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: Militants claim to shoot down al Houthi-Saleh drone in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; Hadi government-aligned forces repel al Houthi-Saleh offensive in western Taiz governorate, western Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh forces deploy toward southern al Bayda governorate; UN Security Council condemns belligerents for worsening famine in Yemen

Horn of Africa: Riots and protests continue in Kenya after general elections; Kenyan warplanes bomb al Shabaab camp in Afmadow, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia; Somali traffickers drown migrants in the Gulf of Aden

Yemen Security Brief

Militants claimed to shoot down an Iranian-made drone operated by the al Houthi-Saleh faction in al Qurayshiyah district in northwestern al Bayda governorate, central Yemen, on August 9. Forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) both claimed responsibility. The drone reportedly fell near Jabal Nawfan, where AQAP militants have been active since early April. AQAP and Hadi government-aligned tribal forces cooperate against the al Houthi-Saleh faction in al Bayda governorate.[1] 

Hadi government-aligned forces repelled an al Houthi-Saleh offensive in western Taiz governorate. Al Houthi-Saleh ground forces attacked Hadi government forces northeast of Yakhtul village in Mokha district, western Taiz governorate on August 9. Hadi government-aligned forces and al Houthi-Saleh forces also exchanged artillery fire in northern Mokha district on August 9. Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a “Zilzal-2” ballistic missile at Hadi government positions in al Hamli area, Mawza’ district in western Taiz governorate on August 10. The frontlines are largely stalled in Taiz despite the Hadi government’s efforts to advance northward toward al Hudaydah port.[2]

Al Houthi-Saleh forces deployed troops to Mukayras city in southern al Bayda governorate on August 10, according to southern Yemeni sources. This troop movement may be a response to the August 9 deployment of the Yemeni army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade to Lawder city in northern Abyan governorate, approximately 19 miles from Mukayras city.[3]  

The UN Security Council condemned the belligerents in the Yemeni conflict for contributing to famine conditions on August 9. The UNSC called for unrestricted humanitarian access to conflict-affected areas in Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition controls the airspace around Sana’a International Airport, which it closed to most commercial traffic in August 2016. Representative from fifteen aid organizations and UN officials, including the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, called for lifting restrictions on aid deliveries into Sana’a airport on August 9 and 10. Yemen is suffering from mass food insecurity and a growing cholera outbreak. Insufficient humanitarian access may also force the country’s national blood bank in Sana’a to close.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Limited protests and riots occurred in the wake of Kenya’s general elections on August 8. Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will announce the winner of the country’s presidential election at 12:00 (05:00 EST) on August 11. Kenya’s incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta leads rival Raila Odinga by a wide margin, with 97% of votes tallied. Odinga challenged the election results, inciting protests throughout western Kenya. Kenyan police clashed with Odinga’s supporters in Nairobi and Kisumu County, and knife-wielding assailants attacked election workers at a tallying center in Tana River County, eastern Kenya on August 9. Rioters burned a market in Garissa County, eastern Kenya on August 10 in response to provincial gubernatorial election results. International observers from the European Union and the Carter Center praised the mostly peaceful response to Kenya’s presidential election despite the clashes and protests.[5]

Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) warplanes bombed an al Shabaab training camp in Weelmarow area, Afmadow town, Lower Jubba region on August 9. The airstrikes killed al Shabaab militants and local herders living near the camp.[6] 

Somali human traffickers intentionally drowned at least 55 Somali and Ethiopian migrants in the Gulf of Aden in two days. A Somali human trafficker forced 180 Ethiopian and Somali migrants overboard on August 10. Another Somali trafficker pushed 120 migrants overboard after encountering Yemeni security personnel off the coast of Shabwah governorate, southern Yemen on August 9. At least 50 migrants are missing and presumed dead.[7]

[1] “Al Bayda… Dropping an unmanned aircraft belonging to the militia in Jabal Nawfan and renewed clashes in Dhi Na’im,” 26 September, August 9, 2017,; “The National Army announces the downing of an Iranian drone in al Bayda,” Aden Lange, August 10, 2017,; “The National Army announces the downing of an al Houthi drone in al Bayda,” Yemen Press, August 10, 2017,; AQAP claims to shoot down an al Houthi espionage aircraft near Jabal Nawfan, Telegram, August 10, 2017; and AQAP releases video on its militants attacking al Houthi-Saleh forces in Jabal Nawfan, Telegram, May 16, 2017. 
[2] “Government forces thwart a violent attack launched by the al Houthis and Saleh forces north of the city of Mokha,” Al Masdar Online, August 9, 2017,; and “Launching a “Zilzal-2” ballistic missile at the concentrations of invaders and mercenaries in Mawza’ in Taiz,” Sabanews, August 10, 2017,
[3] “The Houthis reinforce and develop locations in Burkan and the resistance declares its readiness for any breakthrough,” Aden Lange, August 10, 2017,; “Al Houthis send huge reinforcements to Mukayras in Abyan,” Yemen Akhbar, August 10, 2017,; and “103rd Infantry Brigade in Jahhayn advance toward Lawder,” Yemen Akhbar, August 9, 2017,
[4] “Statement by the President of the Security Council,” United Nations Security Council, August 9, 2017,; “Yemen Crisis: Closure of Sana’a airport – One year of aggravated suffering,” Relief Web, August 9, 2017,; UN Envoy to Yemen, Twitter, August 10, 2017,; and “Yemen national blood bank faces threat of closure,” ABC News, August 10, 2017,    
[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 10,; “Observers give Kenya vote thumbs up amid pockets of protests,” Reuters, August 10, 2017,; “Knife attack rocks Galole tallying centre in Tana River,” Daily Nation, August 9, 2017,; and “IEBC hopes to announce President-Elect Friday,” Nairobi News, August 10, 2017,
[6] “Somalia: KDF fighter jets bomb Al-Shabaab stronghold near Afmadow,” Garowe Online, August 10, 2017,
[7] “Death at sea as over 100 Somali and Ethiopian migrants perish in two days off Yemeni coast,” Goobjoog, August 10, 2017,; and “Another 180 Migrants Forced from Boat Today, a Day after 50 Somalis, Ethiopians were Drowned by Smugglers off Yemen,” International Organization for Migration, August 10, 2017,

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