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: GPC holds emergency meeting; AQAP militants attack Emirati-backed forces in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen; Ministry of Interior begins paying security sector salaries after Russia delivers currency to Aden

Horn of Africa: UNSC approves resolution extending AMISOM operations in Somalia; Puntland official claims foreign warship shells Bari region, northern Somalia; Somali Federal Government transfers ONLF leader to Ethiopian government; suspected al Shabaab militants conduct IED attack in Lamu County, eastern Kenya.

Yemen Security Brief

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party held an emergency meeting on August 31. The GPC released a statement after the meeting emphasizing the need to heal the rift between al Houthi movement and Saleh supporters and unite the bloc’s efforts to counteract aggression from their opponents. Al Houthi movement supporters briefly clashed with Saleh loyalists on August 26 amid rising tensions within the partnership. Leaders of both al Houthi and Saleh factions have appealed for prioritizing the interests of the nation.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces stationed at the 103rd Infantry Brigade base in the Jahhayn area, al Wuday district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on August 31. The 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander stated that his troops detected suspicious movements in the vicinity of their military barracks and prevented a larger attack.[2] 

The Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government's Interior Ministry began to pay salaries to troops and security forces on August 31. Moscow delivered a shipment of Russian-printed Yemeni riyals to Aden City on August 30.  Hadi-government Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid Bin Daghir returned to Aden City on August 31 likely to oversee salary distributions. Hadi-government troops blocked roads throughout Southern Yemen between August 28 and 30, demanding salary payments. The Hadi-government is facing a cash liquidity crisis and has struggled to pay the majority of government salaries.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The United Nations Security Council extended its authorization of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through May 31, 2018 and approved a gradual reduction of its personnel over the next two years. The current maximum of 22,126 AMISOM personnel will be reduced by 500 troops by December 2017, and an additional 1000 troops by October 2018. The UN intends to transfer Somalia’s counter-al Shabaab and security efforts from AMISOM to the Somali National Army (SNA) by December 2020.[4]

A Puntland administration official alleged that unidentified foreign warships shelled villages in the Bari region, northern Somalia in an August 29 statement. An unidentified air force struck Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) militants in Bari region on August 28. ISIS maintains a small presence near Qandala town, Bari region, northern Somalia.[5] 

The Somali Federal Government transferred an Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) leader to the Ethiopian government on August 29, according to Ethiopia’s Communication Minister. Somali security forces arrested ONLF leader Abdikarim Sheikh Muse (Qalbi Dhagah) in Adado, Galgudud region, central Somalia on August 25. The ONLF launched an insurgency against the Ethiopian government in 1984 in an attempt to gain autonomy over Ogaden region, eastern Ethiopia.[6]

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) targeting a civilian vehicle in Nyongoro area, Lamu County, eastern Kenya on August 30. Al Shabaab maintains a stronghold in Boni Forest, Lamu County which serves as a staging ground for attacks in the region.[7]

[1] “Abu Ras head an emergency meeting of the General People’s Party’s General Congress,” al Methaq, August 31, 2017,
[2] AQAP claims attack on al Hizam, Telegram, August 31, 2017; and “The commander of the 103rd brigade issued an important clarification about the recent eruptions of the storm,” Aden Lang, August 31, 2017,
[3] “Prime Minister returns to Aden,” Saba New, August 31, 2017,; “Bin Daghir arrives in Aden from Riyadh,” Aden Lang, August 31, 2017,; and “Payment of salaries begin for army and security personnel in Aden City,” August 31, 2017,
[4] “Somalia: UNSC extends AMISOM, targets handover to SNA forces,” Garowe Online, August 30, 2017,; and “The situation in Somalia - Security Council, 8035th meeting,” UN Web TV, August 30, 2017,
[5] “Puntland Acused Foreign Warships of Shelling Its Territory,” Shabelle News, August 29, 2017,
[6] Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 30, 2017,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 30, 2017,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 31, 2017,
[7] Cheti Praxides, “Suspected al Shabaab fighters kill three in Nyongoro IED attack,” The Star, August 31, 2017,

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