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: Al Houthi-Saleh forces deny kidnapping U.S. citizen in Sana’a, central Yemen; Emirati-backed security forces kill local AQAP leader in Lahij governorate, southern Yemen; Yemen cholera epidemic becomes largest in recorded history; Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghir announces military restructure; AQAP militants ambush al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen

Horn of Africa: Opposition candidate Raila Odinga’s party withdraws from election negotiations; Kenyan airstrike wounds civilians in Gedo region, southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi-Saleh Ministry of Interior denied responsibility for the kidnapping of U.S. citizen Danny Lavon Burch in Sana’a in a statement issued on September 26. The Ministry condemned the kidnapping and confirmed that security services are pursuing the perpetrators.[1]

Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces killed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) local leader Ahmed Abdel Nabi and arrested five AQAP militants, including his two sons, in the Jabal al Yazidi area, Yafa’a district, Lahij governorate, southern Yemen on September 27. Ahmed fired at al Hizam security forces, critically injuring a local al Hizam commander, after refusing to surrender. Ahmed is the brother of senior AQAP leader Khalid Abdel Nabi, who cooperated in a Salafi-jihadi rehabilitation program and has a relationship with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Khalid surrendered to al Hizam forces in July.[2] 

Yemen’s cholera epidemic surpassed 755,000 suspected cases in a five month period on September 28, making it the world’s largest cholera outbreak in recorded history. Oxfam estimates suspected cases will reach one million by November at the current infection rate.[3]

Internationally recognized President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghir announced the government’s intention to restructure and better integrate military units on September 28 during a celebration of the 55th anniversary of the September 26 revolution in Aden city, southern Yemen. Bin Daghir also called for a regulation against carrying arms in Aden to maintain security. The Hadi government lacks meaningful control over its aligned militias.[4]

AQAP militants ambushed al Houthi-Saleh forces in Tayab district, al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on September 27. AQAP last attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in central Yemen on September 16. AQAP militants fight alongside tribal forces against al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Representatives from opposition leader Raila Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) party withdrew from election negotiations after members from President Kenyatta’s Jubilee party announced plans to amend Kenya’s election laws on September 28. The Jubilee party proposed changes to prevent the Supreme Court from nullifying the upcoming October 26 re-run election and to strip power from Kenya’s electoral commission, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), during a special senate session on September 28.[6] 

A Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) airstrike wounded six civilians in a rural village outside Bardhere city, Gedo region, southern Somalia on September 28. Al Shabaab captured some rural territory from KDF troops outside Bardhere on September 25. The Luq-Kismayo and Baidoa-Wajir, Kenya highways intersect at Bardhere and serve as vital supply routes for African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces and the Somali Federal Government (SFG).[7]  

[1] “Ministry of Interior condemns kidnapping of American engineer,” Saba New, September 26, 2017,; and “Yemen Houthis say U.S. citizen kidnapped by unknown gunmen,” Reuters, September 28, 2017,
[2] “Al Hizam reveals the details of the Jabal Yazidi operation and the death of leader Ahmed Abdul Nabi,” Aden Lang, September 27, 2017,; “The killing of an al Qaeda operative,” Aden Tomorrow, September 27, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, September 27, 2017,
[3] “Yemen cholera outbreak now the largest ever recorded,” Oxfam, September 28, 2017,
[4] “Bin Daghir: the coup against the state was not able to overthrow the republic,” Saba New, September 28, 2017,
[5] “Ambush of al Houthi forces in al Bayda,” Telegram, September 27, 2017; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, September 27,
[6] Felix Njini and Samuel Gebre, “Kenya's Plans for Vote Rerun Set Back as Opposition Quits Talks,” Bloomberg, September 28, 2017,; and Duncan Miriri and George Obulutsa, “Kenya's ruling party moves to amend election law ahead of vote re-run,” Reuters, September 28, 2017,
[7] “Six Civilians Wounded In KDF Airstrike Near Bardere Town,” Radio Shabelle, September 28, 2017,

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