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: Russian plane delayed in Sana’a; second cyclone threatens eastern Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh delegation returns from Muscat
Horn of Africa: KDF forces attack al Shabaab in Jungal, Gedo region; SNA forces repulse al Shabaab ambush near Beledweyne, Hiraan region; Ahlu Sunna moves moves forces near Hananbure, Galgudud region
Yemen Security Brief
- Tensions rose between the al Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition following the arrival of a Russian plane at Sana’a International Airport on November 5. Russia’s Emergencies Ministry stated that the plane delivered 23 tons of humanitarian aid to Yemen and left Sana’a on November 6 carrying 50 Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nationals evacuated from the al Houthi-controlled city. Saudi-led coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said that the Russian aid plane had permission to enter the coalition’s no-fly zone. Asiri accused the al Houthis of delaying the Russian plane’s departure to “attract international attention.” Pro-al Houthi media outlets reported that the Saudi-led coalition delayed the plane, which arrived in Sana’a without following the coalition’s inspection procedures. It is rumored that former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh attempted to flee Yemen on the Russian plane before the coalition prevented it from taking off.
- A second tropical cyclone may make landfall in Yemen on November 10, one week after Cyclone Chapala brought severe flooding, rain, and wind to the eastern Yemeni governorates of Hadramawt and Shabwah and the island of Socotra. The incoming cyclone, named Megh, will likely weaken before it reaches Yemen but will still bring significant rain to areas devastated by the first cyclone. Chapala killed eight people near al Mukalla, Hadramawt, which has been governed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) proxies since April. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the humanitarian response to the cyclone has been hampered by both the ongoing conflict in Yemen and AQAP’s control over affected territory.
- A delegation of al Houthi representatives and former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh loyalists in the General People’s Congress (GPC) returned to Sana’a from Muscat, Oman on November 5. The delegation was participating in UN-led consultations in preparation for peace talks with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in mid-November and reportedly returned to Sana’a to brief al Houthi and allied leaders on the negotiations.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) forces operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) attacked an al Shabaab stronghold on November 6 in Jungal, Gedo region. KDF forces killed nine militants and destroyed a vehicle during the operation. Additionally, a KDF spokesperson said that following the clash, soldiers recovered an arms cache and two civilian vehicles being used by the group.
- Somali National Army (SNA) forces repulsed an ambush on their convoy by al Shabaab militants on November 6 as they traveled between Beledweyne and Halgan, both of which are located in the central Hiraan region. SNA officers report that their forces killed a number of militants during the clash while suffering no casualties of their own.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) moved militiamen to the outskirts of the Galgudud region’s Hananbure town on November 6. A spokesperson from ASWJ stated that their forces intend to capture the city, as well as the rest of the settlements administered by the Galmudug State government. ASWJ’s announcement comes a day after the Galmudug State’s leader appointed an interim administration for Abudwak district, which was previously controlled by ASWJ until mid-September.