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: Coalition airdrops weapons in Taiz; Saudi ambassador says MSF strike was a mistake; Vice President Bahah writes op-ed supporting negotiations; coalition resumes military operations at al Anad airbase
Horn of Africa: SNA forces kill 15 al Shabaab militants near Dinsor, Bay region; SNA forces repulse al Shabaab attack in Moqokori, Hiraan region; unidentified plane crashes in al Shabaab-controlled territory near Afgoi town, Lower Shabelle region
Yemen Security Brief
- The Saudi-led coalition airdropped weapons to anti-al Houthi militias in al Dhubab district, Taiz governorate in southwestern Yemen on October 27. Coalition-backed forces are currently attempting to recapture Taiz governorate from the al Houthis as part of a northward push toward the al Houthi-held capital of Sana’a.
- Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN said on October 27 that coalition warplanes made a “mistake” when they struck a Médicins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF) hospital in Sa’ada governorate, an al Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen. The ambassador claimed that MSF provided inaccurate coordinates to the Saudi-led coalition, despite the organization’s statement that it regularly shared accurate coordinates with the coalition and that the facility’s roof was clearly marked with the MSF logo. A Saudi-led coalition spokesman had previously denied responsibility for the strike and called for an investigation. UNICEF reported that 29 Yemeni health centers have faced attacks since March.
- Yemeni Vice President and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah published an editorial in the Wall Street Journal on October 27 in support of upcoming UN-led negotiations to resolve the Yemen conflict. Bahah condemned the al Houthis as a “seditious movement” and called for Iran to engage with Yemen’s legitimate government. He also highlighted the rising threat of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) in the current security vacuum.
- Coalition military aircraft reportedly took off from al Anad airbase in Lahij governorate, southern Yemen for the first time since coalition forces reclaimed the base from the al Houthis in August 2015. Emirati military experts and engineers reportedly worked to restore the base, which houses Yemen’s largest military runways.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali National Army (SNA) forces attack al Shabaab militants collecting illegal taxes from local residents near the Bay region’s Dinsor city, on October 27. SNA forces clashed with approximately 30 al Shabaab militants, killing 15 before the rest fled. Military officials said that SNA forces did not sustain any casualties during the clash.
- SNA forces successfully repulsed an attack launched by al Shabaab militants on a military base in Moqokori village, Hiraan region. The attack, which occurred on October 28, led to a clash in which SNA forces killed a number of militants before the remaining al Shabaab members fled. It is unknown whether SNA forces sustained casualties in the attack.
- An unidentified aircraft crashed in al Shabaab-controlled territory near Afgoi town, Lower Shabelle region on October 28. Al Shabaab militants reportedly seized control of the crash site while government forces are being mobilized to reclaim it. This is the second plane to crash near Afgoye in the past two weeks, with a similar incident occurring on October 12 which involved an Egyptian plane rumored to have been carrying AMISOM cargo.