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: Southern Yemenis demonstrate against the Hadi government; political actors begin steps to form southern political council; Hadi government and allied forces seize al Ghayl district in al Jawf governorate; al Houthi-Saleh delegation asks for comprehensive peace plan to resume talks; French-Tunisian Red Cross worker freed after ten months of captivity in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants conduct grenade attack in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Ethiopian AMISOM and SNA forces conduct clearing operation in Elbur town, Hiraan region; infighting among al Shabaab forces kills commander in Show village, Hiraan region; Turkish military base in Mogadishu fully equipped; stampede at Oromo protest in Ethiopia kills 52

Yemen Security Brief

  • Citizens and government employees protested in southern Yemen to express their dissatisfaction with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government from October 2 to October 4. Government and military employees protested unpaid salaries in Lawder city and Jaar district in Abyan governorate and in al Sheikh Uthman, Dar Saad, Khormaksar, and al Mansoura districts in Aden city on October 3 and 4. Power outages lasting up to 20 hours a day also fueled protests. Protesters in al Mahrah governorate in eastern Yemen demonstrated for their right to representation on October 2.[1]
  • A preparatory committee formed to ensure southern Yemeni self-determination outlined its plan to form a southern Yemeni political council on October 2. The committee intends to announce the official formation of a southern political council on October 14th, the 53rd anniversary of South Yemen’s revolt against a British mandate. Exiled leaders from the Southern Movement, which pursues southern Yemeni representation and includes some secessionist elements, are rumored to be returning to Aden to assist with the formation of the council. Multiple governors from southern Yemen announced their support for the formation of a southern political council on September 15.[2]
  • Hadi government and allied forces seized al Ghayl district in southern al Jawf governorate from al Houthi-Saleh forces on October 4. Hadi government and allied forces intensified an offensive on al Ghayl on October 1. The Hadi government offensive in northern Yemen is part of shaping operations for an impending offensive on Sana’a city.[3]
  • An al Houthi-Saleh delegation announced that it will join peace talks if the UN submits a “comprehensive peace plan” in a meeting in Muscat, Oman. The al Houthi-Saleh delegation emphasized that the comprehensive peace plan must address the “future of the Yemeni presidency.” UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has begun preparations for the fourth attempt at peace negotiations to resolve the Yemen crisis. [4]
  • The Sultanate of Oman facilitated the release of Nourane Houas, a French-Tunisian Red Cross worker, from Sana’a on October 3. Militants detained Houas in Sana’a city, which is controlled by the al Houthi-Saleh alliance, for ten months. The Red Cross refused to comment on the identity of the militants that abducted Houas. Suspected al Houthi-Saleh militants abducted Peter Willems, an American teacher, in Sana’a on September 20.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Suspected al Shabaab militants conducted a grenade attack on the Jubbaland Intelligence building in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on October 4. The blast wounded multiple individuals. Security forces detained 150 individuals after the attack.[6]
  • Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces and Somali National Army (SNA) forces conducted clearing operations in Elbur town in Hiraan region on October 3. The security forces arrested two suspected al Shabaab sympathizers. Al Shabaab militants launched mortars at the Ethiopian AMISOM base in El Ali in Hiraan region on October 2.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants clashed with each other in Show village near Beledweyne in Hiraan region on October 3. The militants disagreed over the collection of taxes from the local population. The fighting killed multiple al Shabaab fighters, including a former commander named Mohammed Omar Habib.[8]
  • The Turkish military base in Mogadishu is now fully equipped. The base will host 200 Turkish advisors, who will train 10,000 Somali forces to secure Somalia and fight al Shabaab. Turkey has provided Somalia with military aid and development since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Mogadishu in 2011.[9]
  • A stampede of Oromo protesters killed at least 55 individuals in Bishoftu town in central Ethiopia on October 2. Security forces caused the stampede after firing tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to control the crowd. The majority Oromo ethnic group began protesting the planned expansion of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa into Oromo farmland in late 2015. The protests have since expanded into demands for human rights and economic fairness.[10]
[1] “Lawder residents complain about corruption in the electricity and Relief,” Aden Tomorrow, October 3, 2016,; “Abyan Teachers organize a protest to demand 3 months of salaries,” Aden Tomorrow, October 3,; “Swath of demands are expanding protests in Aden and hundreds take to the streets,” Aden Tomorrow, October 3, 2016,; “Protests government employees in al Sheikh Uthman protesting amid public streets,” Aden Tomorrow, October 4, 2016,; “Protests spread to Dar Saad and citizens cut the main road,” Aden Tomorrow, October 4, 2016,; “Protests and cut the road and burned tires in the Mansoura neighborhood of Aden,” October 4, 2016,; “Citizens complain about power outages .. compared to silence by the government, Aden Tomorrow, October 4, 2016,; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, October 2, 2016,
[2] “Preparatory Committee for the effective October 14 held a meeting to discuss preparations to be effective on October 14,” Aden Tomorrow, October 2, 2016,; and “Southern leaders in exile on the way to Aden,” Aden Tomorrow, October 2, 2016,
[3] “Yemen: liberating the town of Ghayl is the most important stronghold of the putschists in al Jawf,” Aden Tomorrow, October 1, 2016,; and “Defeat the Houthis Jouf pave the way for their loss and other strongholds,” Aden Tomorrow, October 4, 2016,
[4] “Al Houthi-Saleh delegation requires ‘a written solution’ with Yemeni Presidency participation,” al Masdar, October 4,; Demolinari, Twitter, October 4, 2016,; Demolinari, Twitter, October 4, 2016,     
[5] Mohammed Ghobari and Sami Aboudi, “Kidnapped Red Cross worker freed in Yemen and taken to Oman: agency,” Reuters, October 3, 2016,
[6] “Bomb hits Jubbaland State Intelligence HQ in Kismayo,” Shabelle News, October 4, 2016,
[7] “AMISOM and SNA forces Launch Security Operations in Elbur,” Goobjoog News, October 4, 2016,
[8] “Infighting Between Alshabab Leaves One Of Their Commanders Dead In Hiran Region,” Idale News Online, October 3, 2016,
[9] “Somalia lauds Turkey’s role to help Somalia,” Goobjoog News, October 1, 2016,; and “Turkey sets up first African military base in Somalia,” Goobjoog News, October 1, 2016,
[10] “Oromia: Stampede at Ethiopia protest leaves 52 dead,” BBC News, October 3, 2016,; and “Protests hit Ethiopia after stampede deaths,” Reuters, October 3, 2016,
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