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: U.S. Central Command confirms airstrikes targeting AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate; Hadi government and allied forces advance in Sirwah district, Ma’rib governorate and al Ghayl district, al Jawf governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces shell Saudi positions in Najran, Jazan, and Asir regions in southern Saudi Arabia; Hadi government and allied forces seize new positions in western Taiz city; ISIS Wilayat Aden-Abyan claims IED attack targeting Hadi government forces in Sheikh Uthman district, Aden city

Horn of Africa: U.S. Africa Command confirms its role in September 5 airstrikes on al Shabaab militants in Toratorow, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab militants drive Ethiopian AMISOM and SNA forces from Budbud village, Galgudud region; Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s mandate to end on September 10

Yemen Security Brief:

  • U.S. Central Command confirmed three airstrikes that targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) between August 24 and September 4in Shabwah governorate in a September 6 statement.  U.S. airstrikes struck AQAP militants in Nisab district on August 24, in Ataq city on August 30, and in Wadi Obeida on September 4. U.S. airstrikes targeting AQAP militants resumed on August 24 following a nearly month-long lull.[1]
  • Forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government continued offensives on Sirwah district, Ma’rib governorate and al Ghayl district, al Jawf governorate on September 6. Hadi government and allied forces secured positions overlooking the al Houthi-Saleh-controlled Sirwah airport, less than 100 km east of the capital city Sana’a. Hadi government and allied forces also encircled an al Houthi-Saleh stronghold in al Ghayl district, northeast of Sana’a. The Hadi government offensives on al Ghayl and Sirwah districts are part of shaping operations for an impending offensive on the capital city, Sana’a.[2]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched rockets targeting Saudi positions in Asir, Jazan, and Najran regions in southern Saudi Arabia on September 7, according to pro-al Houthi-Saleh sources. Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched a Zilzal-3 ballistic missile at a power plant in Dhahran area of Asir. Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired Katyusha rockets at Camp al A’ayn al Harra in Jazan and Saudi vehicles in al Fawaz area in Najran, according to pro-al Houthi-Saleh sources.[3]
  • Hadi government and allied forces seized positions in the al Rubay’i area, western Taiz city on September 7. Al Rubay’i is adjacent to the main road linking Taiz and al Hudaydah governorates. Hadi-allied popular resistance forces attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in Haydan district, southern Taiz governorate on September 7. Hadi government forces renewed its offensive on Taiz following the collapse of peace talks on August 6.[4]
  • The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan claimed an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on a Yemeni army checkpoint in Sheikh Uthman district, Aden city that killed three people on September 6. The claim likely refers to a September 2 attack on Sheikh Uthman that injured three security personnel.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • U.S. Africa Command confirmed that U.S. airstrikes targeted al Shabaab positions in Toratorow village in Lower Shabelle region on September 5. The strikes followed a Somali Special Operations Forces (SOF) raid on Toratorow in which U.S. SOF played an advisory role on September 4. The airstrikes killed four al Shabaab militants.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked Somali National Army (SNA) and Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) positions near Budbud village in Galgudud region on September 6. The militants attacked with mortar and small arms fire and drove the SNA forces and Ethiopian AMISOM forces from the base. Both sides claimed to inflict multiple casualties.[7]
  • The National Leadership Forum (NLF) announced that Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s mandate will end on September 10. President Mohamud will not make any key decisions on cabinet personnel, military affairs, or budgetary issues after that date, though he will remain in office through the October 30 presidential elections. President Mohamud is running for a second term.[8]
[1] “U.S. Central Command announces Yemen counterterrorism strikes,” Central Command, September 6, 2016,; and  “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” Critical Threats, August 24, 2016,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” Critical Threats, August 30, 2016,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” Critical Threats, September 6, 2016,
[2] “The army and the resistance dominate strategic positions overlooking the "Serwah airport" Ma’rib,” al Masdar, September 7, 2016,; and “The national army and the resistance stresses the screws on the stronghold of the Houthi group in Ghayl Jawf,” al Masdar, September 7, 2016,
[3] “Army and People's Committees continue to achieve victories in various fronts during the past 24 hours,” Saba News, September 7, 2016,
[4] “19 al Houthi killed in Taiz and legitimate forces provide present,” Barakish, September 7, 2016,
[5] “IS al-Bayan Provincial News Recaps,” SITE, September 6, 2016, available by subscription at
[6] “US Says Strikes Kill 4 Al-Shabab Members in Somalia,” New York Times, September 7, 2016,
[7] “Five people in heavy fighting in Galgaduud region,” Goobjoog News, September 7, 2016,; “Al Shabaab seizes town vacated by allied troops,” Shabelle News, September 7, 2016,; and  Live From Mogadishu, Twitter, September 7, 2016,
[8] “President Mohamud stripped of executive power as term expires,” Goobjoog News, September 7, 2016,
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