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: Suspected al Houthi-Saleh militants fire missiles at U.S. Navy destroyer in Red Sea; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes kill 155 civilians at funeral hall in Sana’a city; Southern Movement supporters demonstrate against Prime Minister bin Daghir in al Mukalla, Hadramawt; WHO issues cholera outbreak warning in Sana’a and Taiz cities
Horn of Africa: Galmudug and Puntland State forces clash in Galkayo, Mudug region after ceasefire fails; Ethiopian AMISOM forces withdraw from El Ali town, Hiraan region; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate SVBIED and launch mortars in Mogadishu; regional administrations and clans fail to meet election requirements
Yemen Security Brief
- Suspected al Houthi-Saleh militants launched two missiles targeting a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Red Sea on October 9. A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed that the missiles were fired from al Houthi-Saleh-held territory but did not confirm who was responsible for the launch. The USS Mason deployed to the Red Sea following an al Houthi-Saleh attack on an Emirati vessel in the Bab al Mandab Strait on October 3. An al Houthi-Saleh spokesman stated that the alliance’s forces will protect its territorial waters and take all appropriate action against trespassers on October 3. An al Houthi-Saleh spokesman denied responsibility for the attack on the USS Mason and called the attack a “baseless” claim intended to cover up “heinous” attacks by the Saudi-led coalition.
- The Saudi-led coalition struck a funeral for al Houthi-Saleh Major General Jalal Ali al Rowaishan in a community hall in Sana’a city on October 8, killing an estimated 155 civilians and wounding more than 500 others. This attack marks the highest number of civilian casualties in a single coalition strike since the start of the air campaign in March 2015. Several top al Houthi-Saleh political and military officials attended the funeral. The U.S. National Security Council spokesman announced the U.S. will review its support for the Saudi-led coalition following this strike. Thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in Sana’a city to protest the coalition’s air campaign on October 9. Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh called for retaliatory attacks on Saudi Arabia on October 9. Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched ballistic missiles at Taif city, Saudi Arabia and coalition positions in Ma’rib governorate, Yemen in response to the strike. Saudi air defenses intercepted the missiles.
- Forces loyal to Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghir broke up Southern Movement demonstrations in al Mukalla city, Hadramawt governorate on October 11. The Southern Movement purses southern Yemeni self-determination and includes secessionist elements. The demonstrations included calls for Prime Minister bin Daghir’s removal and the burning of the Prime Minister’s photo.The Southern Movement plans to hold demonstrations on October 14 to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the South Yemen revolution against the British Mandate and call for southern Yemeni political representation. Southern political leaders are also planning to form a southern political council to ensure southern Yemeni representation on October 14.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a cholera outbreak in Sana’a and Taiz cities on October 6. WHO officials are concerned that the outbreak may spread to other parts of the country as civilians flee airstrikes and fighting in Sana’a and Taiz. Yemenis living in improvised camps outside of large cities are more susceptible to the outbreak due to poor food and water treatment. The civil war has destroyed significant portions of Yemen’s infrastructure, including medical facilities.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A truce between Galmudug and Puntland State elders ended on October 10 when security forces exchanged artillery and small arms fire in Galkayo, Mudug region. Clashes initially erupted between Galmudug and Puntland forces on October 7 over a disputed U.S. airstrike that Galmudug forces claim killed 14 state security personnel on September 28. An initial round of fighting killed six security personnel on October 7. A second round killed an additional two security personnel on October 8. Both Galmudug and Puntland States administer different areas of Galkayo city and have clashed over disputed borders in the past.
- Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces withdrew from El Ali town in Hiraan region on October 11. Al Shabaab militants fired mortars at AMISOM positions in El Ali on October 3. Al Shabaab and AMISOM forces have traded control of El Ali multiple times since June 2016.
- Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) outside a mosque in the Yaqshid district of Mogadishu on October 10. The blast killed at least one individual and wounded three others. Suspected al Shabaab militants also launched mortars into Wadajir district in Mogadishu on October 8. The mortars landed in a residential area located near Mogadishu International Airport and wounded at least 13 individuals.
- Officials will likely announce further delays to the Somali parliamentary elections. Jubbaland, Puntland, and Galmudug States submitted candidate lists for Upper House elections that did not meet the thirty percent threshold for female candidates required by the constitution. Multiple clans also failed to submit lists of electors for the Lower House elections. Representation in the Upper House is divided evenly among the regional states, while Lower House representation uses the “4.5” clan-based system to allocate representation.