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: Aden governor calls for southern Yemeni political council; al Houthi-Saleh forces seize positions in al Khoba district, Jazan region, southern Saudi Arabia; Hadi government and allied forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Kirsh district, Lahij governorate; al Houthi-Saleh delegation meets with U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs to review ceasefire proposal; Hadi government official outlines military plan to retake Sana’a
Horn of Africa: SNA and AMISOM forces kill al Shabaab commander in Awdhegle town, Lower Shabelle region; Jubbaland security forces to expel wives of former al Shabaab militants; al Shabaab militants continue to operate in Marka town, Lower Shabelle region; AU Military Operations Coordination Committee discusses Somali election security
Yemen Security Brief
- The governor of Aden, Aydarus Qasim al Zubaydi, proposed the formation of a new political council in southern Yemen in a meeting with the governors of Abyan, Lahij, and al Dhaleh governorates on September 15. Governor al Zubaydi argued that southern Yemen needs an organization to unite its voice and face the “new reality” produced by the al Houthi-Saleh uprising. Governor al Zubaydi emphasized that this new political council will work with the Saudi-led coalition, local security forces, and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government. Governor al Zubaydi called for increased cooperation with Shabwah, Hadramawt, al Mahrah, and Socotra governorates. The leadership of the Southern Socialist Party and academics from the University of Aden expressed support for the formation of a new political council in southern Yemen.
- Al Houthi-Saleh forces seized positions from Saudi border guards in al Khoba district, Jazan region, southern Saudi Arabia on September 14. A spokesman for the Saudi military announced it repelled the attack and denied any claims that al Houthi-Saleh forces seized territory within Saudi Arabia. Al Houthi-Saleh media released a video of al Houthi-Saleh forces seizing a small base from Saudi troops, purportedly in al Khoba.
- Hadi government and allied forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Kirsh district, near the Lahij-Taiz border on September 16. A field commander for the Hadi forces announced that Hadi government and allied forces advanced farther than previous efforts in the current offensive on Kirsh, which began on September 9.
- An al Houthi-Saleh delegation met with U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon in Muscat, Oman, to review a ceasefire proposal for Yemen on September 15. The al Houthi-Saleh delegation reiterated its support for renewed peace talks if the Saudi-led coalition agrees to a complete ceasefire. The Saudi-led coalition, which controls Yemen’s airspace, will allow the al Houthi-Saleh delegation to return to Sana’a for the first time since the collapse of peace talks on August 6.
- President Hadi’s Deputy Chief Major General, Nasser Abdu Rabbu Abdullah Nasser al Taheri, explained on September 15 that the ongoing operations in Ma’rib, Sana’a, al Jawf, and Lahij governorates are part of shaping operations for an offensive on Sana’a city. Tahiri’s statement confirms a previously unconfirmed September 14 report that revealed that Hadi government intends to encircle Sana’a and cut off its supply routes rather than launch a direct assault on the city. The September 14 also included al Bayda and Hajjah governorates in the planned shaping operations.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces raided an al Shabaab training camp in Awdhegle town in Lower Shabelle region on September 15. The coalition forces killed the al Shabaab commander of Awdhegle and seized weapons and munitions. Somali Special Operations Forces (SOF) from the U.S.-trained Danab unit carried out a raid on the Awdhegle training camp on June 25.
- Jubbaland security officials are attempting to expel the wives of former al Shabaab militants from the Jubbaland state. Officials accused the women of funneling money and intelligence to their husbands. Security officials in Kenya also arrested Haniya Saggar, the wife of deceased Kenyan cleric Sheikh Aboud Rogo, for her links to the three female militants who attacked a Mombasa police station on September 11. Rogo funded al Shabaab and was linked to the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
- Officials from Marka town, a strategically important port city in the Lower Shabelle region, indicated that al Shabaab elements are still operating from within the city. Somali National Army (SNA) forces and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces have clashed with al Shabaab for control of the city since early 2016.
- The African Union (AU) Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) met in Djibouti on September 16 to discuss security for Somalia’s upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, which are slated to begin on September 24. Al Shabaab may be planning a wave of attacks in central and southern Somalia to coincide with the electoral process.