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: President Hadi rejects UN peace proposal; Saudi-led coalition airstrike hits prison in al Hudaydah city; militants detonate SVBIED outside of central bank in Aden city; AQAP accuses ISIS of lying about fighting al Houthi-Saleh forces

Horn of Africa: Pro-ISIS news agency claims ISIS supporter conducted October 27 knife attack on U.S. Embassy in Nairobi; al Shabaab temporarily seizes Goof Gaduud town, Bay region; suspected KDF airstrike targets al Shabaab positions in Maleyda area, Middle Jubba region; suspected al Shabaab militants conduct mortar attack on Hudur town, Bakool region; suspected al Shabaab militants kidnap local elders in Afmadow town, Lower Jubba region

Yemen Security Brief

  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi rejected UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s peace proposal on October 29. The deal, proposed on October 24, would have kept President Hadi in office as a figurehead and shifted powers of the president to a new consensus vice president. President Hadi said the deal would “reward the rebels and penalize the Yemeni people.” Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s proposal also required al Houthi-Saleh forces to transfer heavy and medium weapons to a third party and withdraw from Sana’a. An al Houthi-Saleh delegation called the proposal a good platform for debate but expressed concern that it still overtly favors the Hadi government.[1]
  • Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck multiple buildings at a prison near al Hudaydah city in western al Hudaydah governorate on October 29, killing 60 people. The prison is housed in an al Houthi-Saleh security compound but only prison guards were present during the airstrikes, according to al Houthi-Saleh officials. A Saudi-led coalition spokesman said that al Houthi-Saleh leaders used one of the buildings as a command and control center for military operations.[2]
  • Militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) targeting the Central Bank of Yemen (CBY) in Aden governorate on October 29. The explosion damaged the building and killed nine security personnel, according to local sources. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) have previously targeted government institutions in Aden. Neither group has claimed responsibility for the attack at this time. Security forces raided an IED manufacturing site in al Mansoura district, Aden governorate on October 31, according to local sources.[3]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) spokesman Hossam Umayyad alleged that ISIS’s claim that it fights against al Houthi-Saleh forces is part of “a series of lies and deception.” Umayyad acknowledged that ISIS fought alongside AQAP and local tribal forces for the first time in al Bayda on October 13, but he emphasized that AQAP has been fighting al Houthi-Saleh forces for more than three years. An ISIS-affiliated newspaper reported that ISIS repelled al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate on October 25. AQAP also claimed attacks on al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda and Ibb governorates on October 30. A pro-AQAP social media account disseminated a video of AQAP-affiliated Ansar al Sharia militants repelling an al Houthi-Saleh attack on al A’abal village, Rada’a district, western al Bayda governorate, on October 30.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The pro-ISIS Amaq News Agency claimed that the man who attacked a Kenyan police officer outside the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi on October 27 was a “soldier of the Islamic State.” Security personnel shot and killed the attacker, who wounded one security officer using a knife. Amaq also claimed ISIS-linked groups seized their first town in northern Somalia on October 26 and attacked an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy in Mogadishu on October 28. Only the seizure of Qandala town on October 26 was confirmed by other media sources. [5]
  • Al Shabaab militants temporarily seized Goof Gaduud town in Bay region from Somali National Army (SNA) and Southwest State security forces on October 30. The fighting killed at least five security personnel. Al Shabaab militants destroyed SNA facilities before security forces drove the militants from the town.[6]
  • An airstrike targeted an al Shabaab training camp in Maleyda area of Middle Jubba region on October 30. Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) likely conducted the strike, which killed multiple al Shabaab fighters. KDF forces conducted an airstrike to disrupt an al Shabaab assault on a security base in Ali Hared area in Gedo region on October 28.[7]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants launched mortars into Hudur town in Bakool region on October 30. The attack killed two civilians and wounded several others.[8]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants kidnapped two local elders in Afmadow town in Lower Jubba region on October 29. Al Shabaab routinely targets elders and locals who oppose al Shabaab.[9]
[1] Mohammed Ghobari and Maha El Dahan, “Air strike kills 17 in Yemen, exiled president rejects peace plan,” Reuters, October 29, 2016,; and “National delegation welcomed the paper as a platform for discussion internationalism make observations,” al Masirah, October 30, 2016,
[2] Mohammed Ghobari and Abduljabbar Zeyad, “Saudi-led raid kills 60 at Yemen security site, prison, official says,” October 31, 2016,
[3] Mohammed Mukhashaf and Maha al Dahan, “Bomb-laden car explodes near central bank in Yemen's Aden: sources,” Reuters, October 29, 2016,; Demolinari, Twitter, October 29, 2016,; Demolinari, Twitter, October 29, 2016,; and Demolinari, Twitter, October 31, 2016,   
[4]AQAP accuses ISIS of lying about its history fighting al Houthi-Saleh forces, Twitter and Telegram, October 30, 2016, content available upon request; Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, October 30, 2016, “AQAP Releases Video of Deterring Houthi Advance in Rada'a, Claims Attacks in Abyan, al-Bayda', and Ibb,” SITE, October 31, 2016, available by subscription at
[5] “‘Amaq reports Attack on American Embassy in Kenya,” SITE October 29, 2016, available by subscription at
[6] “Al-Shabaab suspected to have captured town in south west Somalia,” Goobjoog News, October 30, 2016,; and “Somali forces retake a town in Southern Somalia,” Goobjoog News, October 31, 2016,
[7] “Suspected KDF jets bomb Al-shabab camp in Somalia,” Shabelle News, October 30, 2016,
[8] “Two killed in motor shell attack in Southern Somalia,” Goobjoog News, October 31, 2016,
[9] “Al shabaab accused of abducting elder in Somalia,” Shabelle News, October 31, 2016,  
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