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 AQAP militants in Ma’rib governorate, northern Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh forces fire ballistic missile at Jazan region, southern Saudi Arabia; AQAP militants attack Emirati-backed security forces in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen; ISIS Wilayat al Bayda releases photos depicting training camp in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; Saudi-led coalition airstrike and artillery kill civilians in Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Presidential candidate Raila Odinga withdraws from Kenyan re-run election; militants attack university in Kwale county, southeastern Kenya; al Shabaab militants attack a police checkpoint in Puntland; European Union and Indian leaders pledge to increase counter-piracy patrols off Somali coast; Somali Finance Minister announces Somali monetary reforms

Yemen Security Brief

A reported U.S. airstrike killed five al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Raghwan district, Ma’rib governorate, northern Yemen on October 8. U.S. Central Command confirmed three other airstrikes in Ma’rib this year.[1]

Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a Qaher-M2 ballistic missile at Samta area, Jazan region, southern Saudi Arabia on October 10. Al Houthi-Saleh news outlets state the missile targeted a Saudi military command center. Saudi press claimed the missile targeted a school. Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired four other ballistic missiles into Jazan and Asir regions, Saudi Arabia in the past month.[2] 

AQAP militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces in Mudiyah district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on October 8. AQAP claimed the IED killed al Hizam soldiers. Local sources refuted AQAP’s claim that the attack killed al Hizam troops. This is the fifth AQAP attack in Abyan governorate in a one week period. Al Hizam security forces raided suspected AQAP safe houses in Ja’ar city, Abyan governorate on October 8 in response to recent AQAP attacks.[3]

The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat al Bayda released photos of approximately 20 militants training in al Adnani camp in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on October 10. The camp is named after deceased senior ISIS leader Abu Mohammad al Adnani.[4]

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and artillery killed 13 civilians in Shada’a district, Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen on October 9. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes reportedly killed 25 civilians between October 4 and 6 in Sa’ada. Sa’ada governorate is the historic stronghold of the al Houthi movement.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga withdrew from the re-run presidential election citing doubts of a credible election on October 10. Odinga called for a new election, condemned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) leadership, and denounced the majority party’s plans to amend the election laws. Odinga incited demonstrations to protest the election law changes and IEBC leadership since the nullified August 8 election. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reported on October 9 that at least 37 Kenyans died in post-election violence since August 8. The majority of deaths occurred in opposition party strongholds from excessive police force.[6]

Suspected al Shabaab militants attacked the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) in Mombasa, Kwale county, southeastern Kenya on October 10. Al Shabaab militants killed 148 students at a Kenyan university in Garissa town, Garissa county, eastern Kenya in 2015.[7] 

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Puntland police checkpoint near Boosaaso, Puntland, northern Somalia on October 9. Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) militants attacked police in Boosaaso, Puntland, northern Somalia on October 3.[8]

European Union and Indian leaders pledged to enhance freedom of navigation security operations off the coast of Somalia on October 7. Indian naval forces interdicted a pirate attack on a merchant ship in the Gulf of Aden, detaining several pirates on October 6. Future operations will escort World Food Program shipments and patrol the coast to interdict pirates.[9]

The Somali Minister of Finance stated the International Monetary Fund will help Somalia redevelop a national currency to combat money laundering on October 6. Somalia has not had a properly established central bank since 1991. Al Shabaab and criminals have utilized counterfeit currencies to fund operations in Somalia.[10]

[1] “Five suspected al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen by drone strike,” Reuters, October 8, 2017,; Joshua Koontz, Twitter, October 8, 2017,; and “Five al Qaeda militants were killed in an airstrike in Raghwan district, Ma’rib governorate,” Al Masdar, October 8, 2017,
[2] “A ballistic missile demolishes a Saudi command center in Samta area, Jizan governorate,” Saba News, October 10, 2017,; “Yemen rebels fire ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia,” Anadolu Agency, October 10, 2017,; “Houthis announce the launch of a ballistic missile on a command center of the Saudi army in Jazan,” Al Masdar, October 10, 2017,; and “Al Houthi Militias Target School in KSA,” Saudi Press Agency, October 10, 2017,
[3] AQAP targets al Hizam forces in Shaqra, Abyan, Telegram, October 7, 2017; AQAP targets al Hizam forces in Abyan, Telegram, October 8, 2017; Eliasbeth Kendall, Twitter, October 8, 2017,; Demolinari, Twitter, October 9, 2017,; “Suspected AQAP militants detonate IED in Mudiyah, Abyan governorate,” Aden Tomorrow, October 8, 2017,; and “Al Hizam security forces raids AQAP strongholds in Ja’ar city,” Aden Lang, October 7, 2017,
[4] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, October 10, 2017,
[5] Ahmed Al-Haj, “Yemeni doctors say airstrikes, fighting kill 13 civilians,” The Washington Post, October 9, 2017,; and “Death and wounding of 15 citizens during the past hours,” Saba News, October 10, 2017,
[6] “Raila Odinga quits Kenya election re-run,” BBC, October 10, 2017,; and “At least 37 people were killed in election violence,” Al Jazeera, October 9, 2017,
[7] Joseph Akwiri, Gunmen kill two in attack on university convoy in Kenya, Reuters, October 10, 2017,
[8] “Militants attack checkpoint in Somalia’s Puntland, 7 dead,” Eyewitness News, October 9, 2017,
[9] “Somalia: India and EU to Enhance Maritime Security Off Somalia Coast,” All Africa, October 7, 2017,
[10] Harun Maruf, Somalia Months Away From Having New Currency,” VOA, October 6, 2017,

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