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: Emirati-backed security forces arrest Islah party members in Aden governorate, southern Yemen; demonstrators demand dismissal of Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghir in eastern Yemen; al Houthi forces storm al Houthi-Saleh Foreign Ministry in Sana’a, northern Yemen; UN Special Envoy for Yemen warns influential Yemeni leaders are profiting from the conflict; Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces arrest local AQAP leaders in Aden and Abyan governorates, southern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Kenyan majority party amends election laws; al Shabaab and former al Shabaab leader clash in Bakool region, southern Somalia; Italian court sentences Somali trafficker to life in prison; Iranian regional official condemns Somali security forces’ unnecessary force

Yemen Security Brief

Emirati-backed security forces arrested 10 members of the Islah party and seized explosives during a raid in al Qalua area, Aden governorate, southern Yemen on October 11. Islah is the primary Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated political party in Yemen and plays a significant role in the internationally recognized Hadi government. Security forces stated that the raid was related to the assassination of Salafi imam Yassin al Adani in Aden on October 10. The Islah party confirmed the arrests and called for an investigation into the legality of the raid.[1] 

Demonstrators supporting the Transitional Political Council of the South demanded the dismissal of the internationally recognized Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Bin Daghir in Ataq city, Shabwah governorate and al Mukalla and Sayoun cities, Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen on October 10. The Transitional Political Council of the South is a governing entity that aims to represent southern Yemeni interests. Demonstrators called for further southern representation and the elimination of corruption in the Hadi government. Southern Movement organizers also called for southerners to march on Aden on October 13-14 to commemorate the anniversary of the October 14 revolution. Daghir attended an October 14 celebration in Aden on October 11, delivering a speech that focused on Aden security and restructuring Hadi government military units.[2]

Al Houthi forces reportedly prevented the al Houthi-Saleh Foreign Minister and his staff from accessing their office in Sana'a city, northern Yemen on October 7. The al Houthi forces claimed that President of the Supreme Political Council Saleh al Samad issued the directive. Sharaf belongs to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party. Al Houthi forces stormed al Houthi-Saleh Minister of Health and GPC member Mohammed Salem bin Hafez’s office to declare the appointment of a new minister on September 30. The al Houthi movement attempted to replace several GPC-affiliated ministers with al Houthi supporters in early September amidst tension within the al Houthi-Saleh bloc.[3] 

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed warned that influential Yemeni leaders, who are profiting from the conflict, are not interested in reaching political settlement during a speech to the UN Security Council on October 10. Ahmed also reported that he is working on a comprehensive solution and called for compromise.[4]

Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces arrested local al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) commander Jamil al Saqqaf during a raid in al Kabsa area, al Mualla city, Aden governorate, southern Yemen on October 10. Al Hizam forces also arrested local AQAP commander Mohammed Saleh Saeed al Awlaki in Mudiyah city, Abyan governorate on October 10.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The majority Jubilee party amended Kenya’s election laws in parliament on October 11 to declare the remaining candidate the winner of an election if the only opposing candidate withdraws before a vote occurs. The opposition party boycotted the vote in parliament. Opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrew from the re-run election on October 10 and called for a new poll based off a prior Kenyan Supreme Court ruling, mandating a new vote if the only opposition candidate withdraws. The Kenyan Supreme Court ruled that third party candidate Ekuru Aukot may participate in the re-run election on October 11. Kenya’s electoral commission, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), debated continuing the re-run election on October 11. Supporters of Odinga called for a new election and IEBC reforms during mass demonstrations throughout Kenya on October 11.[6]

Al Shabaab militants and former al Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour’s forces reportedly clashed in Seyniilow village, Bakool region, southern Somalia on October 11. Robow left al Shabaab in 2013 and defected to the Somali Federal Government on August 13. Seyniilow lies 45 km southeast of the Bakool regional capital Hudur.[7] 

An Italian court in Milan delivered a life sentence to a Somali human trafficker on October 11. The trafficker abducted Somali migrants fleeing to Europe from Libya and detained them in a prison camp outside Tripoli. Italian police arrested the trafficker after he fled from Libya to Italy in 2016.[8] 

Iranian Deputy Governor General of Sistan and Balochistan province Ali Asghar Mir-Shekari condemned Somali forces’ unnecessary use of force against Iranian citizens on October 11. Puntland security forces killed an Iranian fishing boat captain and detained sixteen Iranians for illegal fishing off the Hafun town, Puntland, northern Somalia on October 8. Many boats from Iran, Yemen, and China illegally fish in Somali waters, accounting for over 75% of total fish caught off the Somali coast, according to the U.S. fishing monitor Secure Fisheries.[9]

[1] “Yemen Islamist party members arrested, ratcheting up tensions,” Reuters, October 11, 2017,; “Counterterrorism forces storm Islah party headquarters and seizes explosives,” Aden Lang, October 11, 2017,; Demolinari, Twitter, October 11, 2017,; “Details of the assassination of Imam Yassin al Adani,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, October 10, 2017,; and “Security arrests leader and members of Islah, the party calls for their release,” Yemeni Islah Party, October 11, 2017,
[2] Demolinari, Twitter, October 10, 2017,; Demolinari, Twitter, October 10, 2017,; “Components of the Southern Movement in Wadi Hadramawt organizes a mass rally in commemoration of the 54th anniversary of the glorious October revolution,” Aden Tomorrow, October 11, 2017,; “Thousands launch the celebrations of the glorious October revolution in a mass rally in Makkah,” Aden Tomorrow, October 10, 2017,; and “Prime Minister attends artisitc and speech ceremony marking the anniversary of the October and November revoutions,” Saba New, October 11, 2017,
[3] “Ansar Allah breaks into Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Khabar Agency, October 7, 2017,
[4] “Briefing of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen at the open session of the security council,” Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, October 10, 2017,
[5] “Security forces arrest AQAP leader in al Mualla city,” Aden Lang, October 11, 2017,; “Security forces arrest AQAP leader in Mudiyah,” Aden Lang, October 10, 2017,; and Hadramawt Elite Network, Twitter, October 10, 2017,
[6] Katharine Houreld and Duncan Miriri, “Kenya vote in balance as crisis deepens after Odinga quits,” Reuters, October 11, 2017,; and “Nasa protests as IEBC mulls next move,” Daily Nation, October 11, 2017,
[7] Katie Zimmerman, Twitter, October 11, 2017,
[8] “Italian Court Sentences To Life Somali Human Trafficking Lord,” Radio Shabelle, October 11, 2017,
[9] “Arrest Of Iranian Fishermen By Somalia Illegal, Radio Shabelle, October 11, 2017,

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