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: President Hadi states that peace talks with the al Houthi movement are doomed to fail; Hadi government ends cooperation with UN human rights mission; U.S. Deputy Secretary of State meets with President Hadi at UN General Assembly; al Houthi forces claim to fire ballistic missiles at southern Saudi Arabia and at Ma’rib, northern Yemen

Horn of Africa: SNA forces kill Afghan jihadist and other al Shabaab militants in Jilib-Marka town, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia; Kenyan forces raid village following IED attack in Mandera county, northeastern Kenya; al Shabaab IED kills two in Elwaq city, Gedo region, southern Somalia; World Bank offers grants to Somali government for first time since 1991

Yemen Security Brief

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi stated that peace talks with the al Houthi movement were “doomed to fail” in his address to the UN General Assembly on September 26. Hadi referenced al Houthi representatives’ failure to attend the September 6 talks in Geneva and stressed that the conflict cannot be managed solely by dialogue. He described the al Houthis as religious extremists and gangsters and implored the international community to support his government.[1]

The Hadi government announced on September 27 that it will end its cooperation with a UN human rights mission and that it will not extend its mandate. The Hadi government accused the commission of bias in its reporting and criticized the commission for ignoring al Houthi in its August report. The UN human rights report accused all parties in the Yemen conflict of human rights abuses and included several cases of violations by al Houthi forces. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait also criticized the August report on September 26 for bias and for being hastily prepared.[2]

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan met with Yemeni President Hadi before the UN General Assembly session on September 24. Sullivan and Hadi discussed the political process and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and confirmed the importance of supporting UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths’ consultations for future peace talks.[3]

Al Houthi forces claimed to fire three Zilzal 1 ballistic missiles at Asir and Jizan regions, southern Saudi Arabia on September 26. Al Houthis also claimed that the ballistic missiles destroyed Saudi military vehicles, killing and injuring a number of Saudi troops. The Saudi Ministry of Defense has not confirmed the missile strikes. Al Houthi forces also claimed to fire seven ballistic missiles at a military parade in Ma’rib governorate, northern Yemen on September 26. Saudi air defenses intercepted the missiles, according to Saudi media.[4]

The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat al Bayda claimed it repelled an al Houthi attack in the al Zahra area of Qayfa, northwestern al Bayda governorate, central Yemen. The attack lasted from the night of September 26 to the morning of September 27, according to the ISIS statement. The ISIS press release used the term ISIS Wilayat Yemen for the first time, matching changes ISIS has made to how it refers to itself in other regions.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali National Army (SNA) forces killed 16 al Shabaab militants in Jilib-Marka village, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on September 27.  SNA forces claimed to kill an Afghan fighter named Nasir al Jabiri. The Lower Shabelle governor denied these claims and said that SNA forces may have wounded al Jabiri.[6]

Likely al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers in Mandera County, Kenya on September 26.  KDF soldiers and officers from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit raided nearby Daba-city village in response. Soldiers and police burned homes and harassed and beat over 20 civilians during the raid.[7]

Al Shabaab detonated two IEDs at a tea shop in in Elwaq city, Gedo region, southern Somalia on September 27. The attack killed two people and injured six others. Al Shabaab detonated an IED targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) vehicle in the coastal Jazeera area of Mogadishu on September 27. The attack killed three soldiers.[8]

The World Bank approved $80 million in grants to fund public finance reforms in Somalia on September 26. This is the first time the World Bank has given direct financial support to Somalia’s government since the civil war began in 1991. The World Bank supported HIV/AIDS and livestock programs beginning in 2003, however, and opened ties with the Somali Federal Government in 2013.[9]

[1] President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi “Address to the UN General Assembly”, September 26, 2018,; and AFP, UN “Yemen president at UN says talks with Houthis ‘doomed to fail’,” September 27, 2018,

[2] “Yemen’s government furious as it ends cooperation with UN mission, Middle East Eye, September 27, 2018,; “Yemeni government confirms its refusal to extend mission of UN team of experts,” Al Arabiya, September 27, 2018,; and “Hadi government confirms that it will end UN human rights mission, Saba New, September 27, 2018,

[3] “Deputy Secretary Sullivan’s meeting with Yemeni President Hadi,” U.S. Department of State, September 26, 2018,

[4] “Three Zilzal 1 ballistic missiles target Saudi military in Jizan and Asir,” 26Sep, September 26, 2018,; “Al Houthi forces fire ballistic missiles towards Saudi Arabia,” Al Masdar news, September 27, 2018,; “Seven ballistic missiles target Ma’rib,” Ma’rib Press, September 26, 2018,; and “Saudi Air Defense Forces intercept al Houthi ballistic missiles,”,

[5] Twitter, September 27, 2018,; and Twitter, September 26, 2018,

[6] “Afghan Jihadist, 15 other al Shabaab militants killed in Somalia,” Mareeg, September 27, 2018,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, September 27, 2018,

[7] “Kenyan forces injured over 20 people in a raid in Mandera,” Radio Shabelle, September 27, 2018,; and “22 injured as KDF, ATPU raid Daba City in Elwak, Mandera County,” NTV, September 26, 2018,

[8] “Twin Bombings in El-Wak Somalia by Shabaab Terrorists,” Strategic IntelligenceDaily Intelligence Brief, September 27, 2018,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, September 27, 2018, 

[9] “World Bank approves first grants to Somalia in 30 years,” Reuters, September 26, 2018,

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