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: Reported U.S. airstrike targets AQAP in Rada’a district, al Bayda governorate; AQAP militants attack security forces in al ‘Ayn city, Abyan governorate; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target alleged al Houthi-Saleh missile factory in Sana’a city; Hadi government forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Kirsh district, Lahij governorate

Horn of Africa: IGAD summit ends without progress; Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to attend conference on Hiraan-Middle Shabelle state formation in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region; al Shabaab militant kills his commander in El Garas village, Galgudud region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Reported U.S. airstrikes targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Rada’a district, al Bayda governorate on September 14. The AQAP militants were traveling from Ma’rib governorate to al Bayda governorate. U.S. Central Command confirmed a series of airstrikes targeting AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate on September 6.[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked security forces allied with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government with small arms fire in al ‘Ayn city, Abyan governorate on September 14. AQAP militants killed two Hizam security forces after approaching a checkpoint dressed in military uniforms.[2]
  • Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted a factory in Sana’a city on September 14. A spokesman for the coalition announced that the factory produced tubing used by al Houthi-Saleh forces to build missiles. The Alsonidar Group, which owns the factory, refuted this claim and stated that the factory was used to make water pumps for Italian water company Caprari. Caprari corroborated Alsonidar’s statement. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes also targeted al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Kharaf camp in Saraf area, eastern Sana’a city. The Saudi-led coalition announced a new operational phase to intensify strikes targeting al Houthi-Saleh actors and sites responsible for cross-border attacks on September 7.[3]
  • Hadi government and allied forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Kirsh district, near the Lahij-Taiz border, on September 13. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to repel the attack in Kirsh district. Hadi government and allied forces claimed to seize al Houthi-Saleh positions in the al Qamah Mountains in Kirsh district.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit concluded in Mogadishu on September 13 without progress. East African heads of state voiced concerns with the insecurity in South Sudan and emphasized the importance of the upcoming Somali elections but produced no significant agreements. Members announced plans for a summit on the reintegration of Somali refugees. Somalia also agreed to lift its temporary ban on Kenyan planes importing qat, a leafy stimulant popular in the Gulf of Aden region.[5]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is expected to attend a conference on the formation of the Hiraan-Middle Shabelle state in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on September 14. Leaders from both regions have failed to reach an agreement to determine representation in the upcoming lower house elections, scheduled to begin on September 24.[6]
  • An al Shabaab militant killed his commander in El Garas village in Galgudud region on September 14. Farah Ali Rage served as al Shabaab’s commander for the El Garas area.[7]
[1] “5 al-Qaeda operatives killed by US drone in Yemen,” The Hindu, September 14, 2016,
[2] “Two soldiers killed in an armed attack on a checkpoint in Abyan,” al Masdar, September 14, 2016,
[3] “Coalition bombed a factory for the production of homemade rockets at Sanaa,” Barakish, September 14, 2016,; and Mohammed Ghobari and Crispian Balmer, “Coalition hits Yemen factory but businessmen deny alleged war role,” Reuters, September 14, 2016,; and “Series of attacks targeting National Security Camps east of the capital of Sana’a,” Barakish, September 14, 2016,  
[4] “Killing and wounding a number of mercenaries to break the advance in Lahij,” al Masirah, September 14, 2016,; and “Army and resistance are making a new military gains in Kirsh,” Aden Times, September 14, 2016,
[5] “Somalia lifts ban on Kenya miraa exports,” Shabelle News, September 13, 2016,; “IGAD members renew commitment to support Somalia,” Shabelle News, September 14, 2016,; and “Sustain stabalization efforts in Somalia, Uhuru urges IGAD,” Shabelle News, September 14, 2016,
[6] “President Hassan Sheikh Expected in Jowhar,” Goobjoog News, September 14, 2016,
[7] “Senior Al-Shabaab commander killed by fellow fighter,” Goobjoog News, September 14, 2016,  
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