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 official confirms roadmap agreement with Saudi-led coalition; militants detonate VBIED outside governor’s house in Shabwah governorate; Saudi-led coalition intercepts al Houthi-Saleh vessels near al Salif port; Hadi government and allied forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Taiz governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces launch ballistic missiles targeting military positions in southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab launches counteroffensive on Tiyeglow town, Bakool region; SNA and AMISOM forces drive al Shabaab from village near Mahaday town, Middle Shabelle region; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting restaurant in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Galmudug presidential security guards kill delegate in Adado, Galgaduud region

Yemen Security Brief

  • A member of the al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council (SPC) confirmed on November 16 that the Saudi-led coalition and the al Houthi-Saleh alliance agreed to a preliminary roadmap for a peace process. The official also confirmed that the al Houthi-Saleh alliance and Saudi-led coalition agreed to a ceasefire, which is scheduled to begin on November 17. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the preliminary agreement and ceasefire plan on November 15. The Saudi-led coalition has not publicly commented on the agreement. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government was not included in the negotiations and publicly denounced them.[1]
  • Militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) near the house of Shabwah Governor Ahmed Lamlas in Ataq district, Shabwah governorate on November 16. Governor Ahmed Lamlas returned from meetings in Mukalla city in Hadramawt governorate the day before the attack. The VBIED killed one civilian and injured two others.[2]
  • The Saudi-led coalition intercepted two vessels in Salif port, northern al Hudaydah governorate on November 16. Anti-al Houthi sources in al Hudaydah claimed that the vessels were part of Iranian smuggling operations to transport weapons to al Houthi-Saleh forces. The anti-al Houthi also claimed that Iran is using islands north of Bab al Mandab strait to facilitate weapons smuggling.[3]
  • Hadi government and allied forces, supported by Saudi-led coalition warplanes, clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces on multiple fronts in Taiz governorate on November 16. Hadi government and popular resistance forces seized Mount Bani Omar Jaradad in southwest Taiz governorate on November 16. Al Houthi-Saleh forces controlled Mount Jaradad, which overlooks the Bab al Mandab strait, for five months. Hadi government forces also seized multiple positions in eastern Taiz city on November 16. A Hadi government commander claimed his forces killed the al Houthi-Saleh forces’ third highest-ranking commander in Taiz during the clashes.[4]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired at least one ballistic missiles targeting Saudi military positions in Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on November 15. Pro-al Houthi news outlets claimed that al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a Tochka missile at a Saudi National Guard camp and a Zilzal-3 missile at Camp Rajal, south of Najran city. Pro-al Houthi news outlets claimed that this attack was the first time that two ballistic missiles reached their targets simultaneously without being intercepted by Saudi air defense systems. Saudi Arabia’s state news agency reported that Saudi air defense systems intercepted one ballistic missile targeting Najran on November 15.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants launched a counteroffensive on Tiyeglow town, Bakool region on November 15. The militants had fled the town when African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and local security forces arrived earlier that day. Al Shabaab detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) to launch the counterattack. The blast and an ensuing firefight killed at least 20 Somali security personnel. Al Shabaab has reportedly regained control of Tiyeglow. Al Shabaab militants occupied Tiyeglow following the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces on October 26. Tiyeglow connects the regional capitals of Bakool and Hiraan region.[6]
  • Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM forces drove al Shabaab militants from a village near Mahaday town in Middle Shabelle region on November 16. The militants fled the town without mounting resistance. SNA, AMISOM, and local security forces have launched an operation to reacquire control of territory seized by al Shabaab in south central Somalia.[7]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a restaurant in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region. The blast wounded at least five individuals. Jubbaland security forces populated the restaurant at the time of the attack.[8]
  • Galmudug presidential security guards shot and killed a delegate to the Galmudug Lower House elections in Adado, Galgaduud region on November 16. Local elders are reportedly at odds with one another over the handling of the election process.[9]
[1] Mohammed Ghobari, “Yemen's Houthis say they want to end war, form unity government,” Reuters, November 16, 2016,
[2]“One killed, two injured in an explosion in Ataq,” Aden Tomorrow, November 16, 2016,
[3] “Arab coalition intercepts boats carrying weapons to Yemen,” al Arabiya, November 16, 2016,
[4] “The restoration of a peak overlooking the strategic Bab al Mandab,” Aden Tomorrow, November 16, 2016,; and “Taiz rise up .. and dozens of deaths of the coup leaders, notably including Third Man,” Aden Tomorrow, November 16, 2016,
[6] “Somalia: At least 20 people killed in Tiyeglow battle,” Shabelle News, November 16, 2016,; “Al Shabaab militants retake Tiyeglow after massive raid,” Shabelle News, November 15, 2016,; and “Explosions, Clashes Continue in Tiyeglow,” Idale News, November 16, 2016,
[7] “SNA and AU troops recapture village in central Somalia,” Goobjoog News, November 16, 2016,
[8] “Somalia: Bomb at a cafe in Kismayo leaves five injured,” Shabelle News, November 16, 2016,
[9] “A delegate killed outside polling station in Adado,” Shabelle News, November 16, 2016,
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