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 alliance agrees to UN-proposed ceasefire; reported U.S. airstrike targets AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate; protesters call for removal of Abyan governor; U.S. Department of State updates travel warning for Yemen

Horn of Africa: Puntland and Galmudug security forces clash in Galkayo town, Mudug region; al Shabaab spokesman promises more attacks targeting Kenyans; al Shabaab militants conduct IED attack targeting AMISOM convoy in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • The al Houthis and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to a provisional 72-hour ceasefire proposed by UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. Ould Cheikh Ahmed proposed the ceasefire at a meeting in Muscat, Oman this week. He is expected to announce a humanitarian ceasefire, which includes the cessation of airstrikes and cross-border attacks, within the next two days. Peace talks are expected to resume in the second half of October. Negotiations will include the formation of a national unity government and the appointment of a consensus vice president. A pro-al Houthi-Saleh source reported that negotiations will also include the presidency.[1]
  • A reported U.S. airstrike targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Watah area, Shabwah governorate on October 6. The militants were traveling on a road leading to Nisab district. Locals claim that the men hit by the U.S. strike were not AQAP members. The U.S. last conducted airstrikes targeting AQAP militants in Shabwah on August 30.[2]
  • Protesters called for the removal of the governor of Abyan in Zinjibar city on October 7. Protesters burned images of the governor while chanting slogans for his removal. Demonstrators have been protesting months of unpaid government wages and failing government services since October 2.[3]
  • The U.S. Department of State updated its Travel Warning in response to the detention of U.S. citizens by armed groups in Sana’a. Al Houthi-Saleh forces abducted Peter Willems, the director of the English-language Exceed Language Center in Sana’a, on September 20. The State Department’s announcement also warned citizens of threats from the ongoing ground conflict and air campaign, as well as violent extremist groups including al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS). The announcement also called for heightened alert for vessels in the Red Sea, Bab al Mandab Strait, and the Gulf of Aden following the October 1 al Houthi-Saleh missile attack on an Emirati vessel. U.S. civil aviation remains prohibited from flying in the vicinity of Sana’a.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Puntland state security forces clashed with Galmudug security forces in Galkayo town in Mudug region on October 7. The clashes killed at least six security forces and displaced hundreds of civilians. Puntland administers the northern neighborhoods of Galkayo, while Galmudug state administers the southern areas. Galmudug officials accused Puntland intelligence forces of providing the U.S. with faulty intelligence that led to an airstrike that killed 22 Galmudug Security personnel on September 28. The U.S. rejects the charge, claiming the September 28 strike killed nine al Shabaab militants.[5]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage promised continued attacks on Kenyan targets in return for Kenya’s troop contributions to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Al Shabaab killed six civilians in Mandera County, Kenya on October 6.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an AMISOM convoy traveling through Mogadishu on October 7. The blast destroyed one AMISOM vehicle.[7]
[1] Zakaria al Kamaali and Mubarak Mohamed, “Houthis, allies agree in principle to 3-day Yemen truce,” Anadolu Agency, October 7, 2016,; “Ould Cheikh from Muscat to Riyadh,” Barakish, October 7, 2016,; “Yemen: The Muscat process,” National Yemen, October 7, 2016,; and Mohammed Basha, Twitter, October 6, 2016,
[2] Demolinari, Twitter, October 6, 2016,; Abonashmi7, Twitter, October 6, 2016,; and “Yemeni who baught a car from an "al Qaeda" was the target of a drone (Details),” BU Yemen, October 6, 2016,
[3] “Protest rally in Zanzibar demanding the departure of the governor of Abyan and the Director General of the Directorate,” Aden Tomorrow, October 7, 2016,
[4] “Yemen travel warning,” U.S. Department of State, October 6, 2016,
[5] “Somalia: Heavy fighting erupts in Galkayo town,” Shabelle News, October 7, 2016,; and “Six killed in clash between Galmudug and Puntland forces in Galkaayo,” Goobjoog News, October 7, 2016,
[6] “Al Shabaab threatens more attacks in Kenya,” Shabelle News, October 7, 2016,
[7] “Bomb targets AMISOM convoy in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, October 7, 2016,
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