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: Al Houthi-Saleh forces fire missile at Emirati ship in Bab al Mandab strait; al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council appoints Abdul Aziz Saleh bin Habtour as Prime Minister; Hadi government and allied forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Sirwah district, Ma’rib governorate; popular resistance forces detonate IED in al Zahar district, al Bayda governorate; militants detonate SVEST in Crater district, Aden city
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab conducts SVBIED attack targeting NISA forces in Mogadishu; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED in Garbaharye, Gedo region; SNA and AMISOM forces raid al Shabaab position near Dinsoor, Bay region; al Shabaab militants fire mortars into Ethiopian AMISOM base in El Ali, Hiraan region
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a missile at an Emirati HSV-2 Swift catamaran in the Bab al Mandab strait on October 1. Saudi-led coalition forces rescued the crew of the catamaran after the vessel was damaged in the attack. The Bab al Mandab strait is a vital shipping lane connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden. The UAE claims the vessel was a civilian ship transporting humanitarian aid supplies to Yemen. An al Houthi-Saleh spokesman insisted it was a military vessel. Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes targeting al Houthi-Saleh ships allegedly responsible for the attack on October 2.
- The al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council (SPC) appointed Abdul Aziz Saleh bin Habtour as the new Prime Minister of Yemen on October 2. Bin Habtour served as the governor of Aden under former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The SPC is attempting to establish a “national salvation” government to rival the internationally recognized government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
- Hadi government and allied forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Sirwah district, Ma’rib governorate on October 3. Hadi government and allied forces claimed to seize the main road connecting Sirwah district to Sana’a city. A Hadi government spokesmen explained that Hadi government and allied forces shifted their focus from Nihm district, north of Sana’a city, to Sirwah district, less than 100 km east of Sana’a city, after facing intense resistance from al Houthi-Saleh forces in Nihm. Hadi government and allied forces seek to secure Sirwah district ahead of an offensive on Sana’a city.
- Hadi government-allied popular resistance forces detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting al Houthi-Saleh positions in al Zahar district, al Bayda governorate on October 1. The explosion killed eight al Houthi-Saleh forces traveling near a gas station on a main road in al Zahar district. This attack follows the Hadi government’s announcement of a new phase of joint military operations to “unify the fighting fronts in the northern regions of Yemen.” The new phase is intended to lay the groundwork for an offensive on Sana’a city. An element of this phase seeks to cut al Houthi-Saleh forces’ supply lines to al Bayda governorate.
- Militants detonated a suicide vest (SVEST) in a public square in Crater district, Aden city on October 1. The bombing killed one civilian and wounded three others. Both the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operate in Aden. ISIS Wilayat Aden-Abyan claimed responsibility for the assassination of two security officers in Aden in late September.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) outside the Blue Sky restaurant in Mogadishu on October 1. Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) forces frequent the restaurant, which is located near NISA’s Godka Jilicow prison The blast killed at least four individuals. An al Shabaab suicide bomber killed a Somali general using an SVBIED in Mogadishu on September 18.
- Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) outside a restaurant in Garbaharye in the Gedo region on October 1. The blast wounded at least four individuals. Al Shabaab has frequently attacked nearby Luuq and Bardhere towns in Gedo region.
- Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces raided an al Shabaab training camp near Dinsoor in Bay region on October 2. The SNA and AMISOM fighters killed multiple al Shabaab militants and recovered a cache of assault rifles, ammunition, and explosive materials before retreating from the area.
- Al Shabaab militants launched mortars at an Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base near El Ali in Hiraan region on October 2. The attack caused unspecified AMISOM casualties. Al Shabaab and AMISOM forces have traded control of El Ali since June 2016.