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.[1]
  • 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.[2]
  • 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.[3]
  • 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.[4]
  • 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.[5]
  • 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.[6]
  • 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.[7]

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.[8]
  • 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.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • 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.[11]
  • 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.[12]
[1] “New issue of al-Q?’idah in the Arabian Peninsula’s magazine: “Inspire #16”,” Jihadology, November 12, 2016,; and “New issue of An??r al-Shar?’ah in the Arabian Peninsula’s newspaper: “al-Masr? #29″,” Jihadology, November 11, 2016,
[2] “Kerry arrives in Oman for talks on Yemen,” Al Arabiya, November 14, 2016,; and “Kerry visit to Muscat on Monday and sources suspect a meeting with spokesperson of al Houthi delegation,” al Masdar, November 14, 2016,
[3] AQAP-affiliated telegram account claims attacks against al Hizam and al Houthi forces, Telegram, November 11-14, 2016, source available upon request; and “A roadside bomb targeting an army kit in al Ayn Abyan and wounded one of the soldiers,” Aden Tomorrow, November 14, 2016,
[4] “Government troops advancing in Sha'af governorate of Al-Jawf and Houthis are responding to bomb the city of Hazam,” al Masdar, November 10, 2016,; “Urgent. . National Army troops and large-scale military operation to free the largest districts Jawf start and dominate the new sites,” Yemen Akhbar, November 10, 2016,; “Army and people’s committees in control of a number of sites in Ham front in al Jawf,” al Masirah, November 11, 2016,; “Government forces announced the killing of 23 militants, including an al Houthi field leader in Midi and Harad,” al Masdar, November 14, 2016,; “South resistance liberation strategically located in Saada (video),” Aden Tomorrow, November 14, 2016,; and “Army repels attack in Mareb and losses for the Houthis in Taiz,” Aden Tomorrow, November 14, 2016,
[5] “Coalition destroys boats smuggling Houthi weapons,” al Arabiya, November 12, 2016,; and “Arab Coalition warplanes bombed Houthi positions and Saleh forces in the governorates of Hajjah and Hodaydah,” Aden Tomorrow, November 14, 2016,
[6] Tom Miles, “Yemen's suspected cholera cases double to 4,000-plus: WHO,” Reuters, November 14, 2016,
[7] “Killed and wounded in Aggressor’s massacre in Yarim - names,” Al Masirah, November 14, 2016,; and “Killing at least 14 civilians and wounding more than 10 others in alliance airstrikes in Ibb,” al Masdar, November 14, 2016,  
[8] “AMISOM calls for more troops to secure Somalia,” Shabelle News, November 13, 2016,
[9] “Huge Explosion Heard in Burhakabo Police Station, Shabelle News, November 14, 2016,; and “Al Shabaab kills senior official in Burhakabo attack,” Shabelle News, November 14, 2016,
[10] “Allied forces recapture village in south west Somalia,” Goobjoog News, November 13, 2016,; and “Allied forces retake town from Al Shabaab militants,” Shabelle News, November 13, 2016,
[11] “Two soldiers dead, several injured in Mogadishu attack,” Shabelle News, November 13, 2016,; and “Gunmen kill a soldier in attack on checkpoint in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, November 14, 2016,
[12] “Candidates buy out voters and hold them till voting day - dispute resolution body,” Goobjoog News, Novemebr 13, 2016,
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