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: Hadi government reportedly forms southern alliance to counter secessionist efforts; Emirati-backed forces attack Hadi government forces in Aden district, southern Yemen; AQAP judge criticizes leadership; reported U.S. airstrike kills AQAP militants in Ma’rib governorate, northern Yemen; Saudi-led coalition airstrike kills civilians in Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Kenyan opposition calls for economic boycott; KDF troops kill two al Shabaab militants in Lamu County, eastern Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

The internationally recognized Hadi government reportedly formed an alliance of southern actors that aim to promote the interests of the Hadi government and a unified Yemeni state on November 2. The Emirati-backed Transitional Political Council of the South formed a national assembly and announced its intention to hold an independence referendum in mid-October. Demonstrators protested against the Hadi government and Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghir on November 3, citing the collapse of the economy and absence of government services in Crater district, Aden city.[1] 

Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces attacked Hadi government-aligned Fourth Military Region forces in an attempt to wrest control of a security checkpoint near an oil depot in al Buraiqeh district, Aden governorate, southern Yemen on November 2. Both sides suffered multiple casualties. An Emirati Apache helicopter surveyed the scene but did not engage. The Fourth Military Region is reportedly allied with oil merchant Ahmed al Issi who has been accused of extortion and smuggling. Demonstrators burned tires and blocked roads throughout Aden governorate on October 30 in response to severe power outages. Aden power stations reportedly shut down due to lack of diesel on October 27.[2]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) judge Abu al Bara al Ibbi criticized AQAP’s leadership in the fourth edition of ‘Reasons for the Setbacks: lack of understanding the youth’ released on November 1. Al Ibbi claims AQAP leadership does not provide guidance about the importance of jihad. Al Ibbi also urged Salafi judges to join the global jihad in response to the recent assassinations in Aden governorate, southern Yemen.[3] 

A reported U.S. airstrike killed at least two AQAP militants in a car in al Hasoun area, al Wadi district, Ma’rib governorate, northern Yemen on November 2. U.S. Central Command confirmed three airstrikes in Ma’rib this year on October 10.[4]

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed seven civilians in their home in Baqim district, Sa’ada governorate on November 2, according to pro al Houthi-Saleh news outlets. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed at least 26 civilians in a hotel and at a market in Sa’ada governorate on November 1. Sa’ada governorate, the historic stronghold of the al Houthi movement, is near the Saudi-Yemeni border.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga called for the boycott of Safaricom, Brookside Dairies, and Bidco Oil Refineries products on November 3. Odinga’s new National Resistance Movement (NRM) accused the companies of influencing the nullified August 8 election. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family partly owns Brookside Dairies, Bidco regularly donates money to the majority party, and Safaricom managed the internet for the election server. The NRM will boycott the companies until Kenya holds a new credible election. The Kenya National Commission for Human Rights supported the opposition party’s claims that the re-run election lacked credibility on November 3.[6]  

Kenya Defense Force (KDF) troops killed two al Shabaab militants during a regular patrol in Nyatha, Lamu county, eastern Kenya on November 3. KDF troops raided an al Shabaab camp in Lamu county, killing several militants and recovering a cache of weapons on October 24.[7] 

[1] “Disclosure of a southern alliance loyal to the legitimacy to represent the southern cause,” Mosnad, November 2, 2017,; and “Crater, Aden witnesses the beginning of the steps of popular escalation of Bin Daghir’s government,” Aden Lang, November 3, 2017,
[2] “Clashes between al Hizam forces and security guards in al Buraiqeh in Aden, killing six soldiers,” Al Masdar, November 2, 2017,; “A new toll for the armed clashes in the vicinity of the oil port in al Buraiqeh,” Yemen Window, November 3, 2017,; “Forces loyal to Abu Dhabi move to control an oil port in Aden and expel forces loyal to Hadi,” El Wehda, November 3, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, November 3, 2017,
[3] “New release from Abu al Bara al Ibbi: Reasons for the Setbacks #4,” Jihadology, November 1, 2017,; Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, November 2, 2017,; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, November 1, 2017,
[4] “Airstrike targeted car carrying suspected AQAP militants in Ma’rib governorate,” Al Masdar, November 2, 2017,; Demolinari, Twitter, November 2, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, November 2, 2017,
[5] “Seven civilians killed in airstrike in Baqim, Sa’ada,” Saba News, November 3, 2017,; “Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Sa’ada governorate,” Al Motamar, November 2, 2017,; and “7 killed in airstrikes in Sa’ada,” Sa’ada News, November 2, 2017,
[6] David Herbling and Samuel Gebre, “Kenya Opposition Calls for Boycott of Safaricom, Danone Unit,” Bloomberg, November 3, 2017,; and William Mwangi, “NASA MPs target Safaricom, Bidco, Brookside in economic boycott,” The Star, November 3, 2017,  
[7] “KDF Soldiers Kill Two Al-Shabaab Militants In Lamu,” Radio Shabelle, November 3, 2017,

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