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. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterates support for 72-hour ceasefire; Hadi government forces attack al Houthi-Saleh positions in Midi city, Hajjah governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces continue to target Saudi-led coalition positions along Saudi-Yemeni border; Hadi government forces clash with  al Houthi-Saleh forces near Kitaf district, Sa’ada governorate; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target al Houthi-Saleh forces in Sa’ada, Sana’a, and Amran governorates; al Houthi-Saleh forces attack Hadi government and allied forces in Kahbub district along Lahij-Taiz border; cholera outbreak spreads in Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab launches complex attack on Afgoi town, Lower Shabelle region; Somali security forces detain two journalists in Mogadishu; Kenyan court sentences al Shabaab sympathizer to prison

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated the U.S. government’s commitment to the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen on October 18. The ceasefire calls for a halt of all military activities at 23:59 Arabia Standard Time (AST) on October 19 to allow humanitarian aid to reach besieged Yemenis. Chairman of the Supreme Political Council (SPC) Saleh Ali al Samad expressed his “full commitment” to the 72-hour ceasefire. Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh reiterated  the need to end the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade on al Houthi-Saleh territory in order to facilitate humanitarian aid. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi stated that he expects al Houthi-Saleh forces to violate the truce on October 19.[1]
  • Hadi government and allied forces attacked al Houthi-Saleh strongholds east of Midi city, northern Hajjah governorate on October 19. Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck al Houthi-Saleh forces in support of Hadi government operations in Midi district. Hadi government and allied forces seized Midi city in early January 2016. Midi is one of the few positions controlled by the Hadi government in northern Yemen.[2]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces continued to target Saudi-led coalition positions along the Saudi-Yemeni border on October 18 and 19. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to launch complex attacks targeting Saudi coalition positions in Jazan, Asir,and Najran provinces in Saudi Arabia. Al Houthi-Saleh forces shelled Saudi-led coalition forces in Jazan and Asir provinces on October 18.  Al Houthi-Saleh forces also launched Katyusha rockets targeting a Saudi-led coalition military gathering in Najran province on October 18. Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched a Zilzal-1 ballistic missile targeting a Saudi-led coalition gathering in Asir, Saudi Arabia on October 19.[3]
  • Hadi government and allied forces killed two al Houthi-Saleh field commanders during clashes near Kitaf district, northern Sa’ada governorate on October 18. The al Mihdhar Brigade, a Saudi-backed southern Yemeni militia, seized equipment and positions from the al Houthi-Saleh forces near Kitaf. Hadi government and allied forces seized territory in northern Sa’ada for the first time since January 2016 on October 12. Sa’ada is a historic al Houthi stronghold.[4]
  • Saudi-led coalition warplanes targeted al Houthi-Saleh forces in Sa’ada, Sana’a, and Amran governorates on October 19. Coalition airstrikes struck al Houthi-Saleh reinforcements entering al Hashwah district, Sa’ada from al Jawf governorate. Coalition warplanes also targeted the presidential palace in Sa’ada city. The Saudi-led coalition struck Camp al Haffa southwest of Sana’a city on October 19. Coalition warplanes also struck a cement factory in Amran on October 19, according to al Houthi-Saleh media.[5]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces attacked Hadi government and allied forces in Kahboub district along the northwestern Taiz-Lahij border on October 18. A Hadi government field commander announced that his forces successfully repelled the attack. Al Houthi-Saleh forces and Hadi government forces last clashed near Kahboub on October 6.[6]
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the cholera outbreak in Yemen has spread. The WHO reported 340 suspected cases in Taiz, al Hudaydah, Aden, al Bayda, Lahij, and Sana’a governorates. The director of Aden’s healthcare office reported 78 new cases of cholera in Aden. Hadramawt’s governor declared a state of high alert and directed local agencies to take preventive measures against cholera in the governorate. Internally displaced persons living in improvised camps are more susceptible to the outbreak due to insufficient food, lack of clean water, and poor hygiene services. The civil war has destroyed significant portions of Yemen’s infrastructure, including medical facilities.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) outside a local police station in Afgoi town, Lower Shabelle region on October 18. The militants entered the city using 11 technicals following the blast. Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces drove the militants from Afgoi towards Marerey village. Al Shabaab claimed to kill 35 SNA fighters in the attack. Al Shabaab recently launched a string of offensive maneuvers in Lower Shabelle, temporarily seizing Muri town on October 16.[8]
  • Somali security forces detained two Al Jazeera News journalists in Mogadishu on October 18. Hamza Mohamed and Nur Mohamed were covering the al Shabaab attack on Afgoi town. Somali security forces arrested an editor of Mogadishu's oldest print newspaper on October 15 but released him on October 19.[9]
  • A Kenyan court sentenced Simon Karuga Gitu to a ten year prison sentence for attempting to join al Shabaab on October 18. Somali security personnel apprehended the 32-year old Kenyan five miles into Somali territory on September 13.[10]
[1] “Announcement of Cessation of Hostilities in Yemen,” United States Department of State, October 18, 2016,; “Combat rages hours before Yemen truce due to begin,” Reuters, October 19, 2016,; and “Yemen Houthis back truce U.N., U.S. call for aid to flow,” October 18, 2016,
[2] “Hours before the truce..government military operation starts against the Houthis in Midi,” al Masdar, October 19, 2016,
[3] “Missile launch "Zilzal-1" at a gathering of the Saudi army behind cans port in Asir,” al Masirah, October 19, 2016,; and “Yemen: sniping and shelling in the fronts beyond the border with Saudi Arabia,” al Montasaf, October 19, 2016,    
[4] “Yemen .. killed two leaders of the coup in eastern Saada,” Aden Tomorrow, October 18, 2016,; and al Mihdhar Aden Brigades, Twitter, October 18, 2016,
[5] “Coalition warplanes bombed several reinforcements for the Houthis in Sa’ada governorate,” al Masdar, October 19, 2016,; and “Violent raids on al Haffa camp in Sanaa,” Barakish, October 19, 2016,
[6] “Houthis surprise attack resistance and government forces in Kahbub,” Aden Tomorrow, October 18, 2016,
[7] “Medical government sources: 6 cases of cholera deaths and 78 cases of Aden,” Aden Tomorrow, October 18, 2016,; World Health Organization, Twitter, October 18, 2016,; and “Hadramawt governor declares a state of high alert and directed to take proactive preventive measures against cholera throughout the governorate,” Aden Lang, October 18, 2016,
[8] “Over ten people killed in deadly clash in Afgooye,” Goobjoog News, October 19, 2016,; “Govt troops retake Afgoye as death toll jumps to 15,” Shabelle News, October 19, 2016,; and “Scores killed in Al Shabaab attack on Afgoye town,” Shabelle News, October 18, 2016,
[9] “Al Jazeera journalists arrested in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, October 19, 2016,; and “Mogadishu based newspaper editor freed after days in jail,” Goobjoog News, October 19, 2016,
[10] “Man jailed for 10 years for traveling to Somalia,” Shabelle News, October 19, 2016,
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