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: UN Special Envoy to Yemen convenes negotiations to prevent coalition offensive on al Hudaydah port; Hadi government requests UN oversight of al Hudaydah port; al Houthi-Saleh forces resume hostilities in Sirwah district, Ma’rib governorate

Horn of Africa: Somalia and Turkey sign bilateral agreement; Jubbaland and AMISOM forces recapture village from al Shabaab militants in Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab militants kill Somali intelligence officer in Mogadishu city; Somali troops kill five civilians during internecine clash in Hodan district, Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief  

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced that the al Houthi-Saleh bloc, President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government, and the Saudi-led coalition entered preliminary negotiations to stave off a planned coalition offensive on al Hudaydah port in western Yemen. Al Hudaydah is the primary entry point for humanitarian aid into areas under al Houthi-Saleh control. Ould Cheikh Ahmed stated on April 26 that preventing an attack on al Hudaydah will establish grounds to negotiate a ceasefire before the month of Ramadan begins on May 27. Al Houthi-Saleh representatives voiced interest in a proposed plan for the coalition to forego the offensive in exchange for higher inspection standards on aid shipments entering through al Hudaydah.[1]

The Hadi government repeated its request that the UN oversee al Hudaydah port to prevent al Houthi-Saleh forces from smuggling weapons on April 26. Hadi government Foreign Minister Abdul Malik al Mikhlafi also submitted a formal request for the UN to stop delivering aid to Taiz city through al Hudaydah port, which is controlled by the al Houthi-Saleh faction. Mikhlafi claimed that al Houthi-Saleh forces are holding 180 medical and food aid trucks hostage outside of Taiz city. The Hadi government wants the UN to use the port of Aden to facilitate delivery along a Hadi government-controlled route to Taiz.[2]

Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a barrage of Katyusha rockets at Hadi government forces in Sirwah district, central Ma’rib governorate, on April 27. The attack killed at least eight Hadi government soldiers and wounded twenty others. The attack marks an uptick in violence for Sirwah district. Al Houthi-Saleh forces attack on the Sirwah frontline to prevent Hadi government forces stationed in Ma’rib city from advancing west toward the Yemeni capital of Sana’a.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief  

The Somali and Turkish foreign ministers signed a bilateral agreement on April 26. The agreement will facilitate trade, investments, education, defense, and other shared interests. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the international community for failing to provide sufficient humanitarian aid to Somalia after meeting with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in Ankara, Turkey on April 26. Turkey also transferred funds to the Somali Central Bank to support Somalia’s federal budget on April 26.[4]

Jubbaland forces backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces recaptured a village in southern Lower Jubba region from al Shabaab militants on April 26. Al Shabaab militants withdrew from Janay Abdala village after learning that AMISOM forces were en route, according to residents.[5]

Al Shabaab militants killed Somali intelligence officer Colonel Mohamud Haji in Shibis district, Mogadishu city on April 27. Colonel Haji served with the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) as part of a unit responsible for combating al Shabaab.[6]

Somali National Army (SNA) troops clashed among themselves in Hodan district, Mogadishu on April 27. The firefight in a qat market near Sei Piano village killed five civilians. Local police intervened to end the fight.[7]

[1] AFP, “UN eyes new Yemen peace talks by end of May,” al Monitor, April 26, 2017,
[2] Stephanie Nebehay, “Yemen govt seeks UN oversight of port: prime minister,” Reuters, April 26, 2017,; and “Yemeni government calls for the UN to change course of relief to port of Aden,” al Masdar, April 27, 2017,
[3] “Eight government soldiers, including an officer, killed by Katyusha rockets in Sirwah, Ma’rib,” al Masdar, April 27, 2017,; “Nine national army personnel killed in a missile strike targeting their positions in Ma’rib,” Aden Tomorrow, April 27, 2017,
[4] “​Somalia, Turkey sign bilateral agreements during Farmajo’s visit,” Garowe, April 27, 2017,; and “Somalia: Turkish Cash money was deposited into the Somali Central Bank,” Geeska Afrika Online, April 27, 2017,
[5] “Somalia: Jubaland, AU troops recapture town from al-Shabaab,” Garowe, April 26, 2017,
[6] “​Somalia: Gunmen kill Intelligence officer in Mogadishu,” Garowe, April 27, 2017,; and “Somalia's al Shabaab kills senior national security officer - police,” Reuters, April 27, 2017,
[7] “Somalia: 5 Killed in Inter-Government Forces Fight in Mogadishu,” Somali Update, April 26, 2017,

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