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: Reported U.S. airstrike kills senior AQAP leader in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh forces clash with southern resistance fighters in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen; Emirati soldier dies in Yemen

Horn of Africa: Ethiopia deploys 1,000 troops to Gedo region, Somalia; Sudanese and South Sudanese presidents discuss solutions to tensions

Yemen Security Brief

A reported U.S. airstrike killed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Ahmed al Khader al Waleedi in al Furayd area, Mudiyah district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on November 1. A pro-AQAP channel confirmed al Waleedi’s death. Senior AQAP leader Muhammad Awad Mahfar surrendered himself to Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces in Abyan governorate on November 2, according to southern Yemeni news outlets. The news outlets identify Mahfar as a prominent AQAP leader in Abyan. Emirati-backed security forces supported by the Saudi-led coalition renewed a counterterrorism campaign targeting AQAP in northern Abyan governorate in August.[1] 

Al Houthi-Saleh forces shelled southern resistance forces in Thira area, Lawder district, northern Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on November 1. Al Houthi-Saleh forces conducted the attack from the neighboring al Bayda governorate. The southern resistance comprises militia groups aligned with the Southern Movement, a political group that advocates for better representation of southern interests in the Yemeni government.[2]

The General Command of the Armed Forces of the UAE announced the death of an Emirati soldier in Yemen on November 2. The armed forces did not release details about his death. Over 120 Emirati soldiers have been killed fighting with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. An al Houthi-Saleh missile killed 50 soldiers from the UAE and Bahrain in September 2015.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Ethiopia deployed approximately 1,000 security forces from Ethiopia into the Gedo region, Somalia on November 1. Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome pledged to assist the Somali Federal Government (SFG) with a counter al Shabaab offensive in response to the October 14 Mogadishu bombing at the request of Somali President Mohamed Farmajo. Al Shabaab militants captured territory along the Ethiopia-Somalia border after Ethiopian troops withdrew from Somalia in late 2016 due to civil unrest in the Oromia region, Ethiopia.[4] 

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar al Bashir discussed solutions to economic and political disputes during a two day conference in Khartoum, Sudan on November 2. The South Sudanese Civil War and oil deposit disputes forced the cessation of oil production in northern South Sudan since 2013. Over 98% of South Sudan’s economy depends on oil revenues. President Kiir accused Sudan of funneling weapons to rebel groups to exacerbate the conflict in the civil war and support Sudanese oil claims. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attempted to ease tensions between the two rival countries during a visit to South Sudan last week.[5]

[1] “Al Qaeda leader killed in U.S. airstrike,” Aden Lang, November 2, 2017,; “Al Qaeda leader killed in Mudiyah, Abyan,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, November 2, 2017,; Martyr in Abyan, Telegram, November 2, 2017; Demolinari, Twitter, November 2, 2017,; “Senior AQAP leader turns himself in to al Hizam forces,” Aden Tomorrow, November 2, 2017,; “Leading AQAP member turns himself in to Rapid Intervention Forces,” Aden Lang, November 2, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, November 2, 2017,
[2] “Clashes between southern resistance fighters and al Houthi-Saleh forces,” Aden Lang, November 1, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, November 1, 2017,
[3] “UAE announced death of soldier in Yemen,” Al Masdar, November 2, 2017,; “Emirati soldier killed in Yemen,” Aden Lang, November 2, 2017,; “The UAE’s war aims in Yemen,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 24, 2017,; and “UAE, Bahrain say 50 soldiers killed in Yemen attack,” Reuters, September 5, 2015,
[4] Mohamed Olad Hassan, “Ethiopian Troops Enter Somalia, Back Offensive Against Al-Shabab,” VOA, November 01, 2017,
[5] Kiir accuses Sudan of being 'source of weapons' in S.Sudan war,” Daily Mail, November 2, 2017,; and Waakhe Simon Wudu, “Presidents of Sudan, South Sudan Confer in Khartoum,” VOA, November 1, 2017,

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