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: Ceasefire to begin on October 19; AQAP militants attack Southern Resistance checkpoint in Shabwah; local officials ban Prime Minister Obeid bin Daghir from entering al Mahrah governorate; Saudi-led coalition intercepts al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missiles; Joint Incidents and Assessment Team (JIAT) says Sana’a funeral hall strike caused by flawed intelligence
Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants attack gubernatorial residence in Mandera County, Kenya; al Shabaab and SNA clash in Muri village, Lower Shabelle region
Yemen Security Brief
- All major parties in the Yemeni civil war agreed to observe a 72-hour ceasefire beginning on October 19. UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced that the 72-hour ceasefire will allow humanitarian supplies and personnel to reach all areas of Yemen. The al Houthi-Saleh alliance, President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government, and the Saudi-led coalition pledged to conditions outlined in the previous April 10 ceasefire, which include allowing humanitarian operations to proceed without interference. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed issued a joint statement calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Yemen on October 16.
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked a Southern Resistance checkpoint in al Hawtah district in eastern Shabwah governorate on October 18. AQAP militants killed at least one Southern Resistance member and wounded two others. Airstrikes targeted AQAP militants on mountains near Azzan district, Shabwah governorate following the attack on the checkpoint. Militants also detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in front of the University of Aden in Crater district on October 18.
- Local officials banned Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghir from entering al Mahrah governorate, Yemen’s easternmost governorate, on October 17. Al Mahrah citizens and leaders criticized Prime Minister bin Daghir’s proposal to unify Shabwah, Hadramawt, Socotra, and al Mahrah governorates into “Greater Hadramawt,” which was intended to follow reforms agreed upon in the National Dialogue Conference in 2014. Demonstrators surrounded Prime Minister bin Daghir’s car during his visit to Socotra, a Yemeni island in the Gulf of Aden, on October 17 to protest the “Greater Hadramawt” plan. Citizens in al Mahrah and Socotra governorate are pursuing distinct representation in a national government.
- Saudi-led coalition air defense systems intercepted an al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile near Ma’rib city, central Ma’rib governorate on October 18. The coalition last intercepted al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missiles on October 11.
- The Joint Incidents and Assessment Team (JIAT), an assessment team staffed by Saudi-led coalition member nations and tasked with investigating and interpreting military rules of engagement in Yemen, announced that the Saudi-led coalition struck a funeral hall in Sana’a on October 8 based on “wrongly passed information” from the Hadi government’s Chief of Staff. The inaccurate intelligence misidentified a civilian funeral gathering in Sana’a city on October 8 as an armed gathering of al Houthi-Saleh leadership. A JIAT spokesperson announced that the Yemeni Air Operations Centre “violated protocol” when it failed to obtain approval from the Hadi government for the airstrike. The JIAT recommended the Saudi-led coalition review its rules of engagement in the Yemeni conflict and compensate the victims’ families. A coalition spokesman announced that the Saudi-led coalition will implement the JIAT’s recommendations and reiterated that “the incident is not in line with the coalition’s objectives.” President Hadi announced that his administration will comply with the JIAT recommendations and “punish the responsible parties” for the intelligence failure.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Suspected al Shabaab militants attacked the gubernatorial residence in Mandera County, Kenya on October 17. The gunmen were disguised as women and engaged Governor Ali Roba’s security detail in a firefight. A stray bullet killed a security guard at a nearby primary school. Kenyan Defence Force Chief Samsom Mwathethe announced plans to development special border units to prevent al Shabaab militants from crossing the Kenyan-Somali border on October 14.
- Al Shabaab militants continued an assault on Somali National Army (SNA) forces in Muri village in Lower Shabelle region on October 18. Al Shabaab fired at security forces from technicals outside the city. The fighting has forced hundreds of Muri civilians to flee to nearby K50 area near Mogadishu. Al Shabaab militants temporarily occupied Muri village on October 16. The militants raised black flags, preached to civilians, and destroyed SNA officers’ homes before withdrawing.
This page has been updated to correct the October 18 report about airstrikes targeting AQAP in Shabwah.