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 draft blacklist continues to name Saudi-led coalition; Saudi-led coalition airstrike kills 12 civilians in Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen; Emirati-backed forces secure road connecting eastern Yemen governorates; AQAP spokesman Batarfi warns unbelievers to repent

Horn of Africa: Saudi Arabia pledges $50 million to Somalia; ISIS attacks police officer and civilians in Puntland

Yemen Security Brief

An updated draft of the UN child blacklist continues to include the Saudi-led coalition for killing and maiming children in Yemen, according to a October 4 Reuters report. The UN added the coalition to a sublist of actors that took steps to improve the protection of children, however. The blacklist also named al Houthi-Saleh forces, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government forces, Hadi government-aligned forces, and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres must approve the final report and has the authority to make changes.[1]

Reported Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed twelve civilians, including four children, in a house in Baqim district, Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen on October 4. Sa’ada governorate, the historic stronghold of the al Houthi movement, is near the Saudi-Yemeni border.[2]

Emirati-backed Shabwani Elite Forces established 12 checkpoints along a highway connecting northern Ataq city, Ataq district, Shabwah governorate to al Abr junction, al Abr district, Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen on October 3. Al Abr junction joins roads leading north to Saudi Arabia, west to Ma’rib governorate, and east to Hadramawt.[3]

AQAP senior spokesman Khaled Saeed Batarfi warned unbelievers that they will face apocalyptic events if they do not repent on October 4. The video is the 20th installment of Batarfi’s series Stories of the Prophets, which aims to spread AQAP’s ideology to Sunni populations worldwide.[4] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Saudi Arabia pledged $50 million in additional aid to Somalia on October 3. Somali President Mohamed Farmajo discussed Somali ties with Saudi Arabia during a state visit on September 27-28. A senior Somali official stated the Somali Federal Government (SFG) will remain neutral towards Qatar in the gulf rift despite the new aid. The SFG has maintained neutrality because it relies on aid from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Qatar’s ally Turkey. Turkey opened its largest foreign military base designed to train over 10,000 Somali National Army (SNA) troops on September 30.[5]  

Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) militants attacked a police colonel and two civilians in Bosasso, Puntland, northern Somalia on October 3, according to ISIS’s social media account. ISIS captured the town of Qandala, Bari region, Puntland, northern Somalia in October 2016 and has launched sporadic attacks in Bosasso since February 2017.[6] 


[1] Michelle Nichols, “Draft U.N. blacklist names Saudi coalition for killing children in Yemen,” Reuters, October 3, 2017,
[2] “Civilians killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrike,” Al Masirah, October 4, 2017,; “12 citizens killed in Sa’ada,” Al Motamar, October 4, 2017,; and “Saudi-led coalition airstrikes kill 12 civilians,” Saba News, October 4, 2017,
[3] “Shabwani Elite Forces make stable, secure and safe route for travelers, and we feel safe and secure,” Aden Tomorrow, October 3, 2017,; Demolinari, Twitter, October 3, 2017,; and “For the first time, Shabwani Elite believe the al Abr line,” Al Yaman Al Araby, October 4, 2017,
[4] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, October 4, 2017,; and “New Batarfi Stories of the Prophet video,” Telegram, October 4, 2017.
[5] Abdi Sheikh, “Somalia gets new Saudi aid but stays neutral in Gulf crisis,” Reuters, October 3, 2017,
[6] “Islamic State kill one, injure two in Somalia's Puntland,” Reuters, October 3, 2017,; and Caleb Weiss, “Islamic State claims suicide bombing in Somalia,” Long War Journel, May 25, 2017,

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