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.{{authorBox.message}}

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Yemen: Al Houthi movement announces first engagement utilizing new missile; Hadi government accuses al Houthi movement of detaining foreign aid workers in northern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Somali special forces unit completes training at Turkish academy in Mogadishu; SFG President travels to Riyadh; Sudan’s largest protest group to announce nominees for civilian government; Ethiopian Prime Minister appoints new Defense and Foreign Ministers

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi Armed Forces Spokesman Yahya Sarea announced that al Houthi forces utilized the Badr-F missile in a strike against pro-Hadi forces in a military base in Dhaleh governorate on April 19. Sarea claimed that the missile strike was effective. The al Houthi movement unveiled the Badr-F missile on April 15, 2019. The al Houthi movement claims that the Badr-F has a range of 160 km over the Badr-1P’s 130 km range.[1]

The Hadi government Minister for Internal Affairs Abd al Raqib Fatah stated that al Houthi forces detained twenty foreign relief workers of the French Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) in Bani Qais district in southwestern Hajjah governorate in northwestern Yemen on April 19. The agency is active in Hajjah and Amran governorates, according to pro-Hadi sources.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A 330-man unit of Somali Danab special forces completed training at Turkey’s military base in the Somali capital Mogadishu on April 18. The U.S. has trained other Danab units.[3]

Somali Federal Government (SFG) President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo flew to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 19 for an official visit with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi separately traveled to the United Arab Emirates for an official visit on April 18.[4]

Sudan’s largest protest group stated on April 19 that it will announce nominees for a transitional civilian council on April 21. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) has rejected Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, which overthrew President Omar al Bashir on April 11. The U.S. separately dispatched an envoy to the Sudanese capital Khartoum on April 18. The U.S. has called for an inclusive transitional government.[5]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed new Defense and Foreign Ministers on April 18. Abiy appointed the current President of Oromia region, Lemma Megersa, as Defense Minister and the former President of Amhara region, Gedu Andargachew, as Foreign Minister. Both Megersa and Andargachew have been vocal supporters of Abiy’s reform agenda and have expressed concern over increasing ethnic conflict within Ethiopia.[6]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan story streams.


[1] “Badr F Ballistic Missile launched at reinforcements of the mercenaries of aggression in Dhaleh,” Sep 26 Net, April 19, 2019, https://26sep.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=154206; and “The Houthi Militia bombarded Dhaleh with a ballistic missile,” News Yemen, April 19, 2019, https://www.newsyemen.net/news40499.html.

[2] “Al Houthi militia hold 20 employees of the French Technical Cooperation and Development Agency,” Al Wahdawi Net, April 19, 2019, http://www.alwahdawi.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=20457; “Houthis reveal the type of missile used to target the city of Dhaleh,” Aden Time, April 19, 2019, http://aden-tm.net/NDetails.aspx?contid=79365.

[3] Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 19, 2019, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1118861536800530432.

[4] “Somali President flies to Saudi Arabia,” Mareeg, April 19, 2019, https://mareeg.com/somali-president-flies-to-saudi-arabia/; and “Somaliland president pays 2nd visit to UAE in a month,” Garowe, April 19, 2019, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somaliland/somalia-somaliland-president-pays-2nd-visit-to-uae-in-a-month.

[5] “Sudan’s professionals to announce nominees for transitional civilian council,” Sudan Tribune, April 19, 2019, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article67399; and “US praises Sudan, sends envoy to Khartoum,” Agence France Presse, April 19, 2019, https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/africa/US-encouraged-in-Sudan-sends-envoy/4552902-5078714-pr7c5j/index.html.

[6] “Ethiopia appoints new Defense, Foreign Ministers,” New Business Ethiopia, April 18, 2019, https://newbusinessethiopia.com/ethiopia-appoints-new-defense-foreign-ministers/.

