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: Airstrike kills 130 people near Mokha, Taiz; Saudi Arabia announces interception of Iranian ship

Horn of Africa: China pledges significant military aid to African Union over next five years and Kenya calls for increased international support for Somali peacekeeping assistance at UNGA; AMISOM forces kill a civilian in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • A reported airstrike killed more than 130 people at a wedding party in al Wahija, a village near Mokha, Taiz on September 28. Arab coalition spokesman Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed al Asiri denied responsibility for the attack, claiming that the coalition has conducted no air operations near Mokha for the past three days and suggesting the attack was mortar or rocket fire from another armed group. Witnesses said that two missiles struck tents at the wedding reception, which was hosted by a local man affiliated with the al Houthis. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the strike and stated that intentional attacks on civilian targets violate international law and require investigation.[1]
  • Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir announced on September 29 that Saudi Arabia intercepted an Iranian ship on its way to Yemen last week. The ship was reportedly delivering weapons to al Houthi militias. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on September 28 that Iran is “prepared to help bring about democracy” in Yemen.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • President Xi Jinping announced that China will pledge $100 million in military aid to the African Union over the next five years at the UN General Assembly on September 28. Additionally, President Xi stated that China would offer up to 8000 soldiers as a standby force for the UN’s peacekeeping operations and up to $1 billion to establish a peace development fund. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called for greater international support for the peacekeeping operations in Somalia and South Sudan, stressing that the region’s stability and security hinges on whether or not the two countries can eventually maintain their own security.[3]
  • AMISOM officials confirmed that their forces killed a 14-year-old boy in Mogadishu. The incident took place on September 27, in Mogadishu Stadium. It is currently unclear as to why the killing occurred, but AMISOM officials said they will investigate the matter. The killing is significant as al Shabaab has used civilian deaths at the hands of AMISOM forces as a justification for attacks in the past.[4] 
[1] Mohammed Ghobari. “Death toll from air strike on Yemen wedding party rises above 130: medics,” Reuters, September 29, 2015. Available:
“Yemen: More than 130 killed in coalition airstrike on wedding,” France 24, September 29, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[2] “Saudi Arabia reveals the interception of an Iranian weapons ship that was on its way to the al Houthis,” Barakish, September 29, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
Parisa Hafezi and Louis Charbonneau, “Rouhani says Iran ready to help bring democracy to Syria, Yemen,” Reuters, September 28, 2015. Available:
[3] “Xi Jinping pledges military aid to African Union,” NHK World, September 28, 2015. Available:
Jibril Adan, “Uhuru puts regional security top in his UN address,” Capital FM, September 29, 2015. Available:
[4] “AMISOM admits shooting of 14 year old boy, says investigating the matter,” Goodjoog News, September 29, 2015. Available:
“AMISOM admits killing 14 year old boy in Mogadishu Stadium,” Wacaal Media, September 28, 2015. Available:
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