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 militants target security forces in Mudia district, Abyan, and al Ribat  district, Lahij; Saudi ambassador to the UN urges Security Council to prevent Iran from arming al Houthi-Saleh forces; al Houthi-Saleh forces shell Hadi government and allied forces in Kirsh district, Lahij governorate; Hadi government forces advance in western Taiz governorate

Horn of Africa: Ethiopian AMISOM forces vacate base in Moqokari district, Hiraan region; SNA and AMISOM forces drive al Shabaab from village near Hudur town, Bakool region; al Shabaab seizes base and conducts IED attack in Lower Shabelle region; suspected al Shabaab militants attempt to assassinate chief judge in Bardhere, Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) launched mortars targeting security forces allied with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in Mudia district, Abyan governorate on September 15. Hizam security forces attempted to clear the mortar launch site following the attack. AQAP militants also claimed an improvised explosive device (IED) attack targeting Hizam security forces in al Ribat district, Lahij governorate, near the Aden-Lahij border. Militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in al ‘Ayn city, northern Abyan governorate on September 15. AQAP militants attacked Hizam security forces with small arms fire in al ‘Ayn city on September 14.[1]
  • The Saudi ambassador to the UN, Abdullah al Mouallimi, urged the UN Security Council to take action to prevent Iran from arming al Houthi-Saleh forces on September 15. Ambassador al Mouallimi accused al Houthi-Saleh forces of using Iranian arms and missiles to indiscriminately attack cities in southern Saudi Arabia. Ambassador al Mouallimi reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s right to take all appropriate action to confront threats to its territory.  The Saudi-led coalition intensified its air campaign targeting al Houthi-Saleh forces and leadership responsible for cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia on September 7.[2]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces shelled Hadi government and allied forces on Mount al Qumiat al Hamra’, Kirsh district, near the Lahij-Taiz border, on September 15. Hadi government and allied forces began their offensive on al Houthi-Saleh forces in Kirsh district on September 9. The main road connecting Taiz and Aden city runs through al Kirsh district.[3]
  • Hadi government forces seized positions from al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Dhabab area in western Taiz city on September 14. Hadi government and allied forces surrounded al Houthi-Saleh-occupied al Dhabab on September 13. The Hadi government intensified offensive operations on Taiz city after the collapse of peace talks on August 6.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces vacated a military base in the Moqokari district of Hiraan region on September 15. The AMISOM forces fled in fear of an al Shabaab attack on the base. Al Shabaab maintains a stronghold in the south of the Hiraan region and conducts frequent attacks on nearby Beledweyne.[5]
  • Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM forces drove al Shabaab militants from a village near Hudur town in Bakool region on September 15. Al Shabaab militants attacked the AMISOM base in Hudur on August 15.[6] 
  • Al Shabaab militants briefly seized a base from SNA forces in Muri town in Lower Shabelle region on September 15. The gunfight caused casualties on both sides. Al Shabaab captured three civilians before fleeing the town. Suspected al Shabaab militants also detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an AMISOM convoy in Afgoi, also in Lower Shabelle region on September 14. An uptick in al Shabaab activity in Afgoi may mean that the group is planning to use the town as a base to launch operations in nearby Mogadishu.[7]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants attempted to assassinate the chief judge of Bardhere court in Gedo region on September 15. The assassins threw a grenade into the home of Sheikh Ibrahim Nur. The attack injured one woman but did not harm Nur.[8]

A prior version of the Gulf of Aden Security Review stated that AQAP detonated an IED in Hawta district, Lahij. The attack occurred in al Ribat district.


[1] “Unidentified fired mortar shells targeting Hizam security point in Mudia,” Aden GD, September 15, 2016,; Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, September 15, 2016,; Demolinari, Twitter, September 15, 2016,; “Shortly before the event: motorcycle explosion in al ‘Ayn city,” Aden GD, September 15, 2016,; and  “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” Critical Threats, September 14, 2016,
[2] Saudi Arabia urges the Security Council to stop the Iranian violations in Yemen,” al Masdar, September 15, 2016,
[3] “Houthis killed 8 in northern Lahij from heavy shelling of positions in Kirsh,” al Masdar, September 15, 2016,
[4] “Hadi Government and allied forces liberate The House of Saud in al Dhabab, southwest Taiz,” al Masdar, September 15, 2016,
[5] “Fears over Al-Shabaab attack as Ethiopian forces withdraw from Moqokari, central Somalia,” Goobjoog News, September 15, 2016,
[6] “SNA forces raid Al Shabaab base near Hudur town,” Shabelle News, September 15, 2016,
[7] “Al Shabaab briefly seizes Somali town after attack,” Shabelle News, September 15, 2016,; and “AMISOM convoy targeted in IED blast near Afgoye,” Shabelle News, September 14, 2016,
[8] “Somalia: Bardere court chief survives bomb attack,” Shabelle News, September 15, 2016,
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