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: Arab coalition launches airstrikes in northern and central Yemen; U.S. airstrikes target AQAP militants in Hadramawt

Horn of Africa: UK to send 370 peacekeeping troops under UN to Somalia and South Sudan; an explosion kills four people, including a soldier in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Galmudug State officials invite Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a to negotiate for peace

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Saudi-led Arab coalition continued its heavy airstrike campaign throughout northern and central Yemen on September 26-28. Residents and medics in Bani Zela, Hajjah claimed that a coalition helicopter attack killed at least 25 people on September 27, but the coalition denied any role in the attack. The coalition launched multiple strikes on al Houthi military bases in al Bayda, Sana’a, and al Hudaydah governorates, including al Daylami airbase in northern Sana’a. Saudi-led airstrikes destroyed al Houthi ballistic missiles in al Bayda and Taiz. The missiles were reportedly intended for a strike on the Aden airport.[1]
  • Two reported U.S. airstrikes targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants near the AQAP-controlled port city of al Mukalla, Hadramawt in southeastern Yemen. The first airstrike hit two cars in the al Riyan region on September 26 and the second struck the Republican Palace in al Mukalla on September 27. No casualty counts have been reported.[2]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The UK announced plans to send up to 70 members of its military to Somalia and 300 to South Sudan as part of UN peacekeeping forces. The peacekeepers are intended to assist in training the local security forces and improve upon the logistical capabilities of the militaries of both countries. A spokesperson for UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said that the decision was made in order to help reduce refugee migration from both countries to the UK, as well as to help ensure regional stability.[3]
  • A bomb planted by suspected al Shabaab militants exploded in a crowded restaurant, killing four people, including a soldier, and injuring an unspecified number of individuals. The explosion took place on September 26, in the city of Kismayo, located in the Lower Jubba region. This attack comes as tensions between al Shabaab and the city’s administration have significantly increased following the deportation of 70 women accused of being wives of militants in the past week, as well as a reported increase in the presence of militants in neighboring towns.[4] 
  • Galmudug’s head of state, Abdikarim Hussein Gulleid, officially invited Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) leaders to negotiate a political settlement over the administration of Somalia’s Central “Galmudug” State, composed of Galgudud and Mudug regions. Tensions between Galmudug State security forces and ASWJ sharply increased over the past weeks and ASWJ’s leaders declared war on the Galmudug administration, which they believe to be illegitimate. ASWJ had been coordinating with AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) troops against al Shabaab.[5]  

[1] Mohammed Ghobari, “Helicopter attacks kills 30 civilians in Yemeni village: residents, medics,” Reuters, September 27, 2015. Available:
“Violent explosions in the headquarters of a brigade loyal to Saleh in al Bayda following coalition airstrikes,” Al Masdar, September 27, 2015. [Arabic] Available: 
“Witnesses: The coalition launched 25 strikes on a military base in northern Sana’a,” Al Masdar, September 27, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Coalition fighters target military bases in al Salif and al Khokhah districts,” Al Masdar, September 26, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Military source: the coalition destroys ballistic missiles in al Bayda with which the al Houthis and pro-Saleh forces planned to bomb the Aden airport,” Al Masdar, September 28, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Coalition fighters destroy Scud missile in Taiz with which the al Houthis planned to bomb the Aden airport,” Al Masdar, September 26, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[2] “Al Qaeda members killed in drone strike in al Riyan east of al Mukalla,” Barakish, September 26, 2015. [Arabic] Available: 
“Drone bombs the Republican Palace in al Mukalla,” Barakish, September 27, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[3] Ian Silvera, “Somalia: David Cameron will deploy British troops to counter Al-Shabaab,” International Business Times, September 28, 2015. Available:
[4] “At least 4 killed in S. Somali blasé: Police,” Xinhua, September 26, 2015. Available:
“Somalia: 70 Al Shabaab wives deported from Kismayo,” Shabelle Media Network, September 19, 2015. Available:
“Exclusive report: Al-Shabaab in heightened military activity and buildup in Lower Jubba region,” Wacaal Media, September 16, 2015. Available:
[5] “Guuled extends olive branch of peace to Ahlusunnaas he jets back to Adaado,” Wacaal Media, September 27, 2015. Available:
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