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: Security forces arrest AQAP militants in southern Yemen; Saudi-led coalition strikes multiple areas in northern Yemen; Hadi government and Hadi-allied forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in central Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh forces shell Najran region, Saudi Arabia; popular resistance forces disrupt hospital services in Taiz governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants seize Goof Gaduud town, Bay region; al Shabaab militants briefly occupy and destroy telecommunications equipment in Hulugho town, Garissa County, Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • Southern Yemeni security forces arrested al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in counterterrorism operations in Hadramawt governorate on November 23. Security forces arrested 11 AQAP militants following clashes in Ghayl Bawazir district on November 23. Ghayl Bawazir district is less than 50 km northeast of a former AQAP stronghold, al Mukalla city. The security forces tracked the AQAP militants who attacked a security checkpoint in Ras Huwayrah area, 100 km northwest of Ghayl Bawazir district, the previous day. Emirati-backed al Hizam forces seized an AQAP improvised explosive device (IED) factory in Jaar city, southwestern Abyan governorate. Al Hizam forces arrested two AQAP militants in the seizure.[1]
  • The Saudi-led coalition struck multiple areas in northern Yemen on November 23. Coalition warplanes killed a Republican Guard officer in Sa’ada governorate along the Saudi-Yemeni border.  Republican Guard units remain loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh even though internationally recognized Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi formally disbanded the Republican Guard in December 2012. The Saudi-led coalition also targeted anti-aircraft positions in al Hudaydah governorate on the Red Sea coast. The coalition struck al Houthi-Saleh reinforcements in southern Midi city, a port city in Hajjah governorate, killing an al Houthi-Saleh weapon supplier and 16 others. A Saudi-led coalition airstrike also hit a civilian vehicle, killing 12, east of Midi city in Hiran district, northwest Hajjah governorate, on November 23. The Saudi-led coalition struck a reported civilian vehicle, killing 14 people, in Ibb governorate on November 14.[2]
  • Hadi government and Hadi-allied forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in central Yemen. They repelled an al Houthi-Saleh attack in Maris in northern al Dhaleh governorate on November 23. Hadi government and Hadi-allied forces also clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Hamak district, southwest of Maris. Al Houthi-Saleh forces mounted an attempt to retake Mount Han, west of Taiz city from Hadi government and Hadi-allied forces on November 23, but were repelled. Al Houthi-Saleh forces seized Hadi government positions in al Misrakh district, south of Taiz city on November 23, according to pro-al Houthi news outlets.[3]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces shelled sites in Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on November 22. The Saudi director of civil defense in Najran claimed that projectiles launched from al Houthi-Saleh-held territory struck a shopping complex killing a Yemeni and wounding several others. An al Houthi news outlet reported that al Houthi-Saleh forces launched Katyusha rockets targeting the Saudi military in Fort al Hammad, southern Najran region, on November 22.[4]
  • Hadi-allied popular resistance forces regularly harass, detain, and threaten hospital staff in Taiz governorate, according to a report by Amnesty International. They shut down the largest hospital in Taiz city, al Thawra Hospital, for providing medical aid to injured al Houthi-Saleh fighters. Hadi-allied popular resistance forces also established military positions next to the hospital putting its staff and building at risk, according to al Thawra’s staff. Only 45 percent of Yemen’s hospitals are functional due to the civil war.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants drove Somali National Army (SNA) forces from Goof Gaduud town in Bay region on November 23. The militants killed at least four SNA soldiers. Control of Goof Gaduud changes hands frequently. Al Shabaab last seized the town on October 30 after SNA forces reportedly withdrew from the town over unpaid salaries. Goof Gaduud town sits on a major road connecting Bay region’s capital to other strategically important towns.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants temporarily occupied Hulugho town in Garissa County, Kenya on November 22. The militants first entered the town to destroy telecommunications equipment on November 21. Some residents said the fighters preached in a local mosque and took hostages before leaving the town. Al Shabaab launched a series of attacks targeting Kenyan telecommunications in June and July 2016.[7]
[1] “Hadramawt: the arrest of 11 al Qaeda members,” Barakish, November 21, 2016,; Twitter, Demolinari, November 23, 2016,; and “Abyan security forces seize IED factory,” Aden Tomorrow, November 23, 2016,
[2] Katherine Zimmerman and Sasha Gordon, “Yemen’s Military Restructuring: Removing Saleh’s Network,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, December 20, 2012,; Mohammed Ghobari, “Twelve Yemeni civilians killed in Saudi-led air strike: residents,” Reuters, November 23, 2016,; “Killing the commander of the Republican Guard loyal to deposed Saleh in Sa’ada,” Aden Tomorrow, November 23, 2016,; and “Govrnment forces claimed 16 lives, including an al Houthi leader in coalition airstrikes and battles in Midi,” al Masdar, November 23, 2016,
[3] “4 Houthis killed in night time battles against the resistance in Maris and Hamak northern al Dhaleh,” al Masdar, November 23, 2016,; “Escalating clashes in Taiz and the forces of the legitimate repel attack on Mount Han,” Aden Tomorrow, November 23, 2016,; and “Clearing a number of sites in the area in Taiz al Misrakh,” al Masirah, November 23, 2016,
[4] “Houthi shells hit the shopping mall in Najran and kill a resident Yemenis,” Aden Tomorrow, November 23, 2016,; and “Missile force destroying gatherings and locations of the Saudi army in Najran,” al Masirah, November 22, 2016,
[5] “Yemen: Hospitals and medical workers under attack by anti-Houthi forces in Taiz,” Amnesty international, November 23, 2016,
[6] “Al Shabaab retakes Somali town after deadly battle,” Shabelle News, November 23, 2016,
[7] “Al Shabaab says briefly captured town in Kenya,” Shabelle News, November 23, 2016,; and “UPDATED: Al-Shabaab attack Hulugho in Garissa,” Shabelle News, November 23, 2016,  
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