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: Hadi government security forces open fire on Southern Movement demonstrators in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh forces down alleged U.S. surveillance drone in Sana’a governorate, northern Yemen; al Houthi militants forcibly replace GPC-affiliated Health minister in Sana’a; Emirati-backed security forces enforce weapons ban in Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen; AQAP militants attack Emirati-backed security forces in Yafa’a district, Lahij governorate, southern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Turkey opens military base in Mogadishu; Somali-born militant attacks officer and pedestrians in Edmonton, Canada; Kenyan President Kenyatta rejects possibility of power sharing agreement; Kenyans in U.S. protest Kenyan election law changes; al Shabaab militants recapture village in Bakool region, southern Somalia; Somali Security Minister fires senior officers and arrests 12 soldiers

Yemen Security Brief

Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government security forces opened fire on demonstrators calling for southern independence and protesting against the presence of Hadi government Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghir in Zinjibar city, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on October 1. Many also rallied in support of Daghir. Daghir stated that regional security forces do not have the capacity to protect society in a speech during a rally commemorating the September 26, 1962 revolution. Daghir also pledged one billion riyals to restore social services in Zinjibar and Khanfir district to prevent the resurgence of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Daghir’s plan to consolidate security forces under a centralized authority drew criticism from Southern Movement supporters.[1] 

Al Houthi-Saleh forces shot down a reported unmanned U.S. MQ-9 surveillance drone in the Jader area, Sana’a governorate on October 1. An al Houthi news outlet released a video of its forces shooting down the drone with a surface-to-air missile. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to damage a Saudi-led coalition F-16 jet with a surface-to-air missile over Sana’a on June 7.[2]

Al Houthi forces reportedly stormed al Houthi-Saleh Minister of Health Mohammed Salem bin Hafez’s office in Sana’a to declare the appointment of a new minister on September 30. Hafez is a member of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party. Hafez stated that al Houthi gunmen held him at gunpoint after storming the office with Undersecretary of the Minister Abdul Salam al Madani and local al Houthi leader Nashwan al Atab. The al Houthi movement attempted to replace several GPC-affiliated ministers with al Houthi supporters in early September amidst tension within the al Houthi-Saleh faction.[3]

Emirati-backed Shabwani Elite Forces began enforcing a weapons ban in Mayfa’a, Rudum, Habban, and Rawdah districts, Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen on September 30. Shabwani Elite Forces also arrested two AQAP militants in Ataq city, Ataq governorate, Shabwah on October 2. U.S. and Emirati Special Operations Forces backed a Yemeni operation to establish security in major population areas in Shabwah at the beginning of August.[4]

Suspected AQAP militants attacked Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces in Naqil al Khala al Yazidi area, Yafa’a district, Lahij governorate, southern Yemen on October 1. Al Hizam forces killed a local AQAP leader and arrested five other suspected militants in Yafa’a on September 27.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Turkey opened its largest foreign military base after two years of construction in Mogadishu, Somalia on September 30. Turkey’s chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar stated the base will train over 10,000 Somali National Army (SNA) troops. Turkey began sending troops to the base on August 22 to assist with training and security. Turkey has sent $1 billion in aid to Somalia since 2011.[6]

A Somali-born militant stabbed a police officer and ran over four pedestrians in Edmonton, Canada on October 1. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigated the militant for extremist ideologies in 2015. Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht stated the militant sought refugee status in Canada and had an ISIS flag in his vehicle. ISIS and al Shabaab use the same flag, however.[7] 

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta rejected the possibility of forming a coalition government with presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) party if the re-run election does not occur before the October 31 constitutional deadline. President Kenyatta stated he would serve as president until Kenya holds a new election. A power-sharing agreement between presidential candidates ended post-election violence that killed over 1,000 people after the 2007 election.[8]

Kenyans protested police violence, election law changes proposed by President Kenyatta’s Jubilee party, and Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) outside the UN headquarters in New York City on September 30. The Jubilee party created a special committee to fast-track the election law changes in parliament on September 28. Presidential candidate Raila Odinga called on supporters in Kenya and abroad to draw attention to the election law changes, stating he will not boycott the re-run election if the Jubilee party drops the changes on September 29.[9]  

