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: Reported U.S. airstrike kills several AQAP militants in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes kill civilians in Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Kenya’s electoral commission CEO takes temporary leave of absence; al Shabaab detonates SVBIED outside Mogadishu, Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

A reported U.S. airstrike killed several al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants traveling in a vehicle between al Sawmah and Mukayras districts in southern al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on October 19. Mukayras district lies on the border of al Bayda and Abyan governorates. An AQAP-affiliated social media account and local news sources claimed the airstrike killed five men. U.S. airstrikes targeted AQAP militants in al Sawmah district three other times in September.[1] 

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit two private residences, killing six civilians in al Ghawr area, Ghamr district, Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen on October 20, according to al Houthi-Saleh news outlets. A suspected Saudi-led coalition cluster bomb also injured five children in Qahza area, north of Sa’ada city on October 20. The UN named the Saudi-led coalition on a blacklist for indiscriminately targeting children on October 5.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The CEO of Kenya’s electoral commission Ezra Chiloba announced he would take a three week leave and not oversee the October 26 re-run election on October 20. Opposition leader Raila Odinga discussed the opposition party’s demands to participate in the re-run election with election commission chairman Wafula Chebukati, including the removal of Chiloba on October 19.[3] 

An al Shabaab militant detonated a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) on Mogadishu-Afgoi highway in Elasha Biyaha village, Lower Shabelle, southern Somalia, 16 kilometers outside Mogadishu. The two vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) used in the October 14 Mogadishu bombing that killed over 300 Somalis entered Mogadishu on the same highway.[4]

[1] “Suspected U.S. drone strike kills 3 al Qaida fighters in Yemen,” The Washington Post, October 19, 2017,; “List of martyrs,” Telegram, October 19, 2017; “Drone strike kills al Qaeda militants in Yemen,” Aden Tomorrow, October 20, 2017,; “Drone strike in al Bayda,” Aden Tomorrow, October 19, 2017,; “Four al Qaeda members militants killed in drone strike,” Al Masdar, October 19, 2017,; “Al Qaeda members killed in al Bayda drone strike,” Aden Lang, October 20, 2017,; Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, October 20, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, October 19, 2017,
[2] “The number of victims of the Sa’ada raids increased to 11 martyrs and wounded,” Al Masirah, October 20, 2017,; “Ten civilians killed and injured by air raids in Sa’ada,” Saba News, October 20, 2017,; and “Five children injured by cluster bomb in Sa’ada,” Al Masirah, October 20, 2017,
[3] “Kenya election board CEO rejected by opposition goes on leave ahead of poll,” Reuters, October 20, 2017,
[4] “At Least Two People Killed In Car Bomb Blast Near Mogadishu,” Radio Shabelle, October 20, 2017,

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