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: Gulf coalition continues broad airstrike campaign; Hadi’s government plans to return to Aden

Horn of Africa: United States takes steps to reestablish diplomatic ties to Somalia; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM forces in Qoryoole; al Shabaab claims to hold Ugandan hostages from earlier attack on AMISOM military base; Kenya arrests three men entering shopping mall with homemade bomb

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Saudi-led coalition continued its intensified airstrike campaign in the aftermath of the September 4 al Houthi rocket attack on a coalition base. Gulf forces targeted al Houthi positions in the capital of Sana’a, as well as al Houthi military equipment and strategic sites in Sa’ada and al Bayda governorates. Airstrikes also killed approximately 20 Indian nationals in the port of al Hudaydah, where the coalition was targeting fuel smugglers.[1]
  • The Yemeni Minister of Information, Nadia Al Saqqaf, announced on September 8 that Yemeni government ministers will hold meetings in Aden next week. The internationally recognized Yemeni government, led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has operated in exile in Riyadh since March. Al Houthi rebels have controlled Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, for more than a year. The rebels temporarily seized Aden as well, but Gulf coalition, Yemeni army, and popular resistance forces recaptured it in July. President Hadi will not join his cabinet in Aden at this time.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The United States Department of State announced on September 8 that it plans to reestablish official ties to Somalia by opening a diplomatic mission to country. The mission itself will be based in neighboring Kenya due to security concerns, and will not be staffed with an official ambassador. The move is seen as the first step in fully reopening diplomatic ties between the two countries. [3]
  • Al Shabaab attacked AMISOM forces in the town of Qoryoole, Lower Shabelle region. Government officials say that AMISOM troops were able to repulse the attack, and they initially report four casualties on both sides, although local sources say that the death toll may rise.[4]
  • Al Shabaab’s media outlet Radio Andalus has claimed that the group is in possession of an unspecified number of Ugandan hostages captured during their earlier attack on the AMISOM manned Janale military base on September 1. Ugandan officials dismissed al Shabaab’s claims, although western media sources reported that a number of Ugandan soldiers were missing following the Janale attack.[5] 
  • Kenyan police chief in Nairobi’s Kasarani district Robinson Mboloi said that the police had arrested three man with an improvised explosive device as they were entering the Garden City Mall in the district. The mall is said to the be the largest shopping center in East Africa. In September 2013, al Shabaab killed 67 people in an assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.[6]
[1] “Twenty Indians killed in Yemen as more foreign troops reported arriving,” Reuters, September 8, 2015. Available:
“Coalition airstrikes target al Houthi and pro-Saleh militias in al Bayda and Sa’ada,” Al Masdar, September 9, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[2] Al Qalisi, Mohammed. “Hadi ministers to return in new boost for Yemen,” The National, September 8, 2015. Available:
[3] Laura Koran, “U.S. Reopens diplomatic mission to Somalia in Kenya,” CNN, September 8, 2015. Available:
John Kirby “Commencement of Operations by the United States Mission to Somalia,” Department of State, September 8, 2015. Available:
[4] “Government forces and AMISOM repulse al-Shabaab in Qoryooley attack,” Wacaal Media, September 9, 2015. Available:
[6] “Kenya Police Arrest Three with Suspected Bomb in Nairobi Mall,” AFP, September 8, 2015. Available:
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