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: Al Houthi forces launch ballistic missile targeting Najran city, Saudi Arabia; Hadi government forces seize Malahit city, Sa’ada governorate; Hadi government forces begin offensive to seize Haradh city, Hajjah governorate

Horn of Africa: ISIS militants assassinate SNA soldier in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region; attackers kill three people and wound 50 others in Ethiopia’s Oromia region

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces launched a Zilzal 2 ballistic missile targeting Najran city, Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on April 16. Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al Maliki claimed Saudi air defenses intercepted the missile. Col. al Maliki also stated that the al Houthi movement has launched 119 ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia since the start of Saudi military intervention in Yemen during a press conference in Khobar city, Eastern region, Saudi Arabia on April 16.[1]

Hadi government forces seized al Malahit city from al Houthi forces in al Zaher district, western Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen on April 15. Hadi government control of al Malahit cuts off al Houthi supply lines leading from Sa’ada city to Haradh city in Hajjah governorate, according to local sources. Sa’ada governorate is the historic stronghold of the al Houthi movement.[2] 

Hadi government forces began an offensive to seize Haradh city from al Houthi forces in northern Hajjah governorate, northwestern Yemen on April 17. Hadi government forces seized Midi city, west of Haradh city, from al Houthi forces on April 10. The Saudi-led coalition previously deployed troops to Haradh district for an offensive on Haradh city on March 6.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

ISIS-linked ‘Amaq News Agency released a video showing ISIS militants assassinating a Somali National Army (SNA) soldier in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on April 16. Afgoi officials denied the presence of ISIS militants in the region in February 2018. ISIS last released a video showing the assassination of a Somali intelligence agent in Afgoi in early March 2018. ISIS has claimed five attacks in Somalia in  2018.[4]

Attackers wielding guns and a grenade killed at least three people and wounded 50 others in Moyale town in Oromia region, southern Ethiopia on April 17. The Oromia regional security bureau accused security forces from Ethiopia’s Somali region of conducting the attack. Other activists blamed the Liyu Police, an Ethiopian Somali paramilitary force, for the April 17 attack.  Ethiopia’s first Oromo prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, visited the Somali region’s capital Jigjiga, where he promoted ethnic unity. Ethiopian security forces cracking down on alleged Oromo militants killed several civilians in Moyale town and displaced thousands of people into Kenya on March 10.[5]

[1] “Command of Joint Forces of the Coalition: Saudi Royal Air Force intercepts ballistic missile launched by Huthi militia towards the Kingdom,” SPA, April 17, 2018,; “Spokesman for the coalition forces reviews Iranian-Houthi drones fired on Abha threatening global security,” SPA, April 17, 2018,; and “Houthi forces launch Zilzal 2 at Najran, Saudi Arabia,” Al Masirah, April 16, 2018 ,
[2] “Legitimate forces approach the hometown of Abdul Malik al Houthi in Sa’ada,” Sky News, April 15, 2018,; “Legitimate forces control Suq al Malahit in Sa’ada governorate,” Al Yemen Today, April 16, 2018,; and “Breaking: Legitimate forces approach the hometown of Abdul Malik al Houthi in Sa’ada,” Aden Tomorrow, April 16, 2018,
[3] “The National Army and Arab Alliance begin the battle to liberate the port and border town of Haradh,” Aden Tomorrow, April 17, 2018,; and “Legitimate forces are approaching the opening of Haradh port with Saudi Arabia and the liberation of the hometown of Abdul Malik al Houthi,” Emarat Al Youm, April 27, 2018,
[4] “'Amaq Video Shows Somali Soldier Killed by Gunfire in Afgoye,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 16, 2018, available by subscription at; ISIS claims to assassinate a Somali National Army soldier in Afgoi, Telegram, April 15, 2018.
[5] “News: Grenade explosion, gunshot kills three, wounds more than 50 in Moyale town,” Addis Standard, April 17, 2018,; and “Bomb blast in Ethiopia kills 3, Oromia region blames Ethio-Somali militia,” Africa News, April 17, 2018,

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