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: Former Yemen president Saleh downplays tensions in al Houthi-Saleh bloc; AQAP calls for attacks on Myanmar government in support of Muslim minorities; Hadi-government security committee holds emergency meeting in Taiz; Hadi-government employees begin hunger strike in Taiz over lack of salary payments

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab raids military base in Lower Shabelle, Somalia; Kenyan electoral commision sets date for new presidential election; reported U.S. airstrike kills senior al Shabaab commander; al Shabaab attempts to assassinate Somali senator

Yemen Security Brief

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh downplayed tensions between himself and the al Houthi movement during a September 4 television interview after rumors of al Houthi militants arresting Saleh in Sana’a. A member of Ansar Allah’s political council, the al Houthi movement’s political party, Mohammad al Bekhiti claimed on September 3 that Saleh was planning a coup against Ansar Allah on the eve of the 35th anniversary celebration of Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party on August 26. More than 60 new al Houthi security checkpoints have been set up in Sana’a and families associated with the GPC have begun to migrate to Aden and al Mukalla, according to a southern Yemeni news source.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) senior spokesman Khaled Batarfi called for Muslims in south and southeast Asia to attack Myanmar government officials and supply resources to jihadists in order to support the Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted minority in Myanmar on September 3. The Myanmar government’s persecution of Muslims forced more than 123,000 Rohingya from Myanmar into neighboring Muslim-majority Bangladesh.[2] 

The Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government security committee in Taiz held an emergency meeting on September 2 to discuss the increase of violence in the city. The committee announced that they would begin limiting the movement of motor vehicles and strengthening checkpoints. The increase of violence against civilians caused the Hadi government’s Ministry of Human Rights to call on the United Nations and international community to intercede in the conflict in order to accelerate the cessation of indiscriminate violence against civilians on August 28. The UN released a human rights report highlighting the civilian toll of the conflict in Taiz governorate on September 5.[3]

Hadi-government employees in Taiz began a hunger strike and sit-in to protest the lack of salary payments on September 2. The Hadi government paid one month of salaries to some troops and security forces on August 31. The Ministry of Interior discovered that officials recorded that they had distributed two months worth of salary payments in Abyan governorate instead of one month and punished the officials who cheated the government employees on September 3.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants raided a joint Somali National Army (SNA)-Jubba forces military base in Bulogadud, Lower Jubba, south Somalia on September 3. The militants detonated two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIED) at the base before gunmen seized the camp. Kenyan and U.S. forces recaptured the base later that day, according to a Somali news source. Al Shabaab claimed its militants seized large quantities of weapons, ammunition, and destroyed military equipment before withdrawing from the base.[5]

The Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced on September 4 that the rerun of the August presidential election between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and challenger Raila Odinga will be held on October 17. This announcement comes three days after the Supreme Court annulled the August election and cited the commission's failure to comply with the the constitution. Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition is demanding significant changes to IECB leadership.[6]

A reported U.S. airstrike killed al Shabaab commander Abdirahman Hudeyfi in Barawe town, Lower Shabelle, southern Somalia on September 1. Hudeyfi was once al Shabaab’s governor for Jubba regions and was identified by district commissioner of Barawe town, Aden Omar, as the senior commander in charge of recruiting fighters. [7]

Suspected al Shabaab militants attempted to assassinate Somali Senator Hussein Haji Ali with small arms fire on September 5 in Hodon district, Mogadishu, Somalia. Al Shabaab is conducting an assassination campaign to destabilize the UN-backed Somali government.[8]  

[1] “Houthi leader confirms: ‘Saleh is within reach,” Al Arabiya, September 4, 2017,; Ahmed al Haj, “Yemen’s Saleh appears on TV after rumors of arrest,” ABC News, September 4, 2017,; “Saleh denies the existence of a dispute with al Houthis and accuses the fifth column of causing problems,” Aden Tomorrow, September 4, 2017,; Mohammed Nasser Al-Bukhaiti Mohammed Al-Bukaiti, “A Message to my Fellow Journalist,” Facebook, September 3, 2017,; “Al Bukhiti warns of northern Yemen turning in South Lebanon,” Aden Tomorrow, September 4, 2017,; “More than 60 new military checkpoints in Sana’a, Houthi negotiations and conference are at an impasse,” Aden Lang, September 4, 2017,; and “Southerners begin to leave Sana’a,” Aden Tomorrow, September 4, 2017,
[2] “AQAP official Batarfi urges support for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, calls for AQIS to attack,” SITE Intel Group, September 2, 2017,; and Austin Ramzy, “Desperate Rohingya Flee Myanmar Crackdown in Growing Numbers, UN Says,” New York Times, September 5, 2017,
[3]“Taiz: prohibition of the movement of motorcycles in the evening and prevention of military vehicles without a permit,” Al Masdar, September 2, 2017,; and “Yemen: An “entirely man-made catastrophe” - UN human rights report urges international investigation,” United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner, September 5, 2017,
[4] “Military: We received one salary and signed two months of delivered vouchers,” Aden Tomorrow, September 1, 2017,; “The Ministry of the Interior punished officials who were cut off from the salaries of security forces in Abyan governorate,” Aden Lang, September 3, 2017,; “Taiz employees start an open sit-in since the morning of Eid due to unpaid salaries,” Aden Tomorrow, September 1, 2017,; “Houthi leaders killed east of Taiz and employees on hunger strike in protest against non-payment of salaries,” Al Masdar, September 2, 2017,
[5] “Somalia: Dozens of Jubbaland soldiers killed in dawn raid,” Garowe Online, September 3, 2017,; "Al Shabaab claims attack on Somali military base in Bulogadud," Telegram, September 3, 2017; and “Al Shabaab attacks military base in Bala Gudud near Kismayu,” Goobjoog News, September 3, 2017,
[6] “Kenyatta and Odinga to face off October 17 in fresh poll-electoral body,” Goobjoog News, September 5, 2017,
[7] Mohamed Olad Hassan, “Somalia: U.S. Drone Attack Kills Top Militant Recruiter - Officials,” Voice of America, September 4, 2017,; and Harun Maruf, “Somalia Seeks US Help, Says Militants Plot to Supply Uranium to Iran,” Voice of America, September 1, 2017,
[8] “Somali Senator narrowly escapes assassination bid in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, September 5, 2017,

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