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Yemen: New Speaker of Parliament meets UN, U.S., and Hadi government officials in Riyadh; UN Security Council urges all parties to agree to al Hudaydah redeployments; AQAP offers prisoner swap with the Islamic State in Yemen; al Houthi forces fire Zilzal 1 missiles at Saudi-led coalition-backed forces in al Dhaleh

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab detonates VBIED and car bomb in Mogadishu; al Shabaab kills Ethiopian and South West State soldiers in Baidoa; EU naval commander meets UN officials in Mogadishu; Sudanese military arrests President Bashir’s brothers

Yemen Security Brief

Speaker of Parliament Sultan al Barqani met with U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tueller in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on April 18. Barqani also met with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, UN Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, Chairman of the UN Redeployment Coordination Committee Michael Lollesgaard, and the Hadi-aligned Governor of al Hudaydah governorate in Riyadh on April 17. Yemeni parliamentarians elected Barqani Speaker on April 17 during the first session of Yemeni parliament of the civil war. Ambassador Tueller and U.S. CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie separately discussed counterterrorism cooperation with President Hadi in Riyadh on April 15.[1]

The UN Security Council expressed “grave concern” that the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement has not been implemented on April 18. The Security Council urged all parties to agree to the concept of operations for the second phase of the Stockholm Agreement. The second phase requires al Houthi forces to withdraw from al Hudaydah port and critical humanitarian sites in al Hudaydah city in western Yemen. Emirati-backed Yemeni forces would then withdraw several kilometers from their current positions on the outskirts of al Hudaydah city.[2]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) offered to conduct a prisoner exchange with the Islamic State in Yemen in an attempt to mediate recent clashes between the groups. AQAP promised to free all of its members that are currently in captivity and vowed that anyone who harms them will pay a “swift price.”[3]

Al Houthi forces fired three Zilzal 1 missiles at Saudi-led coalition-backed forces along the Maris front near Damt city in al Dhaleh governorate in central Yemen on April 17.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) and a car bomb in Mogadishu on April 17. The car bomb detonated outside a hotel along Makka al Mukarama road and targeted an intelligence official from Galmudug state, who escaped unharmed. Al Shabaab militants subsequently detonated a VIBED outside a restaurant near the Waberi district police station, killing at least four people.[5]

Al Shabaab killed an Ethiopian soldier from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and a member of the South West State security forces in Baidoa, the capital of Bay region in southern Somalia, on April 17.[6]

European Union Naval Forces Somalia (EU NAVFOR) commander Rear Admiral Ricardo Hernandez arrived in Mogadishu on April 17 for meetings with UN and international officials. NAVFOR is a counter-piracy mission that covers the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean.[7]

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council announced on April 18 that it has detained two of former President Omar al Bashir’s brothers in an effort to uproot symbols of the previous regime. The Transitional Military Council also claimed that it has brought militias and armed groups loyal to Bashir under military and police control. Military officers overthrew President Bashir on April 11 after months of anti-regime protests. The officers have since announced a two-year transitional military government and moved Bashir to a prison to await trial within Sudan.[8]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan, story streams.


[1] US Embassy Yemen, Twitter, April 18, 2019, https://twitter.com/USEmbassyYemen/status/1118850796487995392; U.S. Central Command, Twitter, April 16, 2019, https://twitter.com/CENTCOMArabic/status/1118179556039561217; “President of the Republic receives the Commander of the U.S. Army Central Command,” President Hadi, April 15, 2019, https://presidenthadi-gov-ye.info/ar/archives/%D8%B1%D8%A6%D9%8A%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%8A%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A8%D9%84-%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84-3/; “The President of the Republic receives the UN envoy,” President Hadi, April 17, 2019, https://presidenthadi-gov-ye.info/ar/archives/%D8%B1%D8%A6%D9%8A%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%8A%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A8%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%A8%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AB-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%85%D9%85%D9%8A-24/; “The President of the Republic receives the Speaker of the House of Representatives,” President Hadi, April 17, 2019, https://presidenthadi-gov-ye.info/ar/archives/%D8%B1%D8%A6%D9%8A%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%8A%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A8%D9%84-%D8%B1%D8%A6%D9%8A%D8%B3-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A7-2/; and “Griffiths, Lollesgaard Carry ‘Hodeidah’s Arrangements’ to Legitimate Government,” Asharq al Awsat, April 18, 2019, https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1684411/griffiths-lollesgaard-carry-hodeidah’s-arrangements-legitimate-government.

[2]“Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Sudan, Libya, Yemen updates, solutions for e-waste, flood response in Iran, online security for children,” UN News, April 17, 2019, https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/04/1036801.

[3] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, April 18, 2019, https://twitter.com/Dr_E_Kendall/status/1118895676866215937.

