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 fire a Zilzal 2 ballistic missile targeting Saudi-led coalition troops near Najran city, Saudi Arabia; UN Special Envoy to Yemen discusses negotiation proposal with Hadi government officials

Horn of Africa: SFG nullifies deal between Ministry of Defense and UAE-based logistics company; former al Shabaab scholar criticizes al Shabaab’s leadership

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces launched a Zilzal 2 ballistic missile targeting Saudi-led coalition forces near Jabal al Sudais, south of Najran city, southern Saudi Arabia on April 25. The al Houthi movement has fired three ballistic missiles at Najran region, Saudi Arabia in April.[1]

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths outlined three aspects of his proposed plan for negotiations during meetings with Hadi government officials, according to Asharq al Awsat newspaper. Griffiths proposed disarming unspecified groups, incorporating al Houthi officials into the Yemeni government, and holding national elections. Griffiths announced his plan for a framework for negotiations to be implemented within two months during a briefing to the UN Security Council on April 17. Griffiths also postponed a visit to Sana’a city to meet with al Houthi officials and will instead travel to Oman to meet with al Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam, according to sources from Asharq al Awsat.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The Somali Federal Government (SFG) nullified a secret deal between the Ministry of Defense and a private UAE-based logistics company on April 25. The Ministry of Defense signed the deal with UAE-based SKA International for logistical support. The SFG stated that former Minister of Defense Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman did not follow the proper procurement process of signing with a private company that is mandated by the Somali Ministry of Finance. The nullification follows the cancellation of a military agreement between the UAE and SFG after months of tensions that began with the SFG’s neutrality towards Qatar in the Gulf crisis.[3]

Former senior al Shabaab official Hassan Dahir Aweys criticized al Shabaab in a video statement on April 25. Aweys defended the defection of former al Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow, stating that al Shabaab leadership betrayed Robow after he disagreed with the group’s leadership. Robow defected to the SFG on August 13, 2017. Aweys also accused al Shabaab of assassinating his former colleagues and criticized the group for killing unarmed civilians. Aweys previously led the shura council of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which was a group of Sharia courts established in 2006 that led to the formation of al Shabaab. Somali security forces arrested Aweys in June 2013. Aweys has been in house arrest in Mogadishu since his arrest.[4]

[1] “Zilzal 2 missile launched on Saudi-led coalition forces in Najran,” Saba, April 25, 2018,; “Zilzal 2 missile launched against Saudi-led coalition troops in Najran,” Al Masirah, April 25, 2018,; and “Saudi Arabia: A citizen was injured by the fall of Houthi shrapnel in Najran,” Aden Tomorrow, April 26, 2018,
[2] “Features of Griffiths’ plan for Yemen: a transitional phase ending in elections,” Asharq Al Awsat, April 26, 2018,; and “UN Envoy postpones a visit to Sana’a,” Aden Tomorrow, April 26, 2018,
[3] “Somali government abolishes alleged deal with SKA International,” Radio Shabelle, April 26, 2018,; “Somalia cancels SKA International agreement,” Mustaqbal Radio, April 26, 2018,; “Somalia Govt Nullifies Ministry Of Defence Deal With UAE Company SKA,” Radio Dalsan, April 26, 2018,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 25, 2018,
[4] “Ex Al-Shabaab leader Aweys Bashes Militant Group Over Robow Death Threat,” Radio Dalsan, April 26, 2018,; “Radical scholar launches furious attack on Al Shabaab,” Mareeg, April 25, 2018,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 25, 2018,

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