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: Secretary of State John Kerry announces ceasefire between al Houthi-Saleh alliance and Saudi-led coalition; ISIS militants execute civilian; Saudi-led coalition spokesman claims airstrike targeted al Houthi-Saleh weapon smugglers; southern Yemenis protest failing government services; Hadi government and allied forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Dhaleh governorate; AQAP militants launch mortars targeting al Hizam forces in northern Abyan governorate

Horn of Africa: AMISOM and Southwest State security forces recapture Tiyeglow, Bakool region from al Shabaab; suspected al Shabaab militants fire on passenger bus traveling from Mogadishu to Marka, Lower Shabelle region; AMISOM claims to kill 12 al Shabaab militants in ambush near KM50, Lower Shabelle region; drought causes child deaths in northern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the al Houthi-Saleh alliance and the Saudi-led coalition agreed to a ceasefire that will begin on November 17. Secretary Kerry also stated that all parties in the Yemeni civil war agreed to establish a national unity government by the end of the year. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s foreign minister, Abdul Malik al Mikhlafi, stated shortly after that the Hadi government was not aware of any agreements and that Hadi government officials did not attend the meeting. Local sources reported that an al Houthi-Saleh delegation secretly met with Saudi officials to discuss a Yemeni ceasefire agreement. The Sultanate of Oman reportedly mediated meetings between the al Houthi-Saleh alliance and Saudi intelligence.[1]
  • Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) militants executed a civilian in front of his family in Rabia area, Rada’a district, western al Bayda governorate, according to al Houthi-Saleh news sources. ISIS claimed to repel an attack by al Houthi-Saleh forces in western al Bayda on November 4.[2]
  • Saudi-led coalition spokesman Major General Ahmed Asiri stated that the coalition’s November 14 airstrikes in Yarim, Ibb governorate targeted an al Houthi-Saleh arms convoy on November 15. Local sources reported that the coalition’s airstrikes struck civilian trucks on November 14. Asiri claimed that trucks had the same characteristics used by al Houthi-Saleh weapon smugglers. Asiri added that there is a possibility that these vehicles were carrying fuel alongside weaponry.[3]
  • Southern Yemenis demonstrated for the third day in a row in Aden city against government corruption, absent government services, and unpaid salaries on November 15. Teachers also protested unpaid salaries for the ninth day in Zinjibar city, Abyan governorate. Most government salaries have not been paid since August. Southern activists are calling on supporters to demonstrate on the anniversary of South Yemen’s independence on November 30. Protesters called for an independent South Yemen in Aden city on November 13.[4]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces targeted Hadi government positions with Katyusha rockets in the Hamk area, northern al Dhaleh on November 14. Hadi government and allied forces attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in the Hamk area on November 14 following the al Houthi-Saleh rocket attack.[5]
  •  Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants launched mortars targeting al Hizam security forces near al Akad Mountain, Lawder district, northern Abyan. An al Hizam commander confirmed the AQAP attack in Lawder and reported that some personnel were injured. AQAP militants last targeted al Hizam forces near al Akad Mountain on November 11 and 14.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Southwest State security forces recaptured Tiyeglow town from al Shabaab in Bakool region on November 15. Al Shabaab forces fled the town without mounting resistance. AMISOM and regional security forces are attempting to regain control of towns in Hiraan and Bakool region that al Shabaab captured following the withdrawal of Ethiopian AMISOM forces in September and October. AMISOM and Southwest security forces recaptured El Garas village near Tiyeglow on November 14.[7]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants opened fire on a passenger bus traveling from Mogadishu to Marka town in Lower Shabelle region on November 15. The gunmen wounded the driver and one passenger. Al Shabaab competes with AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) forces for control of Marka. The gunmen reportedly wore SNA uniforms as they opened fire on the vehicle. Al Shabaab frequently steals military uniforms and supplies when it raids military bases.[8]
  • AMISOM and SNA forces ambushed al Shabaab forces near KM50 area in Lower Shabelle on November 14, according to AMISOM social media. The security forces claimed to kill 12 militants in the attack and accused al Shabaab of killing two civilians after their defeat. The casualties are not verified.[9]
  • Spreading drought and famine are killing children in northern Somalia, according to Somali authorities. The UN reported in September that approximately half Somalia’s population lacks reliable access to food.[10]
[1] Yaganeh Torbati, “Kerry says cessation of hostilities in Yemen to start November 17,” Reuters, November 15, 2016,; Abdul Malik al Mikhlafi, Twitter, November 15, 2016,; “Kerry’s visit to Muscat on Monday and sources suspect a meeting with a spokesperson for the al Houthi faction,” al Masdar, November 14, 2016,; and “Yemeni government: Kerry’s remarks do not concern us,” Aden Tomorrow, November 15, 2016,
[3] “Alliance: We targeted a shipment of arms of Houthis in Ibb,” Aden Tomorrow, November 15, 2016,
[4] “For the third consecutive day of Aden convulsed with demonstrations demanding the fight against corruption and the deterioration of the situation,” Aden Tomorrow, November 15, 2016,; Teachers Zanzibar continue their protests for a ninth day to demand their salaries,” Aden Tomorrow, November 15, 2016,; Revolutionary Committee for the Liberation of escalation and independence for the south in Aden calling for the masses to march south towards Mukalla to participate in the November 30,” Aden Tomorrow, November 15, 2016,; and “(Aden convulsed) and renewed its rejection of the occupation projects and emphasizes the demands of independence for the south and the preparation of protesters is increasing,” Aden Tomorrow, November 13, 2016,
[5] “Night of renewed fighting between rebels and resistance in Hamk, northern Dhaleh governorate,” al Masdar, November 14, 2016,
[6] AQAP claims mortar attack on al Hizam forces near al Akad, Telegram, November 15, 2016, source available upon request; and “Al-Qaeda bombed positions of the security forces and the fall injured in Lawder,” Aden Tomorrow, November 15, 2016,
[7] “Somali troops recapture Tiyeglow from Al Shabaab,” Shabelle News, November 14, 2016,  
[8] “Somalia: Bus attack leaves two passengers injured,” Shabelle News, November 15, 2016,
[9] “AMISOM: 12 Al Shabaab fighters in ambush attack,” Shabelle News, November 15, 2016,
[10] “Child deaths in northern Somalia as drought bites,” Goobjoog News, November 15, 2016,; and “Drought-hit Somalia appeals for help,” The East African, November 13, 2016,
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