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: President Hadi’s government agrees to UN peace talks; Sudanese troops arrive in Aden; anti-al Houthi forces prepare to launch al Jawf offensive; coalition friendly fire kills thirty pro-Hadi fighters
Horn of Africa: SNA forces clash with al Shabaab militants in Garbaharey, Gedo region; al Shabaab kills government worker in Mogadishu, Banadir region; UAE signs pact with Somali government to help fund SNA soldier salaries; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a rejects decisions made in the 2016 election consultative forum
Yemen Security Brief
- The Yemeni government led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi agreed on October 18 to participate in UN-sponsored peace talks. President Hadi’s Arab coalition-backed government had previously rejected an al Houthi offer to begin negotiations earlier this month. The UN has not announced a date and location for the talks.
- A battalion of 300 Sudanese ground troops arrived at the port of Aden on October 17, followed by an additional 450 Sudanese troops on October 19. The Sudanese government promised to contribute ground troops to the Saudi-led coalition several times in recent months, and Sudanese warplanes have already participated in coalition airstrikes in Yemen. Reuters reported that the Sudanese battalions will help maintain security in Aden.
- Anti-al Houthi forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition are reportedly preparing to launch a ground offensive in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen. Al Jawf borders Saudi Arabia to the north, the al Houthi stronghold Sa’ada to the west, and Sana’a and Ma’rib governorates in central Yemen. Popular resistance forces and Yemeni army units loyal to President Hadi are reportedly moving toward al Jawf, and the coalition intensified its airstrike campaign in al Jawf this week.
- A coalition airstrike mistakenly struck a military camp for anti-al Houthi fighters in Taiz governorate on October 17. The friendly fire attack killed 30 fighters and wounded 40. Anti-al Houthi forces backed by the coalition are currently fighting to wrest control of the central Yemeni governorate from the al Houthis.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Multiple clashes between the SNA and al Shabaab militants on the outskirts of Garbaharey town, the capital of the Gedo region, killed up to ten individuals. SNA forces initially attacked al Shabaab militants who were illegally collecting taxes from civilians. The ensuing clash killed six people total from both sides. Al Shabaab militants ambushed a SNA convoy deployed to reinforce positions at the initial site of fighting, killing four SNA soldiers. Both attacks occurred on October 18, and are part of the SNA’s recent efforts to clear al Shabaab’s presence from the Gedo region.
- Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for killing a finance ministry employee in the capital of Mogadishu on October 18. Al Shabaab gunmen gunned the victim down in front of his house as he was on his way to work. This attack is part of al Shabaab’s assassination campaign in Mogadishu targeting federal government workers.
- Officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Somali government signed an agreement on October 17 in which the UAE offered funding support to the Somali National Army (SNA). The UAE will reportedly help Somalia pay the salaries of SNA soldiers, which is something the country has struggled greatly with in the past and is seen as a major threat to the country’s stability, though the agreement’s specifics are not available.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) leader Sheikh Mohamed Shakir Ali Hassan declared that ASWJ would not abide by any official decisions made at the Vision 2016 consultative forum currently taking place in Mogadishu. The forum is meant to determine the ways in which the upcoming government election will be held, and a number of federally recognized regional administrators are participating, but ASWJ was not invited.