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 political leader dismisses Saleh loyalists from political positions; reported U.S. airstrikes kill AQAP militants in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; Shabwah police arrests three AQAP militants in Ataq city, Shabwah governorate; AQAP militants attack al Houthi-Saleh forces in Rada’a district, al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; Emirati troops die in Yemen
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants capture SNA base in Gedo Region, southern Somalia; NASA MPs boycott first session of Kenya’s Parliament; al Shabaab militants target Hiran region government employees; al Shabaab militants shell Mogadishu Stadium
Yemen Security Brief
Al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council president Saleh al Samad, a member of Ansar Allah, dismissed a number of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh loyalists from leadership positions in government institutions and appointed al Houthi movement loyalists on September 9. Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party criticized the announcement as a unilateral decision aimed to disrupt their partnership. Current tensions stem from al Houthi supporters clashing with Saleh loyalists on August 24 and the lack of rapprochement between each faction’s leadership.
Three reported U.S. airstrikes targeted suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Quraydah area, al Sawma district, al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on September 9. Reported U.S. airstrikes last targeted AQAP militants in Yakal area, northwestern governorate on August 19.
Shabwah police arrested three members of an AQAP cell and its leader in city, Shabwah governorate on September 10, according to the director of the police force. Shabwah Police believe the cell was responsible for a deadly attack on soldiers in Rudum district, governorate in January and planned to assassinate local leaders. Security forces are still searching for remaining members of the cell. U.S. and Emirati Special Operations Forces backed a Yemeni operation to establish security in major population areas in Shabwah governorate on August 3.
AQAP militants attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in the al Zaharah area, northwestern al Bayda governorate on September 8. AQAP frames its attacks on al Houthi-Saleh militants as in defense of Yemen’s Sunni against Shia invaders.
An Emirati pilot died in a plane crash caused by technical malfunctions on September 11, according to a state-run Emirati news station. Another Emirati soldier died in a separate incident after sustaining injuries in Yemen. UAE Armed Forces participate in the Saudi-led coalition against the al Houthi-Saleh movement and train security forces in southern and eastern Yemen.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
Al Shabaab militants captured a Somali National Army (SNA) base and freed 35 prisoners in Beled Hawo, Gedo Region, southern Somalia on September 11. Over one hundred eighty Somali soldiers fled the base into Kenya following the attack. An important trade route that supplies the Somali Federal Government runs through the town of into Kenya.
National Super Alliance (NASA) members of the Kenyan Parliament vowed to boycott the first session of Parliament on September 12. The Supreme Court of Kenya ruled the August 8 election invalid after NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga challenged its authenticity. NASA MPs stated the majority Jubilee party does not have the authority to call parliament in session until the new elections take place.
Al Shabaab militants detonated a suicide vest (SVEST) targeting the Hiraan region governor’s headquarters in Beledweyne, Hiraan region, central Somalia on September 10. The attack targeted Ethiopia and Mogadishu, the capital of the Somali Federal Government.administration employees, according to al Shabaab spokesperson Abdiasis Abu Musab. The city of lies on a major road and trade route between
Al Shabaab militants shelled Mogadishu Stadium in African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) force use the stadium as a military base. The stadium hosted Somalia’s first night soccer game in thirty years on September 8 after the world soccer governing organization, FIFA, finished renovations on the stadium to raise morale and public support of the Somali Federal Government., Banadir region, southern Somalia on September 10.
 “In which the Houthis have their cadres, the Saleh party rejects Political Council decision,” Al Masdar, September 10, 2017, http://almasdaronline.com/article/93873; “Amid differences between them, Houthis oust loyal leaders in favor of some institutions,” Al Masdar, September 10, 2017, http://almasdaronline.com/article/93869; “The President of the Supreme Political Council issues a number of decisions,” Saba News, September 9, 2017, http://www.saba.ye/ar/news473866.htm; and “An extraordinary meeting of the General Committee and representatives of the Conference and its political, government and parliamentary representatives,” Al Motamar, September 11, 2017, http://www.almotamar.net/news/139390.htm.
 “Five suspected al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen drone strikes,” Reuters, September 9, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-drones/five-suspected-al-qaeda-militants-killed-in-yemen-drone-strikes-idUSKCN1BK0OA; and “US raids targeting al Qaeda militants in al Bayda, killing and wounding at least seven,” Al Masdar, September 9, 2017, http://almasdaronline.com/article/93850.
 “Shabwa police arrest terror cell plotting assassinations,” Saba New, September 10, 2017, http://www.sabanew.net/viewstory.php?id=22152; “Security Director of Shabwa announces the arrest of a terrorist cell led by Abu Hudeyfah,” Aden Lang, September 10, 2017, http://adnlng.com/news/77524/; Shabwa police arrest al Qaeda cell that was planning to assassinate state leaders,” Al Masdar, September 11, 2017, http://almasdaronline.com/article/93884; and “Thousands of Yemeni forces target Qaeda stronghold,” New York Times, August 6, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/06/world/middleeast/yemen-qaeda-shabwa-province.html?mcubz=1.
 AQAP claims to target Houthi forces, Telegram, September 8, 2017.
 “General Command of Armed Forces announces martyrdom of Second-Lieutenant Pilot Sultan Mohamed Ali Al Naqbi in Yemen,” WAM Emirates News Agency, September 11, 2017, http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302631702; and “General Command of UAE Armed Forces announces martyrdom of serviceman in Yemen,” WAM Emirates News Agency, September 11, 2017, http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302631656.
 “Several dead as al Shabaab storms Somali border town,” Al Jezeera, September 11, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/dead-al-shabab-storms-somalia-border-town-170911055926717.html; “Shabaab claims killing 30 SNA soldiers, freeing 35 prisoners in suicide bombing and raid in Beled Hawa,” SITE, September 8, 2017, available by subscription at ent.siteintelgroup.com; and “Al-Shabab fighters storm military base in Somalia,” BBC, September 11, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-41225834.
 “Shabaab claims killing 30 SNA soldiers, freeing 35 prisoners in suicide bombing and raid in Beled Hawa,” SITE, September 8, 2017, available by subscription at ent.siteintelgroup.com; and Rene Otinga, “NASA MPs vow to skip Uhuru's first sitting in parliament,” Tuko, September 11, 2017, https://www.tuko.co.ke/251691-nasa-mps-vow-skip-uhurus-sitting-parliament.html.
 “Suicide bomber kills 6 in central Somalia,” Al Jazeera, September 10, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/suicide-bomber-kills-6-central-somalia-170910111337738.html; and “Shabaab claims killing 30 SNA soldiers, freeing 35 prisoners in suicide bombing and raid in Beled Hawa,” SITE, September 8, 2017, available by subscription at ent.siteintelgroup.com.
 “In Somalia's 'City of Danger,' Hope Takes Shape of Nighttime Soccer Game,” VOA, September 9, 2017, https://www.voanews.com/a/somalia-city-of-danger-hope-takes-shape-nighttime-soccer-game/4022082.html; and “Shabaab claims killing 30 SNA soldiers, freeing 35 prisoners in suicide bombing and raid in Beled Hawa,” SITE, September 8, 2017, available by subscription at ent.siteintelgroup.com