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: Saudi military thwarts al Houthi attack on Saudi-Yemeni border; UAE attempts to remove Saleh as GPC chairman; President Hadi plans to visit Ma’rib; pro-Hadi forces enter Mokha district; popular resistance intercepts car full of explosives in al Dhaleh

Horn of Africa: KDF officials say Operation “Linda Boni Forest” is successful; SNA forces will begin security operations in Elbur, Galgaduud region; Somali government released two arrested journalists

Yemen Security Brief

  • Saudi forces reportedly thwarted an attempt by al Houthi militias to penetrate Saudi territory near al Khoba, Jazan province on October 8. Saudi and al Houthi forces exchanged artillery fire across the Saudi-Yemeni border. Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition bombed al Houthi military sites and residential areas in the northern Yemeni governorate of Sa’ada. This escalation along the Saudi-Yemeni border comes five days after Mohammed Ali al Houthi, the chairman of the al Houthi Revolutionary Committee, announced that the al Houthis planned to attack Saudi territory rather than attempt to reclaim Aden.[1]
  • The United Arab Emirates offered to safeguard former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s exile to Ethiopia if Saleh agrees to cede the leadership of the General People’s Congress (GPC) to his son Ahmed. An anti-GPC faction reportedly partnered with the UAE in an attempt to oust Saleh. Militias loyal to Saleh have supported the al Houthis against President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government. A GPC delegation officially agreed to a UN peace plan on October 6. Reporters affiliated with Saleh announced that he will address the GPC’s role in the Yemen conflict during an interview with Lebanon-based al Mayadeen news in the coming days.[2]
  • President Hadi will reportedly visit Ma’rib governorate next week. Pro-Hadi forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition are fighting al Houthi militias for control of the central Yemeni governorate, which borders the al Houthi-held capital, Sana’a. Arab coalition forces maintain a base in eastern Ma’rib.[3]
  • Popular resistance and Yemeni army forces entered Mokha district in Taiz governorate. Pro-Hadi forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition have pushed northward through Taiz since securing the Bab al Mandeb strait on September 30.  Coalition air and naval forces began bombing Mokha this week in preparation for a ground attack on the al Houthi-held port city.[4]
  • Popular resistance forces intercepted a car loaded with explosives and detonators in al Dhaleh governorate on October 8. The car was reportedly traveling south from Sana’a towards Aden. The car’s driver and three passengers have not been identified.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) officials announced on October 7 that militants from al Shabaab’s Jeysh Ayman cell have been pushed out of Kenya’s Boni Forest region as a result of a joint military and police operation referred to as “Linda Boni Forest.” The officials stated that their forces were able to capture and destroy the hideouts used by the militants and that their presence has since been cleared from the region. The operation, which began a month ago on September 6, will continue with a focus on increasing security and infrastructure development in order to dissuade citizens from joining the militant group in the future. It should be noted however that KDF sources believe the remaining militants fled by crossing the Somali border.[6]
  • Somali National Army forces will begin conducting preemptive operations against al Shabaab militants in and around Elbur, in the Galgaduud region. The operations are meant to prevent militants from gaining a foothold in the Galgaduud region. Galgaduud’s security situation is currently fragile because many al Shabaab militants have fled into the region from the neighboring Hiraan region as a result of AMISOM and SNA efforts.[7]
  • The Somali government released two journalists who were arrested by the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) in Mogadishu on October 2. The journalists were arrested after the television station they are employed by aired a debate which criticized the Somali government for incompetence. The journalists were released on October 7 after being held for six days, although the television station they work for remains closed.[8] 
[1] “Saudi Arabia frustrates a large operation to penetrate its border with Yemen,”, October 9, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Civilians killed in coalition bombings in Sa’ada and the Saudi army shells Razih,” Al Masdar, October 8, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[2] “UAE offers Saleh's departure to Ethiopia in exchange for enabling his son Ahmed to lead the GPC,” Al Masdar, October 8, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Saleh reiterates views on al Mayadeen,” Almashhad Alyemeni, October 8, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[3] “Ma’rib is the first northern governorate that Hadi will visit in 48 hours,”, October 9, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[4] Mohammed Albasha, Twitter, October 8, 2015. Available:
Mohammed Albasha, Twitter, October 5, 2015. Available:
[5] “The popular resistance stops a car bomb from entering Aden,” Barakish, October 9, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[6] Calvin Onsarigo, “KDF takes over Boni Forest in big operation,” The Star, October 9, 2015. Available:
Shmuel Yosef Agnon, “KDF’s “Operation Linda Boni Forest” enters fourth week: Gains and successes,” Intelligence Briefs, October 9, 2015. Available:
Philip Mwakio and Hassan Barisa, “Residents flee Boni Forest as anti-al Shabaab operation begins,” Standard Digital Media, September 7, 2015. Available:
[7] “Govt troops to weed out al Shabaab militant villages near Elbur town,” Shabelle News, October 9, 2015. Available:
[8] “Somalia: Government releases 2 detained journalists from jail,” Horseed Media, October 7, 2015. Available:
“Somali journalist arrests condemned: rights group,” AFP, October 6, 2015. Available: 
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