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 movement warns oil vessel could leak in Red Sea; Doctors Without Borders suspends operations in Taiz amid clashes; al Houthi forces shoot down Saudi-led coalition drones in al Hudaydah and Najran

Horn of Africa: Senior al Shabaab official surrenders to SFG in Gedo; African Union grants Sudan more time for transition to civilian rule

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement severed the Ma’rib-Ras Issa oil pipeline from a floating and storage offloading vessel off the coast of Ras Issa port in al Hudaydah governorate in western Yemen on April 21. Chairman of the al Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee Mohammad Ali al Houthi warned that one million barrels of crude oil contained in the pipeline could leak into the Red Sea. Al Houthi blamed the Saudi-led coalition for preventing the al Houthi movement from selling the oil and said that the coalition would be responsible for any fallout from a spill. The Yemen Oil and Gas Corporation warned against removing oil from the Ma’rib-Ras Issa pipeline earlier in April. The pipeline has corroded since the Yemen Oil and Gas Corporation stopped pumping oil through it in September 2014.[1]

Clashes between unidentified armed groups killed five people and injured 91 others in Taiz governorate in southern Yemen on April 23. Doctors Without Borders suspended operations in Taiz governorate in in response to the clashes.[2]

Al Houthi forces claimed to shoot down two Saudi-led coalition reconnaissance drones on April 22. Al Houthi forces shot down one drone in the Kilo 16 area of al Hudaydah governorate in northern Yemen and shot the other in Najran region in southern Saudi Arabia.[3]

Horn of Africa Brief

Senior al Shabaab official Aden Abdi Mohamed “Aden Obe” surrendered to the Somali Federal Government (SFG) near Bardhere town in Gedo region in southern Somalia on April 23. Obe surrendered along with an al Shabaab taxation official, Food Aden Mohamoud. Obe served in various capacities in al Shabaab, including as a member of al Shabaab’s Shura Council at one point. Obe was most recently the head of al Shabaab’s logistics in Lower Jubba region, according to Somali officials.[4]

Egyptian President and African Union Chairperson Abdel Fatah al Sisi hosted a special African Union session on Sudan and Libya in Cairo on April 23. The African Union agreed to grant Sudan’s Transitional Military Council three months to step aside for a civilian government. The African Union labeled the Transitional Military Council’s ouster of President Omar al Bashir earlier this month a coup. The African Union initially called on the military leaders to step aside within 15 days. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates separately pledged to give three billion U.S. dollars in emergency aid to Sudan on April 21. Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have expressed support for the Transitional Military Council.[5]

Visit our Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and Egypt story streams.

[1] “Houthi leader threatens to pollute Red Sea waters,” Al Mashad al Yemeni, April 23, 2019,; Mohammed Ali al Houthi, Twitter, April 21, 2019,; and “Al Houthi militias are committing a catastrophic environmental crime,” Sky News Arabia, April 23, 2019,

[2] “Doctors without Borders: 3 dead and 91 wounded in Taiz clashes,” Yemen Window, April 23, 2019,

[3] “Army shot down new Saudi-led reconnaissance aircraft in Hodeidah,” SABA Net, April 22, 2019,

[4] Harun Maruf, “Senior Al-Shabab leader defects, surrenders to Somali government,” Voice of America, April 23, 2019,

[5] David Pilling and Heba Saleh, “African Union gives Sudan army more time to cede power,” Financial Times, April 23, 2019,; “African summit gives Sudan military three months for reforms,” Reuters, April 23, 2019,; and “Sudan receives $3 billion from Saudi Arabia, UAE,” Africa News, April 22, 2019,

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