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: AQAP releases newest issue of al Masra newspaper; AQAP claims killing of al Houthi-Saleh military personnel in Ibb governorate; Saudi-led coalition helicopters destroy al Houthi-Saleh vessels in the Red Sea; militants attack security forces in southern and eastern Yemen; Yemenis demonstrate in support of Hadi government in Ma’rib, Taiz, and Aden; Southern Movement leader calls for demonstrations in response to unpaid salaries

Horn of Africa: Unidentified warships bomb ISIS-held Qandala town in Puntland State; al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting KDF forces near El Wak, Gedo region; Mogadishu police detain two al Shabaab assassins in Wadajir district, Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) published the 28th edition of al Masra newspaper on November 2. This edition covers a wide range of issues that include Saudi Arabia’s stance on the UN peace proposal in Yemen and the October 21 cyber attack on U.S. web companies. The newspaper also criticizes the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) for claiming to fight al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate, provides updates on regional al Qaeda affiliates, and explains how Osama bin Laden traveled to Sudan.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed on social media that AQAP-affiliated Ansar al Sharia forces killed an al Houthi-Saleh commander and two fighters on the road connecting Rada’a and al Radmah districts in Ibb governorate on November 2. AQAP also shared images of a propaganda truck allegedly located in Taiz governorate on social media on November 3.[2]
  • Saudi-led coalition Apache helicopters destroyed two al Houthi-Saleh vessels in the Red Sea near Mokha city, Taiz governorate on November 2. A Saudi-led coalition spokesman stated that the presence of al Houthi-Saleh forces in the Red Sea threatens freedom of navigation and referenced the October attacks on American and Emirati ships.[3]
  • Militants attacked security forces in southern and eastern Yemen. Militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) targeting a security checkpoint in Khalaf area, east of Mukalla city in Hadramawt governorate on November 3. The attack killed three security personnel and one civilian. Militants attacked a security convoy from al Dhaleh governorate in al Hiswah area, Aden governorate on November 2. Militant groups blocked the main roads as competing factions clashed over land disputes in al Hiswah area. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.[4]
  • Thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in Ma’rib, Taiz, and Aden governorates on November 3. The demonstrators voiced full support for President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and rejected the UN Special Envoy for Yemen’s revised peace proposal. The proposal keeps President Hadi in office as a figurehead and requires him to delegate his executive powers to a new consensus vice president. Southern Movement political leaders utilized the demonstrations to voice concerns for southern Yemeni self-determination and representation. The Governor of Lahij, Dr. Nasser al Khibji, called on citizens to support President Hadi in ridding the country of al Houthi-Saleh forces, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the Special Envoy’s plan. Governor al Khibji stated that the Special Envoy’s initiative ignores the issue of independence for the south and grants leniency to the al Houthi-Saleh faction. [5]
  • Southern Movement spokesman Abdu al Ma’atri called for supporters in al Dhaleh governorate to demonstrate on November 5 in response to unpaid government and military salaries. The Southern Movement pursues southern Yemeni representation and includes some secessionist elements. Al Ma’atri stated that salaries have not been paid for over three months and threatened escalation if the government fails to pay them. Teachers blocked the main roads in Zinjibar city, Abyan governorate to protest unpaid salaries on November 2.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unidentified warships launched missiles into ISIS-held Qandala town in northern Somalia on November 2. The ISIS-affiliated forces, led by former al Shabaab commander Abdiqadir Mumin, seized Qandala on October 26. Puntland State Security Forces (PSF) departed Bosaso city, which is located 50 miles west of Qandala, on November 2 on a mission to recapture the town.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) convoy near the Somali-Kenyan border town of El Wak in Somalia’s Gedo region on November 2. The blast killed at least four KDF soldiers and wounded several others. Kenyan officials fast-tracked the completion of a border wall on October 28 in response to a recent spate of al Shabaab attacks on the Somali-Kenyan border.[8]
  • Two suspected al Shabaab gunmen assassinated a local elder as he exited a mosque in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu on November 2. Local police forces arrested the militants after wounding both in a shootout.[9]
[1] Al Masra 28, Twitter and Telegram, November 2, 2016, source available upon request.
[2] AQAP claims Ansar al Sharia forces kill al Houthi commander, Twitter, November 2, 2016, content available upon request; and AQAP showcases a propaganda truck in Taiz governorate, Telegram, November 3, 2016, content available upon request.
[3] “Arab Coalition destroys two boats for the Houthis southern Red Sea,” Aden Lang, November 3, 2016,
[4] “Car bomb targeting military headquarters, east of Mukalla,” Aden Times, November 3, 2016,; Twitter, Demolinari, November 3, 2016,; Twitter Demolinari, November 3, 2016,; and “Aden: Gunmen open fire on the director of security in al Dhaleh, al Hiswah,” Aden Times, November 2, 2016,
[5] “Demonstrations in Marib, Taiz, and Aden in support of the legitimate government and rejection of Ould Cheikh’s roadmap,” al Masdar, November 3, 2016,; “Khibji: Stand by President Hadi and his efforts to bring peace and reject Ould Cheikh initiative and overcome the will of the people of the south,” Aden Tomorrow, November 3, 2016,; and “Participants in the Fa’liya square affirm their commitment to the Hadi legitimacy and reject any solutions that overlook the south - transcript of the statement,” Aden Times, November 3, 2016,
[6] “Leader in the Southern Movement in al Dhaleh calls for a protest to demand salaries and threatens to escalate,” Aden Tomorrow, November 2, 2016,; and “Teachers Zinjibar blocking roads to demand their salaries,” Aden Tomorrow, November 2, 2016,
[7] “Puntland prepares to assault ISIS affiliates in Qandala, foreign warships fires them,” Goobjoog News, November 2, 2016,; and “Puntland vows to retake Qandala from ISIL fighters,” Shabelle News, November 3, 2016,
[8] “Al shabaab behind attack on KDF, death toll rises to 4,” Shabelle News, November 3, 2016,; and “Two KDF soldiers killed, 4 injured in Somalia attack,” Shabelle News, November 2, 2016,
[9] “Somalia Police Arrests Two suspected Alshabab Assassins in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, November 2, 2016,
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