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: Unidentified militants detonate IED in Sana’a; Shabwani Elite commander threatens to expel militias from Shabwah

Horn of Africa: AFRICOM conducts airstrikes in response to al Shabaab attack on US airbase; Kenyan security forces kill and arrest al Shabaab suspects in Mombasa; SNA announces clearance operations in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

Unidentified militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in eastern Sana’a city, the al Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital, on October 1. Al Houthi fighters cordoned off the area and set up checkpoints around the city following the blast.[1]

The commander of the UAE-backed Shabwani Elite Second Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Salem al Buhar, stated on October 1 that his troops were ready to expel all foreign forces from Shabwah governorate in southern Yemen. An official in President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government previously stated in late September that the Hadi government would establish an interim capital in Shabwah governorate. Some Shabwani Elite Forces have fought Hadi government-aligned forces in southern Yemen since August, when a southern Yemeni secessionist group seized the de facto capital, Aden.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted two airstrikes targeting al Shabaab militants near Baledogle Airbase, located 60 miles northwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on September 30 in response to an al Shabaab attack on the base. The airstrikes killed ten militants and destroyed one vehicle. Al Shabaab attacked the base with two suicide vehicle-borne IEDs (SVBIEDs) but failed to breach the base’s perimeters.[3]

Kenyan counterterrorism police killed three suspected al Shabaab militants and detained seven others in Likoni in Mombasa County in southeastern Kenya on October 1. The militants were planning attacks on infrastructure in the area, according to police. Kenyan security forces separately arrested an al Shabaab militant, Fawaz Ahmed Hamdun, at his home in the Majengo area of Mombasa port city on September 29. Police linked Hamdun to a January 2019 al Shabaab attack on a hotel complex in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Hamdun coordinated the travel of a suicide bomber involved in the attack, according to police.[4]

The Somali National Army announced that it conducted clearing operations in al Shabaab-held territory in Hiraan region in central Somalia on September 30.[5]

Visit our YemenKenya, and Somalia storystreams. 

[1] “An explosion rocks Kholan street in Sana’a, and militias declare state of emergency,” Khabar Agency, October 1, 2019,

[2] “Al Buhar: The Elite is prepared to regain control of Shabwah entirely,” Yemen Akhbar, October 1, 2019,; and “Yemeni government designates Ataq city new interim capital,” Anadolu Agency, September 26, 2019,

[3] “U.S., Federal Government of Somalia respond to al-Shabaab attack,” US Africa Command, September 30, 2019,; and Maruf, Harun, “Al-Shabab Attacks Airbase Used by US Military,” Voice of America, September 30, 2019,

[4] “Three terror suspects killed in dawn Likoni raids,” The Star, October 1, 2019,; and “Police arrest man over Dusit attack,” Daily Nation, October 1, 2019,

[5] “Somali National Army carry out operation in Hiran region,” Goobjoog, September 30, 2019,

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