[4] “Yemeni Missiles Hit Gatherings of Saudi-Backed Forces in Dhale,” Tasnim News Agency, April 18, 2019, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/04/18/1992276/yemeni-missiles-hit-gatherings-of-saudi-backed-forces-in-dhale.

[5] “Car bomb kills 4 at police station and hotel in Somalia,” Garowe, April 18, 2019, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/car-bombs-kill-4-at-police-station-and-hotel-in-somalia; and “UPDATE: Four killed in suicide explosion in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, April 17, 2019, https://mareeg.com/update-four-killed-in-suicide-explosion-in-mogadishu/.

[6] “Al-Shabaab claims killing two soldiers, including Ethiopian,” Radio Shabelle, April 17, 2019, https://www.radioshabelle.com/al-shabaab-claims-killing-two-soldiers-including-ethiopian/.

[7] “Somalia; EU Naval Force chief arrives in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, April 17, 2019, https://mareeg.com/somalia-eu-naval-force-chief-arrives-in-mogadishu/.

[8] “Sudan military arrests Bashir’s brothers, ‘tame’ militia groups,” Africa News, April 18, 2019, https://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/sudan-s-president-bashir-steps-down-govt-sources/; and “Sudan military rulers detain two of Bashir’s brothers,” Daily Monitor, April 18, 2019, https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Sudan-military-rulers-detain-two-of-Bashir-s-brothers/688334-5076888-c6ix55z/index.html.

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Yemen: Hadi government shoots down al Houthi drone in al Hudaydah; Hadi government-aligned Parliament concludes final session in Hadramawt; Saudi-led coalition launches new offensive against al Houthi forces in Hajjah

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims attacks on Kenyan and Ethiopian troops in southern Somalia; Sudanese military government moves President Bashir to prison

Yemen Security Brief

Forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government shot down an al Houthi CORRECTIONA previous edition of the Security Review incorrectly stated that Hadi government forces shot down a helicopter.drone in Tuhayta district in  al Hudaydah governorate on April 17.[1]

Yemeni Parliament concluded its final session on April 17 after convening in Sayun city in Hadramawt governorate in eastern Yemen on April 13. The House of Representatives issued a statement urging the Hadi government not to engage in further negotiations about the Yemen conflict until the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement is implemented.[2] 

The Saudi-led coalition and Hadi government forces launched a new offensive against the al Houthi movement in Hiran district in Hajjah governorate in northern Yemen on April 16. The coalition conducted multiple airstrikes against al Houthi forces. Al Houthi forces repelled the offensive, according to al Houthi media.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab claimed to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a convoy of Kenyan soldiers in Ras Kamboni town near the Somalia-Kenya border in southern Somalia on April 15. Al Shabaab claimed to kill 15 soldiers and wound nine others. Al Shabaab separately claimed to detonate an IED targeting a convoy of Ethiopian soldiers near Hudur town in Bakool region in southern Somalia on April 14, killing six soldiers. Neither attack is confirmed.[4]

Sudanese authorities moved Sudan’s recently deposed President, Omar al Bashir, from his residence to a prison in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on April 17. Sudan’s transitional military council has stated that they will try Bashir in Sudan rather than extradite him to the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges for war crimes in Darfur. The Ugandan government has separately stated that it would consider granting Bashir asylum. The Sudanese military ousted Bashir on April 11 after months of anti-regime protests.[5]


[1] “The army announces the downing of a Houthi military aircraft south of Hodeidah,” Musnad, April 17, 2019, http://mosnad.com/news.php?id=44564.

[2] “Text of the final statement issued by the meetings of the House of Representatives in Hadramawt,” Nashwan News, April 17, 2019, https://nashwannews.com/122760/%D9%86%D8%B5-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AE%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%85/.

[3] “Saudi Coalition suffers large number of casualties in failed Yemeni border offensive,” Al Masdar News, April 17, 2019, https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/saudi-coalition-suffers-large-number-of-casualties-in-failed-yemeni-border-offensive/.

[4] “Shabaab claims killing 15 Kenyan and 6 Ethiopian troops in separate bombings in Bakool and Lower Juba,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 16, 2019, English translation available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com

[5] “Sudan's Bashir Moved to Khartoum's Kobar Prison: Family Sources,” Reuters, April 17, 2019, http://news.trust.org/item/20190417082851-g13qz/.

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