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 a drone and a ballistic missile targeting Emirati positions in western Yemen; Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces kill local AQAP leader and militant in al Wade’a district, Abyan governorate; ISIS claims attack targeting “Yemeni Army” forces in al Bayda governorate

Horn of Africa: Sierra Leonean police officers deploy to assist Somali police in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; SNA forces attack al Shabaab militants in Hiraan region, central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces claimed to attack an Emirati command center and missile defense system with a drone and ballistic missile strike in al Mokha city, western Taiz governorate and Mushij city, in western al Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen on April 17. Emirati forces intercepted a ballistic missile near al Khokha city, southwestern al Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen and a Qasef-1 kamikaze drone on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, according to Emirati sources. Al Houthi forces disabled an Emirati Patriot air defense system by striking the system with an explosive kamikaze drone before launching a ballistic missile at the site in Mokha district, Taiz governorate, western Yemen on February 18.[1]

Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces killed a local al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader and militant in al Wade’a district, central Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on April 18. AQAP militants have conducted three attacks against al Hizam Security Forces in al Wade’a district since January 7.[2]

Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat al Bayda in Yemen claimed its militants attacked “Yemeni Army” forces in Qayfa area, northwestern al Bayda governorate, southwestern Yemen on April 16. ISIS shared images on social media of captured “Yemeni Army” troops and equipment from the attack. ISIS Wilayat al Bayda typically targets al Houthi forces in al Bayda. ISIS may have been referring to al Houthi forces as Yemeni Army forces. [3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The government of Sierra Leone deployed 160 Formed Police Unit officers to Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on April 17. The government of Sierra Leone sent the police forces to mentor Jubbaland State police forces implementing law enforcement reform programs. The contingent is the largest police unit that Sierra Leone has sent under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). AMISOM forces are training and recruiting Somali police officers in order to transfer security responsibilities to Somali forces.[4]

The Somali National Army (SNA) killed about 30 al Shabaab militants in an offensive across Hiraan region, central Somalia on April 17. An SNA spokesman said that security forces attacked al Shabaab militants along the highway connecting Beledweyne, Mahas, and Mataban towns. Al Shabaab frequently targets security forces with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and ambushes on the roads in central Somalia.[5]

[1] A Joint operation of the missile force and airforce targeting the herds of invaders in the West Coast,” al Masirah, April 17, 2018,; “Joint operation of missile force and air force directed at invaders and mercenaries,” Saba New, April 17, 2018,; and “UAE Armed Forces intercept Iranian plane loaded with explosives,” WAM, April 18, 2018,
[2] “Al Qaeda Leader and another militant killed in clashes against security forces in Abyan,” Al Masdar, April 18, 2018,; and Pictures of al Qaeda members killed by security operation in Abyan,” Aden Tomorrow, April 18, 2018,
[3] “ISIS posts photos of fighting the Yemen army in Qafa, al Bayda,” Twitter, April 16, 2018,; and Part of the attack by the soldiers of the caliphate on the positions of the Yemeni army apostate in the region Qiva, Telegram, April 16, 2018.
[4] “Sierra Leone deploys 160 police officers to Somalia,” AMISOM, April 18, 2018,; “Sierra Leone deploys Police trainers to Somalia,” Hiiraan Online, April 18, 2018,; and “Sierra Leone deploys 160 police officers to Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, April 18, 2018,
[5] “Somalia: Militants killed in extensive army operation in Hiran,” Garowe Online, April 17, 2018,; “Somali military says 30 fighters killed in offensive against Al-Shabab,” Radio Shabelle, April 17, 2018,; and “Somalia army kills 30 al-Shabab militants in fighting,” Xinhua, April 17, 2018,

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