslim and black Americans to carry out lone wolf attacks in the U.S. and provided a justification for targeting American civilians. Al Masra claimed that the results of the 2016 presidential election prove that America is anti-Muslim.
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Muscat, Oman to revive the Yemen peace process on November 14. U.S. Secretary Kerry will meet with Omani Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alawi and Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said to discuss a peace resolution. Local sources claimed that U.S. Secretary Kerry will also meet with an al Houthi delegation that has been in Oman for more than a week.
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed several attacks targeting Yemeni forces between November 11 and November 14. AQAP militants attacked Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces with mortars on November 11 and with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on November 14 in Lawder district, northern Abyan. Al Hizam forces arrested seven suspected AQAP militants in Zinjibar and Ja’ar districts in southern Abyan on November 12. AQAP militants attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda, Ibb, and Taiz governorates on November 12 and 13.
- Hadi government and allied forces, backed by Saudi-led coalition warplanes, clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces on multiple fronts in northern Yemen. Hadi government forces seized al Houthi-Saleh positions in Khab wa ash Sha’af district in northern al Jawf, which is located near roadways that connect Saudi Arabia to Yemen, on November 10. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to seize positions in al Matun district, southeastern al Jawf governorate on November 14. A military spokesman claimed that Hadi government and allied forces killed 23 al Houthi-Saleh forces with artillery fire near Midi district, northern Hajjah governorate on November 14. Al Mihdar forces, a southern militia allied with the Hadi government, clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces near al Baqa city, northern Sa’ada governorate on November 14. Hadi government and allied forces also clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces along active frontlines in Ma’rib and Taiz governorates in central Yemen on November 14.
- Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck two al Houthi-Saleh vessels in the Red Sea near Salif city, northern al Hudaydah governorate on November 12. A Saudi-led coalition source claimed that the vessels were transporting weapons for the al Houthi-Saleh alliance. The Saudi-led coalition also struck an al Houthi-Saleh naval base and a medical college in al Hudaydah governorate.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 4,000 suspected cases of cholera in Yemen on November 14. The WHO reported 2,070 suspected cases of cholera in Yemen on November 1. Cholera affects 11 governorates, with the heaviest caseloads in Taiz and Aden governorates. Only 45 percent of Yemeni health facilities are functional and two-thirds of the population lacks access to clean drinking water, according to UN reporting. The UN estimates that the cholera outbreak could reach 76,000 cases across 15 governorates.
- The Saudi-led coalition struck an alleged civilian vehicle carrying food items in Yarim district, Ibb governorate on November 14. Local sources reported at least 14 civilian casualties.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Top military officials representing the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) requested 4,000 additional forces to accomplish the mission’s objectives in Somalia. Officials from the mission’s current troop contributing countries (TCCs), which consist of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Burundi, released the statement following a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 11. Ethiopian AMISOM forces, which comprise approximately 4,000 of the 22,000 person mission, have redeployed from Somalia to Ethiopia in response to domestic protests. The request for additional forces follows a UN monitoring group report detailing widespread corruption that has delayed or redirected salary payments for AMISOM troops.
- Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a police station in Burhakabo in Bay region on November 14, killing multiple police officers. A pro-al Shabaab website claimed that the group conducted a second attack in Burhakabo on November 13, but this attack is not independently verified.
- Southwest State security forces and AMISOM forces recaptured El Garas village in Bakool region from al Shabaab on November 14. Al Shabaab militants fled the town without mounting a resistance. Al Shabaab still occupies nearby Tiyeglow village. Militants occupied Tiyeglow following the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from the town on October 26.
- Suspected al Shabaab militants opened fire on a checkpoint manned by Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in the Wardhigley district of Mogadishu on November 13. The attack killed one soldier and wounded several other troops and a civilian. Suspected al Shabaab gunmen killed a SNA soldier in Bakara Market in Mogadishu on November 13.
- The Independent Electoral Disputes Resolution (IEDR) board, a newly formed election monitoring body, reported widespread corruption in Somalia’s ongoing Lower House elections. Candidates have reportedly transported and then held delegates near polling centers until the delegates have cast their ballots. Somali officials have announced repeated delays to the electoral timeline and accusations of corruption.