Al Shabaab militants recaptured Yed village, 30 kilometers from Hudur city, Bakool region, southern Somalia on October 1, according to their social media account. Al Shabaab raided a nearby Somali National Army (SNA) base before capturing the village. SNA and African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops recaptured the territory around Yed and Hudur from al Shabaab in March 2014. Al Shabaab militants captured a Somali National Army (SNA) base and Barire town, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on September 29.[10]

Somali Security Minister Mohamed Abukar fired two security chiefs and arrested 12 soldiers on October 1 because of their failures to interdict al Shabaab militants during recent attacks in Mogadishu. Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device targeting senior Somali commander Aden Laboo Afle in the suburbs of Mogadishu on October 1. Al Shabaab has conducted over a dozen attacks in Mogadishu since September 17.[11]

[1] “Prime Minister: The September 26 revolution liberated a people under threat of myth, isolation, and injustice,” Sana New, October 1, 2017,; “Analysis: Why did people split in Abyan between supporters of Daghir and his opponents?” Aden Tomorrow, October 1, 2017,; “Two citizens holding pictures of President Hadi in protest against the aggression of government forces on demonstrators,” Aden Lang, October 1, 2017,; and “Security forces and another governor attacked peaceful demonstrators in Abyan protesting against Bin Daghir’s visit,” Aden Lang, October 1, 2017,
[2] “U.S. drone shot down in Sana’a,” Al Masirah, October 1, 2017,; “Details about the American drone downed in Sana’a,” Saba News, October 1, 2017,; “Yemen Houthis say have shot down U.S. surveillance drone,” Reuters, October 1, 2017,; “Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim to have shot down US drone over Sana’a,” Middle East Eye, October 1, 2017,; “U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone shot down over Yemen’s capital,” Yahoo news, October 1, 2017,; Joshua Koontz, Twitter, October 1, 2017,; and “Houthis announce the fall of American drone in Sana’a,” Al Masdar, October 1, 2017,
[3] “Houthis storm health ministry in Sana’a, threaten Saleh loyalist minister,” Al Arabiya, October 1, 2017,; “Al Houthi-Saleh rift deepens as gunmen storm Minister of Health’s office,” El Ghad, October 2, 2017,; and “Houthis break into health ministry,” Aden Lang, October 1, 2017,
[4] “A security campaign to prevent the carrying of arms in Shabwah,” Aden Tomorrow, September 30, 2017,; “With the support of the UAE and coordination with local authority, Shabwani Elite forces implement the decision to prevent the carrying of arms, enjoying popular support,” Aden Lang, September 30, 3017,; and “Shabwah security controls terrorists in Ataq,” Aden Lang, October 2, 2017,
[5] “A soldier wounded by an armed attack by al Qaeda, targeting a security point in Yafa’a,” Aden Lang, October 2, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, October 2, 2017,
[6] “Turkey sets up largest overseas army base in Somalia,” Al Jazeera, October 1, 2017,
[7] Madison Park and Dakin Andone, “Five hurt as Edmonton attacks spark terror investigation, “CNN, October 1, 2017,; and “Somali Man Arrested in Suspected Canada 'Lone Wolf' Attack,” VOA, October 1, 2017,
[8] Dibie Ike Michael, “Kenya: President Kenyatta Rejects Call for Power Sharing,” Africa News, October 1, 2017,
[9] Chris Wamalwa, “Kenyans in the US protest against attempt to change electoral law,” Daily Nation, October 1, 2017,
[10] “Al Shabaab recaptured Yed, Bakool from SNA,” Telegram, October 1, 2017.
[11] “Somali Security Minister Sacks Officials, Arrests Soldiers,” Radio Shabelle, October 1, 2017,; and “Somali Army Commander Escaped Bomb Attack Near Mogadishu,” Radio Shabelle, October 1, 2017,

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