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: IED kills sixteen in Ma’rib governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces advance toward al Anad airbase in Lahij governorate; second cyclone hits Socotra Island; al Houthi-Saleh militias gain control of Damt in al Dhaleh governorate; fighting continues between al Houthi-Saleh militias and coalition-backed forces in Taiz
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab kills Somali MP in Mogadishu, Banadir region; unidentified al Shabaab militants release video pledging allegiance to ISIS; al Shabaab captures Cows-quran, Gedo region; al Shabaab kills civilians in Mogadishu, Banadir region; SNA and AMISOM forces thwart VBIED attack in Bardhere, Gedo region
Yemen Security Brief
- An improvised explosive device (IED) attack killed sixteen coalition-backed Yemeni government soldiers on patrol near a military camp in Ma’rib governorate, east of Sana’a, on November 8. No group has taken credit for the bombing, which also wounded six soldiers.
- Al Houthi forces captured a hilltop overlooking coalition-controlled al Anad airbase in Lahij governorate, southern Yemen on November 8. Emirati forces recently restored al Anad, and coalition-trained Yemeni pilots have flown bombing missions from the base. Al Houthi-Saleh forces were driven out of Lahij by a coalition offensive in the summer but now appear to be reopening a front in southern Yemen.
- A second hurricane-strength cyclone hit the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on November 8, killing two people and forcing over 5,000 people to flee their homes. The storm, named Megh, arrived little more than a week after Cyclone Chapala hit Socotra, Shabwah governorate, and Hadramawt governorate in eastern Yemen. The cyclone is moving west and is expected to make landfall about 100 km northeast of Aden near the port of Shaqra on November 10.
- Al Houthi-Saleh forces took control of Damt city in al Dhaleh governorate, central Yemen following two weeks of fighting. Reports indicate that the anti-al Houthi forces defending the city withdrew after exhausting their ammunition, only to seize the city’s points of entry after the al Houthi-Saleh forces took over. The fighting killed sixteen people and wounded dozens. Saudi-led coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri discounted the al Houthi gains in Damt.
- Fighting between coalition-backed forces and al Houthi-Saleh forces in Taiz city, central Yemen killed 29 people, including eight civilians, on November 7. Neither side made territorial gains.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants shot Mohamed Ahmed Gurhan, a member of Somalia’s parliament, in a drive-by shooting on November 7 in Mogadishu, Banadir region. Al Shabaab gunmen on a minibus blocked Gurhan’s path before opening fire on his vehicle and fleeing the scene. Gurhan died from his wounds at a nearby hospital on November 8.
- Unidentified al Shabaab militants released a video pledging support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and its leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on November 8. The unidentified militants called for others to pledge as well, and praised the public defection of Abdi Qadir Mumin. Mumin is the formerly al Shabaab-affiliated religious leader of a militant cell in northern Somalia who publically declared his allegiance to ISIS in the past month.
- Al Shabaab captured a settlement named Cows-Quran village in the Gedo region on November 9. Witnesses said that al Shabaab militants launched an attack on a Somali National Army (SNA) camp in the settlement, resulting in a clash. Government officials confirmed the attack but did not release casualty figures.
- Al Shabaab gunmen killed an employee of Aden Ade International Airport on November 9 in Mogadishu, Banadir region. Gunmen shot and killed the victim in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district, claiming that he was targeted because of his association with foreign security agents at the airport. Additionally, another civilian was killed on the same day in the same district, although it is unclear if the two killings are related.
- SNA and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces arrested suspected al Shabaab militants on November 7 in Bardhere, Gedo region. SNA and AMISOM forces arrested the militants after receiving a tip from local residents that al Shabaab members in the area were planning an attack on the town’s military base. Government forces also recovered multiple vehicles intended for use as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).