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. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State clarifies Secretary Kerry’s statements to President Hadi; AQAP attacks security forces in northern Abyan governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces shell Jazan region, southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM base near KM60 area, Lower Shabelle region; parliamentary election results favor President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

Yemen Security Brief

  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs Timothy Lenderking clarified to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi that the al Houthi-Saleh alliance and Saudi-led coalition agreed on a guide to resume talks, not an actual peace treaty. Deputy Assistant Lenderking stated that Secretary of State John Kerry’s statements were taken out of context by the media. Deputy Assistant Lenderking reassured President Hadi that the peace process will include President Hadi’s government.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants claimed an attack targeting Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces in al Mahfad district, northeastern Abyan governorate on November 17. An AQAP social media account claimed that the group seized heavy machine guns from al Hizam forces during a battle that lasted two hours. Local news sources confirmed that AQAP destroyed two al Hizam technicals. Al Hizam security forces arrested two suspected AQAP militants in Halma village, north of Ja’ar city in southern Abyan, on November 17.[2]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched Katyusha rockets targeting Saudi military positions in Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on November 17, according to al Houthi news outlets. Al Houthi-Saleh artillery fire killed two civilians in Najran on November 16. Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck al Houthi-Saleh territory in Sa’ada and Sana’a governorates on November 17, according to al Houthi news outlets. The Saudi-led coalition and al Houthi-Saleh alliance agreed to observe a ceasefire beginning on November 17.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base near KM60 area in Lower Shabelle region on November 17. Al Shabaab attacked the base with small arms and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and claimed to inflict multiple casualties. AMISOM forces repelled the attack. AMISOM forces claimed to have killed 12 al Shabaab militants during an ambush in the nearby KM50 area on November 14.[4]
  • Lower and Upper House parliamentary elections continue to produce representatives with close ties to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Lower House elections in HirShabelle state elected multiple former ministers and current cabinet members close to President Mohamud. President Mohamud, who was previously criticized for appointing his former top legal advisor to lead a key election body, will likely achieve re-election in the presidential contest scheduled for November 30.[5]
[1] “Message from Hadi to Trump,” Barakish, November 17, 2016,
[2] “Wounded troops from the security zone of the base attack in Mahfad,” Aden Tomorrow, November 17, 2016,; AQAP claims attack on al Hizam forces in Abyan, Telegram, November 17, 2016, source available upon request; and “Raids in Abyan and arrest two al-Qaeda members and weapons,” Aden Tomorrow, November 17, 2016,
[3] “Rocket and artillery force tamping sites and gatherings of the Saudi forces in Najran,” al Masirah, November 17, 2016,; “Dead and wounded in the mortar rounds on the Saudi Jazan,” Aden Tomorrow, November 17, 2016,; “Airline aggression waged three raids on the Nihm district using cluster bombs,” Saba News, November 17, 2016,; and “Airline aggression waged a series of raids on Sa’ada province,” Saba News, November 17, 2016,
[4] “Al Shabaab raids AMISOM base in southern Somalia,” Shabelle News, November 17, 2016,
[5] “President’s Men make a come as November vote takes shape,” Goobjoog News, November 16, 2016,; “Lower house election commenced in Jowhar,” Shabelle News,
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