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: Saudi National Guard prepares to deploy reinforcements to Yemeni border; Emirati-backed security forces seize explosives and documents during raid of AQAP safe house in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen; AQAP militants attack government building in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; Emirati-backed security forces arrest Islah party member in Aden governorate, southern Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh political council announces payment plan

Horn of Africa: Kenyan government bans opposition protests in business districts; Somali president calls for unity between states and federal government; Oromos protest Ethiopian government repression; Somali army chief and defense minister resign; Puntland transfers control of Bari region port to Emirati firm

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi National Guard is preparing to deploy an American trained and supplied helicopter unit to the Saudi-Yemeni border later this year to counter al Houthi-Saleh cross border attacks. Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired five ballistic missiles into Jazan and Asir regions, Saudi Arabia in the past month. This will be the first time the Saudi National Guard will use Apache and AH-6i helicopters.[1]

Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces seized explosives and documents from the home of senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militant Abdul Hakim Amer during a raid in Mudiyah district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on October 12.[2] 

AQAP militants attacked the al Houthi-Saleh al Quraishyah District Building in northwest al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on October 10. Al Houthi-Saleh militants killed a civilian and wounded another in al Zub area, al Quraishyah earlier in the day on October 10. AQAP fights alongside local tribal militias in al Bayda and frames itself as protectors of the Sunni population.[3]

Emirati-backed security forces arrested Islah party member Wahib al Hail during a raid of his home in al Qalaw’a neighborhood, al Tawahi district, Aden governorate, southern Yemen on October 12. Emirati-backed security forces raided the Islah party headquarters and arrested 10 of its members allegedly connected to the assassination of a Salafi imam on October 11.[4]

The al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council announced a payment plan for teachers on October 11, proposing half the salary be paid in cash and half in the form of a commodity card. Al Houthi-Saleh forces dispersed a demonstration of teachers calling for salary payments in Sana’a city, northern Yemen on October 11, according to southern Yemeni news sources. Al Houthi militants released Saleh-affiliated Yemen Today TV journalist Mohammed Jamil after a five-hour detention for covering the demonstration, according to an al Houthi-Saleh sympathetic news outlet.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi banned opposition party protests in the business districts of Nairobi and two opposition strongholds on October 12. Interior Secretary Matiangi also fined opposition party CEO Norman Magaya the costs of damage from protests on October 11. Opposition party supporters called for reforms and new leadership of Kenya’s electoral commission during protests on October 11.[6]

Somali President Mohamed Farmajo called for unity and cooperation between the Somali Federal Government (SFG) and Somali states in response to grievances listed by the newly formed Interstates Cooperation Council (ICC) on October 11. The ICC expressed concerns over the SFG’s management of the constitution, foreign aid, and the 2020 elections. The Somali states of Puntland, Galmudug, HirShabelle, Southwest, and Jubbaland formed the ICC on October 10.[7] 

Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromos, protested the Ethiopian government’s repression of the Oromo population in Shashemene town and Bookeeti town, Oromia state, Ethiopia on October 11. Police reportedly killed eight civilians and wounded 30 others while attempting to disrupt the protests. Over one-hundred thousand Oromos across 200 towns protested government repression and a plan to increase Addis Ababa’s administrative limits into adjacent Oromo territory on August 6, 2016. Ethiopian police also killed over 50 people during the Oromo festival of Irreecha on October 2, 2016 and arrested over 11,000 Oromos on October 6, 2016.[8]

Somali National Army (SNA) chief General Ahmed Jimale Irfid resigned on October 12 because of reported internal disputes between SNA and the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency. Somali President Mohamed Farmajo immediately replaced Irfid with General Abdi Jama Warsame Gorod as the head of the SNA. Defense Minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed also resigned on October 12 due to recent ministry decisions without his consultation.[9]

[1] Paul McLeary, “Saudi National Guard Prepping for New Deployment to Yemen Border,” October 11, 2017,
[2] Demolinari, Twitter, October 12, 2017,; and Southern Popular Committees of Abyan, Facebook, October 11, 2017,
[3] AQAP attacks building in al Bayda, Telegram, October 11, 2017; and “Al Bayda: a militia sniper kills a citizen and injures his brother,” Yemen Window, October 11, 2017,
[4] “Aden security forces arrest Islah party member,” Al Masdar, October 12, 2017,; “Arrest of new Islah party member,” Aden Lang, October 12, 2017,; and “Al Bukhaiti warns of political repression,” Al Jawza News, October 12, 2017,
[5] “The House of Representatives reviews the agreement to end the teachers strike and resume study,” Yemen Today TV, October 11, 2017,; “Dozens of Houthis attack attack a teacher’s demonstration in Sana’a,” Al Masdar, October 11, 2017,; and “Release of Yemen Today TV correspondent hours after his detention in Sana’a,” Khabar Agency, October 11, 2017,
[6] Faith Nyamai, “Anti-IEBC demos banned in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa CBD,” Daily Nation, October 12, 2017, “
[7] “Somali President calls for unity and cooperation,” Radio Shabelle, October 11, 2017,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, October 11, 2017,
[8] “Breaking News: At Least Eight Killed, Dozens Wounded In Protests Across Oromia,” Addis Standard, October 12, 2017,; and Awol K Allo, “The Oromo protests have changed Ethiopia,” Al Jazeera, November 21, 2016,
[9] Harun Maruf, Twitter, October 12, 2017,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, October 12, 2017,

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