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: Saudi-led coalition spokesman announces new phase of operations; Hadi government announces it will not return to negotiations until the Supreme Political Council is abolished; Hadi government-allied security forces dismantle ISIS Wilayat Lahij cell in Yafa’a, Lahij governorate; Saudi-led coalition helicopters target al Houthi-Saleh positions near Midi city, Hajjah governorate; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target al Houthi-Saleh positions across Taiz governorate; Yemeni foreign minister requests international support to combat al Houthi-Saleh forces 

Horn of Africa: SNA and AMISOM forces drive al Shabaab militants out of Budbud village, Galgudud region; al Shabaab militants attack SNA bases in Qoryooley, Lower Shabelle region; IED targets military checkpoint in Heliwa district, Mogadishu; Kenyan police arrest suspected al Shabaab militant in Kwale County; Somali ban on qat flights from Kenya takes effect

Yemen Security Brief

  • The spokesmen for the Saudi-led coalition, Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri, announced the end of Operation Restoring Hope and the beginning of a new phase of operations on September 7. Asiri stated that the coalition’s operations will no longer be reactionary and will instead actively seek out al Houthi-Saleh fighters and leaders responsible for the planning and implementation of cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia. Asiri’s announcement defined a target set for the coalition air campaign that includes border positions, al Houthi-Saleh leaders, military sites, and leaders’ home cities.[1]
  • A Hadi government delegation refused to return to negotiations until the al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council (SPC) is abolished in a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on September 7. The Hadi government also demands that al Houthi-Saleh forces disarm and withdraw from seized territory before negotiations resume.[2]
  • Hadi government-allied Hizam security forces dismantled an Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Lahij cell in Yafa’a, Lahij governorate. Hizam security forces discovered a broadcast system used to disseminate ISIS propaganda during the operation.[3]
  • Hadi government forces supported by coalition Apache helicopters repelled an al Houthi-Saleh attack near Midi city, Hajjah governorate on September 7. Coalition helicopters strafed al Houthi-Saleh positions near the Yemeni-Saudi border following the attack. The Saudi-led coalition announced a new operational phase focused on targeting al Houthi-Saleh forces in the border region on September 7.[4]
  • The Saudi-led coalition launched more than 20 airstrikes targeting al Houthi-Saleh forces in eastern Taiz governorate on September 8. Coalition airstrikes targeted positions in Maoist Junction, Mount Awman, Mount al Hawaban, and al Hawaban Airport. Hadi government and allied forces killed six al Houthi-Saleh militants in clashes in Mudarat area of western Taiz city. Al Houthi-Saleh forces killed seven Hadi government forces and injured 21 others in al Zanouj Mountain, north of Taiz city, on September 8.[5]
  • Yemen Foreign Minister Abdul Malik al Mikhlafi urged the international community to increase support for President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government’s campaign against the al Houthi-Saleh alliance on September 7. Foreign Minister al Mikhlafi stated that “more pressure” is needed to bring al Houthi-Saleh forces to the peace process.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces killed at least eight al Shabaab militants at a camp in Budbud village in Galgudud region, central Somalia on September 7.  SNA and AMISOM forces recovered multiple grenades and one piece of artillery from the site. Dozens of al Shabaab militants fled the camp. Al Shabaab later claimed to recapture Budbud. Government sources denied this claim. Militants retreated to nearby Moqokori village and may intend to counterattack in Budbud. Al Shabaab militants seized police headquarters and administrative buildings in Budbud on September 3 before preaching to residents. Al Shabaab militants attacked SNA and AMISOM positions near Budbud with mortars and small arms fire on September 6.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a SNA compound in Qoryooley, Lower Shabelle region on September 7. SNA forces counterattacked and repulsed the militants.[8]
  • Militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) planted near a military checkpoint in Wahar-Adde area, Heliwa district, northern Mogadishu on September 7. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which caused no casualties.[9]
  • Kenyan police arrested a suspected al Shabaab militant in Kwale County, southeastern Kenya. Kenyan officials announced the arrest of Mwandego Mohamed, a Ugandan national who allegedly planned to conduct attacks inside Kenya. Police recovered a grenade and bomb-making components, according to official statements.[10]
  • A ban on flights carrying qat into Somalia from Kenya took effect on September 6. The Somali government announced the ban on qat, a mild stimulant, on September 5. Some reports alleged that the government instituted the ban in preparation for the annual East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit, which will convene in Mogadishu on September 10. The Somali government denied this connection. Officials in the semi-autonomous Puntland state defied the ban and permitted five Kenyan flights carrying qat to land in Galkayo and Qardho on September 7. Kenyan qat farmers in Nyambene, Meru County, Kenya blocked streets to protest the ban.[11]

[1] “Asiri announce the end of the operations «Restore Hope» and start a new phase of the war,” Yemen Sky, September 7, 2016,; and “Asiri:Our response will be different in intensity to Houthis and Saleh, duration and locations and cities,” Yemen News, September 7, 2016,
[2] “The government requires the abolition of the political council to return to consultations,” Barakish, September 8, 2016,
[3] “Hizam security forces raid local ISIS radio headquarters,” Aden Times, September 8, 2016,
[4] “Army defeats al Houthis around Midi city, with the support of apache coalition,” Barakish, September 8, 2016,; and “Apache coalition forces and the government army repel progress for the Houthis around Midi city in Hajjah province,” Almasdar, September 8, 2016,
[5] “Saudi air aggression targeting eastern neighborhoods in Taiz with 16 raids,” Saba News, September 8, 2016,; “6 killed in group of militias fighting in Taiz,” News Yemen, September 8, 2016,; and “ 20 air strikes targeting al Houthi-Saleh sites in Taiz,” Aden Press, September 2016,
[6] Andrea Shalal, “Yemen foreign minister urges more support for fight against militia foes,” Reuters, September 7, 2016,
[7] Shmuel Yosef Agnon, “SNA & AMISOM Forces Kill 8 Al-Shabab Militants In Bud-Bud, Central Somalia,” Strategic Intelligence Service, September 7, 2016,;  “8 Al-Shabaab fighters killed in central Somalia,” Hiiraan Online, September 7, 2016,; “Al Shabaab seizes town vacated by allied troops,” Shabelle News, September 7, 2016, and; “Gulf of Aden Security Review - September 7, 2016,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, September 7, 2016,
[8] “Somalia forces repel Al Shabaab attack in Qoryoley,” Shabelle News, September 8, 2016,
[9] “IED blasts targets army checkpoint in Mogadishu,” September 7, 2016,
[10] “Kenyan arrests Ugandan citizen for al Shabaab links,” Shabelle News, September 8, 2016,
[11] Mohamed Olad Hassan, “Somali Ban on Popular Narcotic Takes Effect,” Voice of America, September 7, 2016,; “Somalia imposes Kenyan khat import ban,” BBC, September 6, 2016,; and “Miraa farmers protest against Somalia ban,” Shabelle News, September 8, 2016,  
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