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: Abdul Malik al Houthi criticizes U.S. during anniversary celebration

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases video of captured Kenyan spies; Kenyan President calls Supreme Court election nullification a coup; Somali Galmudug state supports Gulf rift with Qatar; al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM forces in the Middle Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief 

Al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi criticized the U.S.’s role in Yemen and the Middle East during the third anniversary celebration of the al Houthi-Saleh bloc’s capture of Sana’a city on September 21. Thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in Sana’a city to mark the anniversary. Abdul Malik al Houthi claimed that the U.S. seeks to subjugate Yemen through its Saudi and Emirati proxies. He also claimed the U.S. supports the upcoming Iraqi Kurdistan secessionist referendum as part of a larger strategy to divide the Middle East. Al Houthi-Saleh Major General Mujahid al Quhali called on the UN to put an end to Saudi-led coalition transgressions and stated that negotiations are off the table until the cessation of aggression and lift of the embargo. Multiple al Houthi movement leaders called for cohesion and unity within the al Houthi-Saleh bloc during the September 21 celebration.[1] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab released a video airing the confessions of three captured Kenyan spies on September 18. The alleged spies confessed they were working for the Kenyan Anti Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) and stated that bounties offered on militants are propaganda tools. The video is the 8th episode in the series They are the enemy so beware of them. The last episode of the series featured an al Shabaab militant who claimed to mislead the CIA and Rwandan Intelligence for money on November 20, 2016.[2]

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called the Kenyan Supreme Court’s nullification of the election a coup during a televised address on September 21. The Supreme Court stated it annulled the August 8 election because the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) did not verify the results before announcing them.[3]  

The President of the Galmudug Somali state announced it supports the Saudi-led Gulf rift with Qatar on September 19. The Somali state of Southwest also expressed its support of the Gulf rift on September 18. Four Somali states have announced support for Saudi Arabia, breaking from the Somali Federal Government position of neutrality.[4]

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Burundi African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops in Mahaday town, Middle Shabelle region, central Somalia on September 21, according to the group’s social media channel. Al Shabaab attacked the Burundian AMISOM base in Mahaday four times since September 8. The Beledweyne-Mogadishu highway, an important supply route for the Somali Federal Government, runs through the town of Mahaday.[5] 

[1] “Leader of the Revolution Abdul Malik al Houthi delivers speech on the eve of the third anniversary of the September 21 revolution and the anniversary of the Prophets’ migration,” Al Masirah, September 21, 2017,; “A major rally in commemoration of the third anniversary of the September 21 revolution,” Al Masirah, September 21, 2017,; “Houthi criticizes Saudis, UAE in anniversary speech,” Al Jazeera, September 21, 2017,; and “Houthis celebrate the 3rd anniversary of their domination of Sana’a,” Al Masdar, September 21, 2017,
[2] “Al Shabaab releases video of three Kenyan spies, one relays that bounties on fighters are mere propaganda,” SITE, September 20, 2017, available by subscription at
[3] Geroge Obulutsa, “Kenyan president says Supreme Court election ruling was ‘coup’” Reuters, September 21, 2017,
[4] “Somalia: Galmudug backs Saudi-led alliance in cutting ties with Qatar,” Garowe Online, September 21, 2017,
[5] “Al Shabaab detonates an IED targeting Burundian forces in Mahaday,” Telegram, September 21, 2017.

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