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 militants in al Bayda governorate; foreign ministers at UNGA call for cessation of hostilities in Yemen; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target presidential palace in western al Hudaydah governorate; Hadi government and allied forces encircle al Houthi-Saleh fighters in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate; Hadi government and allied forces repel al Houthi-Saleh attack in Kirsh district, northern Lahij governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack Kenyan police station in Hamey, Garissa County; FIEIT announces possible second delay to election timetable amid bans on election coverage; elders from Hiraan region push for independent Hiraan state

Yemen Security Brief

  • A reported U.S. airstrike targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants near al Sawr area in al Sawma district, al Bayda governorate on September 22. The strike killed two AQAP militants, according to local sources. Al Sawma district is located near the border between al Bayda and Abyan governorates.  AQAP militants attacked security forces in northern Abyan between September 14 and 16. A reported U.S. airstrike also targeted AQAP militants near Ma’rib city on September 21.[1]
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with foreign ministers from the UK, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, as well as the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City on September 21. The foreign ministers reiterated their support for the Special Envoy’s peace plan based on the 2011 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative. They jointly called on all belligerents to cease hostilities, including cross-border attacks on southern Saudi Arabia, to allow peace talks to resume. The foreign ministers denounced unilateral action in Sana’a, in reference to the formation of the al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council (SPC) as a rival the internationally recognized government led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.  The foreign ministers also expressed concern regarding “recent developments” surrounding Yemen’s central bank. President Hadi relocated the central bank from Sana’a to Aden on September 18 after accusing the al Houthi-Saleh alliance of using its assets to fund their forces.[2]
  • Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi-Saleh leadership at a presidential palace in al Hudaydah city, western al Hudaydah governorate on September 21. The coalition also struck residential areas al Hudaydah, killing 26 civilians and wounding 60 others. The Saudi-led coalition intensified its air campaign targeting al Houthi-Saleh leaders, members, military sites, and leaders’ home cities on September 7.[3]
  • Forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and allied forces encircled al Houthi-Saleh positions in Sirwah district, western Ma’rib governorate on September 22. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted several al Houthi-Saleh positions in Sirwah district. Hadi government and allied forces disrupted a supply line to al Houthi-Saleh forces near Mount Whelan in Sirwah district on September 10. These attacks are part of shaping operations for an impending offensive on Sana’a.[4]
  • Hadi government and allied forces repelled an al Houthi-Saleh attack in al Tabba al Hamra, Kirsh district, northern Lahij governorate, on September 22. Al Houthi-Saleh forces have attempted to retake al Tabba al Hamra multiple times since Hadi government and allied forces seized it on September 10. Al Tabba al Hamra overlooks the main road connecting Taiz to Aden city.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Kenyan police station in Hamey in Garissa County, Kenya on September 22. An al Shabaab spokesman claimed the militants killed at least six policemen and captured two others. The militants escaped with one vehicle, ammunition, and telecommunications equipment.[6]
  • The Somali commission responsible for implementing elections announced the possibility of a second delay on September 21. The Federal Indirect Election Implementation Team (FIEIT) cited security concerns and inadequate funding as the reasons for potential delays to lower house elections set to begin on September 24. The director of Aden Adde International Airport also banned journalists from reporting from the airport during the election cycle. Reporters rely on airport coverage of candidates, as many presidential candidates are campaigning from outside of Somalia.[7]
  • Elders from Beledweyne, Hiraan region are attempting to form a new Hiraan state. Somali officials have led negotiations between Hiraan and Middle Shabelle elders on the formation of a unified Hiraan-Middle Shabelle state since 2015. Somali Interior Minister Yahye Ali Ibrahim just announced an agreement to form the unified state on September 20. Delays over Hiraan-Middle Shabelle state formation could further delay the upcoming parliamentary elections.[8]
[1] “ #Drone strike kills AQAP leaders and destroys vehicle in #al Bayda,” Barakish, September 22, 2016,; and Demolinari, Twitter, September 22, 2016,
[2] “Communique on the Situation in Yemen,” U.S. Department of State, September 22, 2016,
[3] “Coalition warplanes bombed the presidential palace in the city of Hodeida for the first time since the start of operations,” al Masdar, September 21, 2016,; and Mohammed Ghobari and Reem Shamseddine, “Death toll from air strike in Yemen rises to 26, sources say,” Reuters, September 22, 2016,
[4] “Government forces continued to impose a blockade on Houthi positions in Sirwah west of Ma’rib,” al Masdar, September 22, 2016,
[5] “Resistance and army attack militia in east Kirsh,” Aden GD, September 22, 2016,
[6] “Al-Shabab attacks Kenya police station,” Shabelle News, September 22, 2016,; and Live From Mogadishu, Twitter, September 22, 2016,
[7] “Global community urges against poll delay, commends Somali development blueprint,” Goobjoog News, September 22, 2016,; and “Mogadishu Airport off-limits for 60 days, Somalia warns journalists ahead of poll,” Goobjoog News, September 22, 2016,
[8] “MP Godah Barri: Hiiran Residents Decides to have their own state,” Goobjoog News, September 21, 2016,; and “Politicians in Beledweyne warn a formation of New State in the Region,” Goobjoog News, September 21, 2016,
View Citations
Arrow down red
Oct '16
Sep '16
Aug '16