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: U.S. Navy fires cruise missiles at radar sites in al Hudaydah governorate; political and security leaders prepare for October 14 demonstrations in Aden; Saudi-led coalition strikes al Houthi-Saleh positions in al Jawf, Hajjah, and Sana’a governorates

Horn of Africa: Somali Minister of Information calls on SNA forces to deploy as peacekeepers in Galkayo town, Mudug region; three suspected al Shabaab militants killed while planting an IED in Mogadishu; Galmudug security forces recapture Godinlabe town from ASWJ in Galgadud region; al Shabaab executes two men in Jilib town, Middle Jubba region

Yemen Security Brief

  • The U.S. Navy launched cruise missiles targeting three radar sites near Ras Isa, as Salif district, al Hudaydah governorate on October 13. Ras Isa is located on Yemen’s Red Sea coast. This is the first direct U.S. military action against a target in al Houthi-Saleh-controlled territory. Suspected al Houthi-Saleh militants launched two failed missile attacks targeting the USS Mason in the Red Sea on October 9 and 12. An al Houthi-Saleh media source denied responsibility for both attacks. An al Houthi-Saleh spokesman previously vowed to defend Yemen’s territorial waters after al Houthi-Saleh forces conducted a missile attack that nearly sunk an Emirati ship on October 1. Iran deployed two warships from its 44th fleet to the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy operations on October 12, according to an Iranian news agency.[1]
  • Southern Yemenis will demonstrate for their right to self-determination and representation in Aden’s Freedom Square on October 14. Southern Yemeni political leaders announced the completion of preparations for a march on October 13. The march coincides with the 53rd anniversary of South Yemen’s revolution against the British Mandate. The head of the Union of Civil Society Organizations in Aden, Maged al Hajery, announced the organization’s support and participation in the October 14 demonstrations. Southern Yemeni leaders are coordinating with security forces to alleviate traffic congestion. The commander of special security forces in Aden, Brigadier Nasser Sariah al Amboury, announced that his forces have begun to secure the borders of Khormaksar district and entrances in Aden’s Freedom Square.[2]  
  • Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck al Houthi-Saleh positions in al Jawf, Hajjah, and Sana’a governorates on October 13. Coalition airstrikes killed al Houthi-Saleh leadership in al Maton district, al Jawf, near areas recently seized by Hadi government and allied forces. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi-Saleh positions in Haradh district, Hajjah governorate. Hadi government and allied forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Haradh on October 6. Coalition warplanes also struck anti-air positions on Mount al Tawil, east of Sana’a city.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somalia’s Information Minister called on Somali National Army (SNA) commanders to deploy forces as peacekeepers to Galkayo town in Mudug region on October 12. Fighting between Puntland and Galmudug security forces in Galkayo erupted on October 7 and continues to escalate. The clashes began after a U.S. airstrike killed 14 Galmudug security personnel on September 28. Galmudug officials accused Puntland officials of providing faulty intelligence for the strike. The U.S. Ambassador to Somalia, Stephen Schwartz, confirmed an ongoing investigation into the September 28 airstrike in Mogadishu on October 12.[4]
  • Three suspected al Shabaab militants died when the improvised explosive device (IED) they were planting alongside a road in Mogadishu detonated on October 12. Somali security forces were deployed to investigate the scene. Al Shabaab uses IEDs to harass SNA and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoys throughout southern and central Somalia.[5]
  • Galmudug security forces recaptured Godinlabe town from Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) forces on October 12 after ASWJ forces drove off Galmudug forces earlier in the day. ASWJ is a Sufi Islamist paramilitary group that has aligned with the Somali government to fight al Shabaab in the past.[6]
  • Al Shabaab executed two men in Jilib town in Middle Jubba region on October 12. The militants executed Abdullah Daleel Muse, a Kenyan, and Mohamed Ibrahim, a Somali, for allegedly conspiring with Kenyan military and British intelligence forces. Al Shabaab also executed three men on October 12 in El Ali town in Hiraan region.[7]
[1] “U.S. Military Strikes Yemen after missile attacks on U.S. Navy Ship,” Reuters, October 13, 2016,; and “USS Mason Fired 3 Missiles to defend from Yemen cruise missile attacks,” USNI, October 12, 2016,; and “Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on USS Mason,” U.S. Department of Defense, October 12, 2016,; “After the U.S. Strikes #Houthis repeat: We did not target the destroyer,” Barakish, October 13, 2016,; “Iran deployed two warships in the Gulf of Aden,” Barakish, October 13, 2016,
[2] “Efforts being made in coordination with the leadership of the Aden security and special forces to secure October celebrations and alleviate traffic congestion,” Aden Tomorrow, October 13, 2016,; and “Complete preparations to participate October 14 demonstrations in Aden,” Aden Time, October 12, 2016,; and Union Civil Society Organization confirms participation in the October 14 demonstrations,” Aden Time, October 12, 2016,; and “Private security forces announce the start of the process to secure the entrances to Khormaksar district and square,” Aden Tomorrow, October 13, 2016,
[3] “Houthi leader killed with 18 others in an alliance raid at al Jawf,” Barakish, October 13, 2016,; 22 killed in a raid targeting a gathering of Houthis Haradh western province of Hajjah,” al Masdar, October 13, 2016,; and “Violent raids in the vicinity of the capital Sana’a,” Barakish, October 13, 2016,
[4] “Tension escalates in Galkaayo as Puntland and Galmudug forces dig in for battle,” Goobjoog News, October 13, 2016,; “Federal Government Proposes Deployment of Somali National Troops in the Troubled Galkio,” Goobjoog News, October 12, 2016,; and “U.S. government probes Somalia’s airstrikes claims,” Shabelle News, October 12, 2016,
[5] “Land mine blast kills Three people in Somali capital,” Shabelle News, October 13, 2016,
[6] “Galmudug forces recapture Godinlabe from Ahlu Sunna,” Shabelle News, October 12, 2016,
[7] “A Kenyan among 2 ‘spies’ executed by Al Shabaab,” Shabelle News, October 13, 2016,  
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