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 Supreme Political Council forms a government; AQAP claims attack on al Houthi-Saleh forces in northern Ibb governorate; Hadi government forces deploy troops to Bab al Mandab; Aden security forces seize terrorist stronghold in Aden; Hadi government and popular resistance forces repel an al Houthi-Saleh attack in northern Dhaleh governorate

Horn of Africa: Warplanes strike al Shabaab training camp in Torotorow, Lower Shabelle; PSF and local militia will attempt to clear ISIS-linked militants from Qandala, Bari region; gunmen kill elder in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • The al Houthi-Saleh faction established a new government based in Sana’a. The al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council (SPC) formed a 42-minister “National Salvation Government” on November 28. The SPC announced  the government would be tasked with addressing the “internal situation” and confronting the “Saudi aggression.” It added that the newly formed government would promote peace and national reconciliation with a general amnesty plan to remedy Yemeni failed governance issues. SPC Secretary General Yasser al Houri stressed that the government is the “embodiment the expanding base of political participation” ensuring the representation of northern and southern Yemeni regions. He emphasized that the SPC was still committed to Yemeni peace dialogues, but urged that talks needed to move quickly to address the pressing problems in Yemen. A source from internationally recognized Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government claimed the formation of the government destroys prospects for Yemeni peace dialogues. A Hadi government spokesman, Rajeh Badi, called the move “a disregard not just for the Yemeni people but also for the international community.”[1]
  • Ansar al Sharia, the insurgent arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), claimed an improvised explosive device (IED) attack against al Houthi-Saleh forces in Yarim district in northern Ibb governorate on November 29. An AQAP-affiliated Telegram account claimed that despite fighting al Houthi-Saleh forces on multiple fronts, AQAP forces will continue operations against "apostates.”[2]
  • President Hadi’s Fourth Military District in Aden deployed 1,500 troops to participate in operations to liberate Bab al Mandab and its surrounding areas in Taiz governorate on November 29. The troops departed from Eritrean territory Zagar island, where Hadi government forces have military training sites. This island is less than 40 km off the coast of al Houthi-controlled al Hudaydah port city. The military source stated Hadi government forces will launch operations to liberate areas in Taiz following the “Battle of Bab al Mandab.”[3]
  • Aden Security Counterterrorism Unit seized IEDs, landmines, and mortars from a terrorist stronghold in Aden. A detained terrorist element informed the security forces of the stronghold.[4]
  • Hadi government and popular resistance forces repelled an al Houthi-Saleh attack near the Dhaleh-Ibb borders in Maris area, northwestern Dhaleh governorate on November 29. Al Houthi-Saleh forces targeted Hadi government positions in eastern and western Dhaleh governorate on November 28.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Warplanes struck an al Shabaab training camp in Torotorow, Lower Shabelle region on November 28. The strike killed multiple al Shabaab fighters and destroyed vehicles used by the group. Airstrikes targeted an al Shabaab training site in Qoryooley in Lower Shabelle region on November 25.[6]
  • Puntland Security Forces (PSF), supported by local militias, deployed to Qandala town in the Bari region to clear the ISIS-linked fighters from the area. The ISIS-linked militants, led by defected al Shabaab shari’a official Sheikh Abdiqadir Mumin, entered Qandala area on October 26. Qandala elders may have prevented Mumin from actually seizing the town. Puntland Maritime Police Forces (PMPF) fired missiles targeting Mumin’s forces in Qandala on November 2. The Galgala Mountains surround Qandala and thwarted the PSF’s previous mission against the ISIS-linked militants in the area.[7]
  • Three gunmen killed an elder in the Yaqshid district of Mogadishu on November 29. The attackers shot Mohamed Abdi Jimale multiple times in the head. Al Shabaab relies on gunmen to target prominent individuals and elders in Mogadishu.[8]
[1] “Announce the formation of the National Salvation Government,” al Masirah, November 28, 2016,; “Yemen's Houthis form government in setback to peace process,” Reuters, November 28, 2016,; “Al Houri: forming a government comprising of all groups and ensures the respresentation of all provinces,” al Masirah, November 29, 2016,; and “Yemen’s President asserts that the putschists have destroyed any step to peace and accused the international community by encouraging them,” al Masdar, November 29, 2016,  
[2] AQAP claimed IED attack against al Houthis in Yarim, Ibb governorate, Telegram, November 29, 2016.
[3] “Deployment of over a thousand fighters towards Bab al Mandab in preparation for the start of the batter to liberate Taiz,” Aden Tomorrow, November 29, 2016,
[4] “Aden Security: Raid on a farm located between Aden and Lahij and seizure of large quantities of explosives and bombs,” Aden Times, November 29, 2016,
[5] “16 Houthi killed and two resistance after renewed fighting along northern border in Dhaleh governorate,” al Masdar, November 29, 2016,
[6] “US fighter jets destroy Shabaab camp in Somalia,” Goobjoog News, November 29, 2016,
[7] “Somali forces ready to attack Daesh fighters in Qandala-Official,” Goobjoog News, November 29, 2016,; and “Puntland forces approach port town, ready to attack ISIL,” Shabelle News, November 29, 2016,
[8] “An Elder shot dead in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, November 29, 2016,  
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