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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.