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: Hadi government forces announce new phase of military operations in northern Yemen; southern Yemeni leaders call for independence and shut down North Yemen anniversary celebration in Aden; Hadi government and allied forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces along Taiz-Lahij border; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target al Houthi-Saleh positions in northern Yemen

Horn of Africa: USAFRICOM announces September 26 airstrikes near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; unidentified airstrikes kill 14 Galmudug State security forces in Galgadud region; suspected al Shabaab militants assassinate prominent Somali journalist in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu; UN envoy to Somalia warns of manipulation after election delay

Yemen Security Brief

  • Forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi announced a new phase of military operations in northern Yemen on September 28. The new phase of operations seeks to “unify the fighting fronts in the northern regions of Yemen” by launching joint operations from Ma’rib, al Jawf, and Sana’a governorates. The aim of this phase of operations is to liberate the rest of al Jawf, Ma’rib, Sana’a, Shabwah, Sa’ada, and Amran governorates from al Houthi-Saleh forces. Hadi government forces seek to cut al Houthi-Saleh forces’ supply lines in Amran, Hajjah, and Sa’ada governorates. These operations are intended to lay the groundwork for an offensive on Sana’a city. Al Houthi-Saleh forces took over Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, in 2014.[1]
  • A Southern Movement leader, Abdul Rahman al Wali, stated that the conditions for southern independence are right in a September 28 announcement. Al Wali called on supporters to take a stand for independence in southern Yemen. He denounced the Hadi government for using the South as a political tool. Southern Resistance forces shut down the celebration of the 54th anniversary of the September 26 revolution in Aden city. The holiday celebrates the formation of Yemen Arab Republic in northern Yemen, which remained separate from South Yemen until 1990. Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid Bin Daghir was scheduled to attend. Hizam security forces, an Emirati-backed force tasked with counterterrorism operations and security in southern Yemen, denied responsibility for shutting down celebrations. Local journalists and activists shared images of militia forces with South Yemen flags patrolling the streets from September 26 to 28. Activists raised the South Yemen flag across southern Yemen on September 27.[2]
  • Hadi government and allied forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces along the Taiz-Lahij border in southern Yemen on September 25. Hadi government and allied forces seized positions from al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Shuraijah area in Kirsh district on September 25. Hadi government and allied forces repelled an al Houthi-Saleh counterattack in Kirsh district later that day. Al Houthi-Saleh forces attacked Hadi government and allied forces in Kahbub district, southern Taiz-Lahij border, on September 25. Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to kill a local Hadi government commander during the clashes.[3]
  • Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi-Saleh positions in Sana’a governorate on September 28. The airstrikes targeted an economic institution in Sana’a city and military camp east of Sana’a city. Coalition Apache helicopters repelled al Houthi-Saleh attacks near the Saudi-Yemeni border in Najran region, Saudi Arabia on September 27.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) confirmed that U.S. airstrikes killed four al Shabaab fighters in Caba near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on September 26. USAFRICOM announced that it launched the strikes after al Shabaab fighters advanced on Somali National Army (SNA) forces and their U.S. advisors.[5]
  • Unidentified airstrikes killed 14 Galmudug state security forces on September 28. Galmudug officials blamed the attack on Puntland State. Galmudug claimed that Puntland State intelligence incorrectly identified the Galmudug forces as al Shabaab militants.[6]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants killed a prominent Somali journalist in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu on September 27. Gunmen riding motorcycles shot Shabelle News Producer Abdulaziz Mohamed Ali Hajji five times before fleeing the scene.[7]
  • The UN envoy to Somalia expressed concern with repeated delays of Somalia’s elections on September 26. Michael Keating warned that the latest delays may lead to manipulation or a lack of urgency for holding the elections. Somali officials rescheduled parliamentary and presidential elections to October 23 and November 30, citing security concerns and continued disagreements among elders.[8]


[1]“New Military Arrangements Northern #Yemen,” Barakish, September 28, 2016,
[2] “He said the flag raising on the south armor falsely ..d. Abdulrahman al Wali: South legitimacy used their tools but they will not win,” Aden Tomorrow, September 28, 2016,
“The leadership of the security belt denies responsibility for securing government celebrations of the anniversary of September,” Aden Times, September 28, 2016,; Khaled Al-Abbadi, Twitter, September 28, 2016,; Ahmedalrbizy, Twitter, September 27, 2016,; Fahed, September 28, 2016,
[3] “Element in the resistance killed and two injured in a heavy bombing attack on the Houthis Krish northern Lahij,” al Masdar, September 25, 2016,; “Hypocrites targeting communities in the area Kahbub Lahij,” al Masirah, September 25, 2016,; and “South Popular Resistance: the death of a colonel and three others in the liberation of Mount Alskhabrh,” Aden Times, September 25, 2016,
[4] “Ignition of Najran Battles on the border between the coup and the militia forces Arabia,” Yemen Press, September 27, 2016,; and  “ Coalition warplanes pounded targets for the Houthis east of the capital of Sana’a,” Yemen Press, September 28, 2016,
[5] “U.S. self-defense strikes in Somalia,” USAFRICOM, September 27, 2016,; and “US Military Says It Kills 4 Al-Shabab Fighters in Somalia,” NY Times, September 27, 2016,
[6] “Galmudug and Puntland trade accusations as 14 soldiers are killed in US air strike,” Goobjoog News, September 28, 2016,
[7] “Somali Journalist Abdiaziz Ali Haji Shot Dead in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, September 27, 2016,; and “SMN admin, staff and colleagues pay tributes to slain reporter,” Shabelle News, September 28, 2016,
[8] “UN fears ‘manipulation’ as Somalia delays elections,” Al Jazeera, September 28, 2016,
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