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: China to forgive Hadi government debt; former president Saleh appeals for support from Chinese president; Saudi-led coalition airstrike hits Hadi government troops; al Houthi-Saleh forces launch ballistic missile at Hadi government-aligned forces in Lahij governorate, southern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Kenyan governors boycott election; Kenyan election commission chairman discusses re-run election with opposition leader; al Shabaab militants attack Ugandan forces in Lower Shabelle, southern Somalia; al Shabaab militants assassinate Jubbaland state MP

Yemen Security Brief

The Chinese government signed a memorandum of understanding with the internationally-recognized Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government on October 18 to forgive $111 million worth of Yemen’s debt. Hadi government Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Abdul Malik al Makhlafi met with Chinese Ambassador to Yemen Tian Qi in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia to discuss humanitarian relief and bilateral relations on October 18.[1]

Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh sent a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping urging China to help end the Saudi-led coalition’s air campaign and blockade on Yemen through the UN Security Council on China’s 19th General Conference of the Communist party on October 18. Saleh stressed his aspirations for stronger bilateral relations and counterterrorism cooperation with China. He also reminded Jinping of China’s support for the September 26 and October 14 Yemeni revolutions.[2]

A Saudi-led coalition airstrike killed eight Hadi government-aligned troops in Mandabah area, Baqim district, Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen on October 17, according to southern reports. The airstrike was likely intended to target al Houthi-Saleh forces clashing with the Fifth Brigade of the Hadi government army.[3]

Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched a Zilzal-2 ballistic missile targeting Hadi government-aligned forces at a school in Kahboub district, Lahij governorate, southern Yemen on October 19, according to al Houthi-Saleh state run news outlets. Kahboub district lies on the southwestern border between Lahij and Taiz governorates.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The governors of Kenya’s Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, and Migori counties declared a boycott of the October 26 election because of concerns over the election’s credibility on October 19. The opposition-aligned governors banned election officials and materials from entering polling locations. The Kenyan Constitution requires an election to occur in every voting precinct to be valid.[5]

Kenyan electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati discussed re-run election reforms with opposition leader Raila Odinga on October 19. The chairman also postponed a meeting discussing the logistics of the re-run election with all seven candidates. Chebukati expressed concerns over the credibility of the re-run election due to pressure and threats from Kenyan political parties on October 18.[6]

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Ugandan African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base in Qoryoley, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on October 19, according to its social media account. Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Ugandan AMISOM convoy outside Qoryoley on October 8.[7]

Al Shabaab militants assassinated Jubbaland state Member of Parliament Abdul Tima-Faras in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on October 18. Al Shabaab targets state leaders to destabilize local governments.[8]

[1] “The Chinese government is exempting our country from debts of more than 700 million Yuan,” Saba New, October 18, 2017,
[2] “The president of the conference congratulates the president and the leadership of the Communist Party of China on the convening of its General Conference,” Al Motamar, October 18, 2017,
[3] “Dead and wounded National Army soldiers by a wrong raid by the coalition in Sa’ada,” Aden Tomorrow, October 18, 2017,; and “Coalition aircraft kills eight government soldiers in Sa’ada,” Al Masdar, October 18, 2017,
[4] “Zilzal 2 rocket targets Saudi-led coalition forces in Lahij,” Saba News, October 19, 2017,; and “Rocket hits coalition forces in Lahij,” Al Motamar, October 19, 2017,
[5] Kepher Otieno, “Nyanza Governors say no elections in October,” Standard Media,” October 19, 2017,
[6] Patrick Lang'at, “Raila Odinga meets with Wafula Chebukati,” Daily Nation, October 19, 2017,
[7] “Al Shabaab militants attack Ugandan AMISOM base in Lower Shabelle,” Telegram, October 19, 2017.
[8] “Al Shabaab militants assassinate Jubbaland MP,” Radio Dalsan, October 18, 2017,

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