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: U.S. Central Command confirms airstrike targeting AQAP militants in al Bayda governorate; Hadi government and allied forces announce offensive on Sa’ada governorate; al Houthi-Saleh delegation hardens conditions for peace talks; al Houthi-Saleh forces attack Saudi border guards in Jazan region; Saudi-led coalition conducts multiple airstrikes in northern Yemen; President Hadi meets with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs

Horn of Africa: SNA forces kill 14 al Shabaab militants in K50 area, Lower Shabelle region; AMISOM forces accidentally kill seven civilians in Janale town, Lower Shabelle region; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate car bomb in Wadijar district, Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants fire mortars targeting Djiboutian AMISOM forces in Beledweyne, Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. Central Command confirmed a September 29 airstrike that targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in al Bayda governorate in an October 4 announcement. The U.S. struck AQAP leadership in Rada’a district, western al Bayda governorate. Confirmed U.S. airstrikes last targeted AQAP leadership in al Sawma in eastern al Bayda on September 22.[1]
  • Hadi government and allied forces announced plans for an offensive on Sa’ada governorate, an al Houthi-Saleh stronghold in northern Yemen. The major general of the Sixth Military District, who is responsible for operations in al Jawf and Sa’ada governorates, announced that he received presidential directives to prepare for an offensive on Sa’ada following the seizure of al Ghayl district in neighboring al Jawf governorate on October 4. Major General Amin Abdullah Hamed al Wa'ili called on al Houthi-Saleh forces in Sa’ada to lay down their arms before the offensive begins.[2]
  • The al Houthi-Saleh alliance hardened its conditions for peace negotiations by demanding the removal of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on October 4. The al Houthi-Saleh delegation called for a proposal that includes a plan for a “new presidential institution” before UN-led negotiations resume.[3]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched Katyusha rockets targeting Saudi military positions in al Tuwal area, Jazan region, southern Saudi Arabia. Al Houthi-Saleh forces launched a ground attack on al Tuwal after shelling the area. Saudi border guards repelled the al Houthi-Saleh attack, according to a Saudi military spokesman. Al Houthi-Saleh media claimed that al Houthi-Saleh artillery struck Saudi military positions.[4]
  • The Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes targeting al Houthi-Saleh positions in al Hudaydah, Sana’a, Ma’rib, Sa’ada, Hajjah, al Jawf, and Taiz governorates between October 4 and 5. The Saudi-led coalition continues to support Hadi government shaping operations in preparation for an offensive on Sana’a city.[5]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi met with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien to discuss Yemen’s humanitarian situation in Riyadh on October 5.  President Hadi claimed al Houthi-Saleh forces “continue to prevent food, medicine, and aid for Taiz, al Bayda, al Hudaydah, and other beleaguered governorates.” Under-Secretary-General O’Brien emphasized the UN’s commitment to “providing assistance in accordance with [humanitarian] needs.” Saudi-led coalition’s blockade on Yemeni ports has contributed to the severe malnourishment of approximately 370,000 Yemeni children. President Hadi’s relocation of the Central Bank from Sana’a to Aden on September 18 increased poverty and exacerbated food shortages in al Houthi-Saleh territory.[6]   

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali National Army (SNA) forces killed 14 al Shabaab militants during an overnight raid in the K50 area of Lower Shabelle region on October 4. The SNA forces recovered a weapons cache and killed one al Shabaab commander.[7]
  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces inadvertently killed seven civilians in Janale town in the Lower Shabelle region on October 4. The AMISOM forces fired mortars into the village as part of an operation to retake the town from al Shabaab. Al Shabaab launched a complex attack on Ugandan AMISOM forces stationed in Janale in September 2015 that killed approximately 20 AMISOM forces.[8]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated a car bomb in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu on October 4. The blast injured activist and university professor Abdiwali Badi and three others. The device detonated as Badi exited the vehicle to fix a flat tire.[9]
  • Al Shabaab militants fired mortars at Djiboutian AMISOM forces in Beledweyne in Hiraan region on October 4. No casualties were reported. Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Djiboutian AMISOM convoy near Beledweyne on August 23.[10]


[1] Eric Beech, “U.S. says strike in Yemen last week killed al Qaeda militant, wounded another,” Reuters, October 4, 2016,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” Critical Threats, September 30, 2016,
[2] “Preparations for the Liberation of Sa’ada and the cleanse of a strategic mountain,” Aden tomorrow, October 5, 2016,
[3] Mohammed Ghobari, Hadeel Al Sayegh, and Sami Aboudi, “Yemen's Houthis voice conditions for possible peace talks,” Reuters, October 4, 2016,
[4] “Saudi forces repel attack and bomb the coup on the border,” Aden tomorrow, October 5, 2016,; “Strike gatherings of military personnel in Saudi Jazan and Najran,” al Masirah, October 5, 2016,; and “Resident injured after being hit by Houthi projectiles in Jazan,” Barakish, October 5, 2016,
[5] “Coalition bombed a radar station for al Hudaydah,” Aden Times, October 5, 2016,; and “Violent raids targeted sites in Sana’a capital,” al Masdar, October 5, 2016; and “Killed Abdul Khaliq al Houthi and 6 technicians in missiles and explosives from the Saudi coalition,” Yemen Press, October 5, 2016,; “Saudi Coalition launch airstrikes on a number of governorates,” al Motamar, October 4, 2016; and “Raids targeting the convoy of tribal leader in al Jawf and casualties,” al Montasaf, October 4, 2016,      
[6] “New famine fears loom in Yemen,” Reuters, October 5, 2016; and “Yemen: ‘Devastating’ to see malnourished children,” al Jazeera October 4, 2016,; and “Hadi meets UN Under-Secretary General to discuss the humanitarian situation in Yemen,” al Masdar, October 5, 2016,
[7] “Senior Al-Shabaab commander killed in Southern Somalia,” Goobjoog News, October 5, 2016,; and “Somalia: 14 al-Shabaab fighters killed in battle,” Shabelle News, October 5, 2016,
[8] Seven civilians killed as AMISOM allegedly launches attacks against al Shabaab in Janaale,” Goobjoog News, October 5, 2016,; and AMISOM shelling kills 5 civilians near Janale town,” Shabelle News, October 5, 2016,
[9] “Four People Injured After Bomb Went off on Busy Street in Somali Capital- Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, October 4, 2016,
[10] “Al-Shabaab fires motor shells on AMISOM base in Baladweyen,” Goobjoog News, October 4, 2016,
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