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: 48-hour ceasefire ends without renewal; belligerents clash and exchange fire along Yemen’s frontlines; AQAP detonates IEDs targeting al Hizam forces in Lawder district, Abyan governorate; reported U.S. airstrike kills AQAP leader in al Bayda governorate

Horn of Africa: Clashes erupt following controversial Lower House elections in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region; al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting Ethiopian AMISOM forces in Bulo Gadud, Lower Jubba region; Kenyan police kill four al Shabaab militants near Somali-Kenyan border in Mandera County, Kenya; suspected al Shabaab militants target SNA and Somali police forces in Mogadishu; al Shabaab executes Tanzanian national in Jilib town, Middle Jubba region

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Saudi-led coalition, President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government, and the al Houthi-Saleh alliance observed a 48-hour ceasefire beginning on November 19. President Hadi’s government asked the coalition to observe the ceasefire, according to Saudi Arabia’s state news agency. The Hadi government had condemned a ceasefire planned for November 17 following direct negotiations between the coalition and the al Houthi-Saleh alliance. The combatants did not renew the ceasefire on November 21. The level of violence decreased throughout Yemen during the ceasefire, though violations occurred on several frontlines. Hadi government and allied forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Taiz city. An al Houthi-Saleh spokesman accused the Saudi-led coalition of conducting airstrikes on al Houthi-Saleh-held territory in multiple governorates. The coalition’s spokesman denied any violations and stated that coalition warplanes targeted only al Houthi-Saleh forces that were attempting to gain new positions during the ceasefire. Al Houthi-Saleh forces shelled Saudi border positions with Katyusha rockets in Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on November 20, according to pro-al Houthi news outlets. Al Houthi-Saleh forces also fired a ballistic missile targeting Hadi government forces in Ma’rib city on November 21. The coalition intercepted the missile.[1]
  • Belligerents in the Yemeni civil war resumed hostilities after the expiration of the 48-hour ceasefire on November 21. Al Houthi-Saleh forces shelled Saudi border positions in southern Najran and Jazan regions, southern Saudi Arabia on November 21. Al Houthi-Saleh forces also claimed to seize two Saudi border positions in the mountain range along the Saudi-Yemeni border in southern Najran. Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched a ballistic missile targeting a Hadi government military camp in Nihm district, northeast of Sana’a city. Hadi government and allied forces, supported by Saudi-led coalition warplanes, claimed to kill 30 al Houthi-Saleh fighters east of Midi city in northern Hajjah governorate. Hadi government and allied popular resistance forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Siwl village, southwest of Taiz city in central Yemen.[2]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants claimed multiple improvised explosive device (IED) attacks targeting Emirati-backed counterterrorism forces in Lawder district, northern Abyan governorate between November 19 and November 21. One IED targeted the commander of the al Hizam security forces in Lawder. AQAP killed at least three al Hizam members and wounded several others in the attacks.[3]
  •  A reported U.S. airstrike killed an AQAP leader, Abu Hammam al Ibbi, in al Sawmah district, al Bayda governorate on November 21. The last reported U.S. airstrike targeting AQAP militants occurred on October 21 in  Wadi Obeida, Ma’rib governorate.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Gunmen affiliated with rival Lower House candidates clashed following a controversial first round of voting in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region, Somalia on November 18. The gunfire wounded at least three individuals. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud ordered Somali National Army (SNA) forces to prevent candidates’ private security details from entering the polling place following the incident. U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz wrote a letter to the regional president of Galmudug State over concerns of fraud in Galmudug’s Lower House Elections.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces in Bulo Gadud village near Kismayo in Lower Jubba region on November 19. The blast killed three Ethiopian AMISOM troops.[6]
  • Kenyan police officers killed four suspected al Shabaab militants near the Kenyan-Somali border in Mandera County, Kenya on November 20. The militants were reportedly planning an operation targeting a local police station. Al Shabaab militants conducted a series of attacks targeting civilians and tourists in Mandera County in October 2016.[7]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Somali police checkpoint in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu on November 20. The blast killed at least two individuals. Suspected al Shabaab gunmen also killed three Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in Mogadishu on November 18.[8]
  • Al Shabaab militants executed a Tanzanian national accused of spying for American and Rwandan intelligence services in Jilib town in Middle Shabelle region on November 21. Al Shabaab released a video in which the accused man confesses to receiving money from American and Rwandan security personnel in return for information on al Shabaab senior leadership.[9]

[1]Mohamed Ghobari, “Houthi missile and Saudi-led air strikes strain Yemen truce,” Reuters, November 19, 2016,; “Coalition forces announce a cease-fire in Yemen at the request of President Hadi,” Saba New, November 19, 2016,; “Again .. intercept ballistic over # Marib,” Barakish, November 21, 2016,; “Targeting gatherings Saudi soldiers at Camp man in Najran,” al Masirah, November 20, 2016,; and “Saudi Arabia denies Arab coalition violated Yemen truce,” al Jazeera, November 20, 2016,
[2] “Bombing gatherings of soldiers Saudis in the camp and the village of al Ma’azab in Jazan,” al Masirah, November 21, 2016,; “Rocket and artillery force tamping gatherings and locations of the Saudi army in Najran,” November 21, 2016,; “The death of a large number of Saudi soldiers in control of the two sites in Najran,” November 21, 2016,; “Killing and wounding a number of mercenaries and destroying two vehicles in the bombing of two camps missile earthquake in binging,” al Masirah, November 21, 2016,; “Government forces announces the death of 30 Huthis raids Arab alliance in Hajjah,” al Masdar, November 21, 2016,; and “Renewed fighting south of Taiz and government forces trying to control the last bastion for the Houthis,” al Masdar, November 21, 2016,
[3]  AQAP claims IED attacks targeting al Hizam force in Lawder district, Abyan governorate on social media, Telegram, November 19-21, 2016, source available upon request; “Urgent: dead and wounded in continued targeting of al Hizam security forces patrols in Lauder military,” Aden Land, November 19, 2016,; and “The death of a security belt soldiers died of his wounds after a bomb attack on a military kit in Lawder,” November 20, 2016,
[4] “Drone kills al Qaeda leader in central Yemen,” Aden Lang, November 21, 2016,
[5] “Somali sports minister disrupts lower house voting,” Shabelle News, November 19, 2016,; “Somali president warns further election disturbance,” Shabelle News, November 20, 2016,; “Somali election is rigged and mired by fraud,” Shabelle News, November 20, 2016,; and “US accuses state minister for presidency of electoral fraud,” Shabelle News, November 21, 2016,  
[6] “Ethiopian soldiers killed bomb attack near Kismayo,” Shabelle News, November 19, 2016,
[7] “Kenya police kill Al Qaeda gang planning attack on cops,” Daily News, November 20, 2016,; and “Kenya Police Kil Al-Shabab fighters at Somali Border,” Shabelle News, November 20, 2016,
[8] “Blast at police checkpoint in Mogadishu kills two,” Shabelle News, November 20, 2016,; and  “Somali Govt solds shot dead in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, November 19, 2016,
[9] “Al-Shabaab executes a Tanzanian spy in Jilib,” Shabelle News, November 21, 2016,  
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