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:  UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh meets with the al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council; AQAP claims attacks in Abyan and Ibb governorates; al Houthi-Saleh forces accused of blocking humanitarian aid delivery to Taiz; Hadi government and allied forces resume ground and air operations in Hajjah, al Hudaydah, al Jawf, Lahij, and Taiz governorates

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab conducts complex attack on Djiboutian AMISOM base in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; al Shabaab militants attack lodge in Mandera town, Mandera County, Kenya; al Shabaab gunmen assassinate SNA General in Waberi district, Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed met with a delegation from the al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council (SPC) in Sana’a on October 24. The SPC released a statement confirming that it received a formal copy of a new proposed resolution from Ould Cheikh Ahmed on October 24 and noting that Ould Cheikh Ahmed will submit the resolution to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in Riyadh on October 25. President Hadi’s Foreign Minister Abdul Malik al Mikhlafi criticized Ould Cheikh Ahmed and international community for “leniency” in response to Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s meeting with the SPC. Al Mikhlafi warned that the SPC’s intent to unilaterally form an al Houthi-Saleh government in Sana’a threatens the tenets of UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which also requires al Houthi-Saleh forces to disarm and withdraw from seized territory.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to kill 12 members of the Hizam brigade in Abyan governorate on October 20. AQAP also claimed to kill five al Houthi-Saleh commanders in Ibb governorate between October 14 and October 23. AQAP issued a statement clarifying the jurisprudence of a tribal dispute between AQAP and al Bu Bakr bin Daha tribe.[2]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces prevented UNICEF humanitarian aid convoy from entering Taiz governorate during the three-day cessation of hostilities, according to UNICEF personnel. Ali al Maamari, the governor of Taiz, accused the al Houthi-Saleh forces of violating the terms of the ceasefire.[3]
  • Hadi government and allied forces supported by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes resumed offensives against al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Jawf, Hajjah, al Hudaydah, Lahij, and Taiz governorates on October 24. Hadi government forces with Saudi-led coalition air support clashed attacked al Houthi-Saleh positions in Waquz area, Masloub District, al Jawf governorate. Coalition-backed forces also targeted al Houthi-Saleh positions in Hajjah governorate. The coalition conducted a series of airstrikes throughout al Hudaydah governorate on Yemen’s Red Sea coast in an effort to “liberate” al Hudaydah, according to Hadi government military source. These attacks follow an escalation in the Red Sea that included the firing of anti-ship missiles from al Hudaydah toward U.S. Navy vessels on October 1 and 9.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab launched a complex attack on a Djiboutian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on October 25. A militant detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) at the compound’s entrance, allowing approximately 10 al Shabaab gunmen to enter the compound. The attack killed at least 12 individuals, including Djiboutian forces and civilians.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants conducted an overnight attack on a lodge in Mandera town in Mandera County, Kenya on October 25.  The militants killed 12 Kenyans using explosives and small arms fire. A group of Kenyan politicians criticized the central government in the wake of the attack. The officials demanded additional security forces and the completion of Kenya’s border wall. Al Shabaab militants killed six civilians in a similar attack in Mandera town on October 5.[6]
  • Al Shabaab gunmen assassinated a senior Somali National Army (SNA) officer, General Abdulaziz Araye, in the Waberi district of Mogadishu on October 24. The attackers fled the scene before security personnel arrived.[7]
[1] “Government: The solution in Yemen must be in accordance with the authorities and otherwise legitimize the coup,” al Masdar, October 24, 2016,; and “A statement from the Supreme Political Council,” October 25, 2016,   
[2] “AQAP Claims Killing 12 Security Belt Forces in Two Attacks in Abyan” SITE, 24 October, 2016; and “AQAP claims killing 5 Houthi Commanders in 9 days, clarifies tribal issue,” SITE, October 24, 2016,
[3] “Houthis prevent aid entering Taiz,” Middle East Monitor, October 24, 2016, 
[4] “Hypocrites aggression targeting sites in the area of Oukz Jawf,” al Masirah, October 24, 2016,;“ Destroy armored mercenaries Sberan aggression in the region of al Jawf” al Masirah, October 24, 2016,; Receiving light aircraft bombs on Mokha and raids in Hodeidah,” al Montasaf, October 25, 2016,; “Saudi coalition targets al Houthi-Saleh al Qibth,” Aden Time, October 24, 2016,; “al Houthi-Saleh forces attacking positions in western Taiz-Lahij,” al Masdar, October 25, 2016,; Yemen411, Twitter, October 24, 2016,; and “Hadi army starts large-scale military operation to liberated #al Hudaydah,” Aden Time, October 24, 2016,
[5] “Islamists launch three attacks in Somalia and Kenya in 24 hours,” Reuters Africa, October 25, 2016,; “Al-Shabab suicide bomber hits AU base in Beledweyne,” Al Jazeera, October 25, 2016,; and “Four AU soldiers among 10 killed in base camp attack,” Shabelle News, October 25, 2016,
[6] “12 killed in Mandera attack by Shabaab gunmen,” Shabelle News, October 25, 2016,; “At least 12 people killed in suspected Al-Shabaab attack in Mandera,” Goobjoog News, October 25, 2016,; “Death toll from Al Shabab attack in Mandera hits 12,” Shabelle News, October 25, 2016,; and “Kenya slams Mandera attack by Al Shabaab,” Shabelle News, October 25, 2016,
[7] “Top Somali army general shot dead in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, October 24, 2016,
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