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: Al Houthi-Saleh forces reportedly target UAE with ballistic missile; al Houthi forces reportedly place former Yemeni president Saleh under house arrest; Saudi-led coalition airstrike kills civilians west of Sana’a city; Yemen prime minister directs central bank to pay military salaries amid protests

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab raids Daba town, Mandera County, eastern Kenya; Kenya investigates al Shabaab militants infiltrating migration flows; Emirati  delegation prepares for military base in Berbera, Somaliland; Somali security forces arrest al Shabaab militants tied to assassination of Galgudud Governor

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi-Saleh forces reportedly launched a ballistic missile targeting Abu Dhabi on August 30. Official al Houthi-Saleh sources have not confirmed the launch however. This launch marks the first time al Houthi-saleh forces targeted the UAE with a ballistic missile, if confirmed.[1]

Sana’a based officials told the Associated Press that former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh has not left his home since August 24, fueling rumors that the al Houthi movement placed Saleh under house arrest. Saleh attended the funeral of a General People’s Congress (GPC) official killed in clashes between al Houthi movement and Saleh’s supporters on August 30, however. Southern Yemeni media began reporting that al Houthi forces surrounded Saleh’s Sana’a residence on August 28. Tensions within the al Houthi-Saleh partnership began to escalate when al Houthi movement officials and Saleh publicly criticized each other in mid-August.[2] 

Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck an al Houthi-Saleh checkpoint west of Sana’a city, killing five civilians and two al Houthi-Saleh guards on August 30. Two other coalition airstrikes near Sana’a city killed over a total of fifty civilians on August 23 and 25.[3]

Yemen Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghir directed the Yemeni Central Bank to pay military and security salaries starting on August 31. Yemeni troops and security personnel barricaded roads in Aden and al Daleh governorates to protest months of unpaid salaries between August 28 and 30. The Hadi government and al Houthi-Saleh government are facing a cash liquidity crisis and have not been able to pay the majority of government salaries.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants temporarily seized Daba town, Mandera county, eastern Kenya on August 30. The militants destroyed  several buildings and a SAFARICOM telecommunication tower in order to delay the response from Kenyan security forces. The follows a similar pattern of al Shabaab attacks intended to coerce a Kenyan military withdrawal from Somalia.[5]

The Kenyan government is investigating potential al Shabaab militants infiltrating flows of herders evacuating the Boni Forest, Lamu County, eastern Kenya. Kenyan herders established a settlement along the Lamu-Tana River county-line after Kenyan security forces urged them to evacuate their homes near the Boni Forest. The Kenyan government recently escalated Operation Linda Boni, a bombing campaign targeting al Shabaab militants in the Boni Forest, where the group maintains a stronghold used to stage attacks throughout eastern Kenya.[6] 

An Emirati delegation arrived in Berbera, Somaliland  on August 28 to prepare for the construction of a military base near Berbera Port. The UAE plans to develop Berbera Port after approving the Berbera Corridor Project in March 2017. The Berbera Corridor Project is a joint development plan with the Somaliland administration to build an airport, dam and housing in Berbera.[7]

Somali security forces arrested suspected al Shabaab militants during a raid in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu on August 30. Somali Police believe the suspects assassinated Galgudud Governor Mohamed Sheikh Elmi in Mogadishu on August 4.[8]

[1] “URGENT: Houthis declare targeting Abu Dhabi for first time with a ballistic missile,” Nass Times, August 30, 2017,; and Yemeni War Media, Twitter, August 30, 2017,
[2] Ahmed al Haj, “Yemeni officials say ex-president may be under house arrest,” AP, August 30, 2017,; and “Sources: Saleh under house arrest in Sana'a,” Aden Tomorrow, August 28, 2017,
[3] Reem Shamseddine and Noah Browning, “Air strike near Yemen capital kills seven people: witnesses,” Reuters, August 30, 2017,
[4] “The prime minister is directing army and security salaries to be paid starting on Thursday,” Saba New, August 30, 2017,; “War wounded in al Briqa and Salah al Din cut off the road leading to the oil port of al Briqa,” Aden Tomorrow, August 30, 2017,; “Military personnel blocked a major road in khormaksar to demand salaries,” Aden Tomorrow, August 28, 2017,; “Angry protests at the cross,” Aden Tomorrow, August 30, 2017,;
[5] “Kenya: Al-Shabaab destroys Communication Mast in Mandera,” Garowe Online, August 30, 2017
[6] “Kenya Blames Lamu Residents For Working With Al Shabaab,” Shabelle News, August 29, 2017,
[7] “UAE Delegration Arrives in Berbera,” The National, August 29, 2017,
[8] “​Somalia: Suspects linked to Governor's killing arrested in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, August 30, 2017,

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