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: President Hadi’s cabinet reshuffle sparks protests in Aden; AQAP kills 30 al Houthi-Saleh fighters in al Bayda; Aden security forces thwart suicide attack; Emirati-backed security forces detain Hadi government military commander

Horn of Africa: Militants assassinate electoral college delegate; prominent Somali Islamist denounces emerging Egyptian group al Sadiun bil Haq

Yemen Security Brief

Protesters in Aden demonstrated against Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s decision to remove Southern Movement leaders from his government on April 28. Hadi issued a presidential order on April 27 to replace Aden governor Aydarus al Zubaidi with a personal advisor and remove Minister of State Hani Ali bin Brik pending an unspecified investigation. Zubaidi and bin Brik are both closely aligned with the UAE, which is reportedly bypassing the Hadi government to engage in  Russia-mediated talks with former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. President Hadi’s reshuffle follows open feuding between the Hadi government and Southern Movement, which culminated in Zubaidi claiming to “override” President Hadi in Aden on April 27. Aden media reported explosions and small arms fire Aden’s al Mansoura district early on April 28 and low-flying Emirati fighter jets on April 27. Hadi government-controlled media distributed statements from prominent governors and military leaders in support of President Hadi’s decision on April 28. Emirati Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash responded to the shake-up by accusing Hadi of giving priority to “personal, family, and party interest over the national interest.”[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) killed 30 al Houthi-Saleh troops in central Yemen on April 27. AQAP conducted a multi-pronged attack on an al Houthi-Saleh position in Zahir, southern al Bayda governorate.[2]

Two militants wearing southern Yemeni military uniforms attempted to conduct a suicide vest (SVEST) attack on a military base in al Mansoura district, Aden city, southern Yemen, on April 28. Security personnel killed one of the SVEST attackers. The second bomber fled the area. Security forces last interdicted a suicide bomber dressed in a military uniform in al Tawahi district, Aden city on April 8.[3]

Emirati-backed security officials at Aden International Airport attempted to detain Fourth Brigade commander Brigadier General Mehran Qabati as he returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia on April 27. Security officials held Qabati for four hours before forcing him to return to Riyadh. Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar supports Qabati, a northern Yemeni whom some southern fighters have accused of embezzling security funds.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Unidentified militants killed Mohamed Guray, an electoral college delegate and tribal elder, in Galkayo, Puntland, central Somalia. Guray served as an electoral delegate in the fall 2016 Somali parliamentary elections. Al Shabaab has conducted a series of assassinations targeting delegates and elders in Mogadishu since early 2017.[5]

Prominent Salafi-jihadi scholar and former al Shabaab leader Daud Aweys denounced the formation of al Sadiun bil Haq, an Egyptian Islamist group with a Somali contingent, on April 28. Aweys encouraged the Somali government to engage in dialogue with the group rather than attack it. Puntland state authorities banned al Sadiun bil Haq and denounced its members as extremists after several local Somali Islamist factions pledged allegiance to the group on April 15.[6]

[1] “Massive marches in Aden to denounce the government’s decisions targeting symbols of the resistance,” Aden Lange, April 28, 2017,; “In its third year of war, Yemen risks fragmentation,” The Economist, April 27, 2017,; “Breaking: Explosion follows clashes rocking the northern districts of Aden,” Aden Lange, April 28, 2017,; Tyler Nocita and Maher Farrukh, “Yemen Crisis Situation Report: April 28, 2017,” Critical Threats Project, April 28, 2017,; “Fighter jets getting close to our heads,” Twitter, April 27, 2017,; and “Emirati FM on ‘the real problem’”, Twitter, April 28, 2017,
[2] AQAP claims its militants killed thirty al Houthi-Saleh troops in Zahir, al Bayda, Telegram, April 28, 2017.
[3] “Urgent: killed a suicide bomber tried to sneak into the emergency forces camp in Mansoura to blow himself up (additional copy),” Aden Lang, April 28, 2017,
[4] “The detention of commander of the fourth brigade of the presidential guard at Aden airport after returning from Riyadh,” Aden Lange, April 27, 2017,; and “Battalion commander accuses the leader Mehran Qabati of seizing fighters’ salaries,” Aden Tomorrow, April 28, 2017,
[5] “Gunmen kill prominent elder in Galkaayo,” Goobjoog, April 28, 2017,
[6] “Sheikh Awes Speaks Out Against New Islamist Group Al-Saadiun Bilhaq,” All Africa, April 28, 2017,; and “Somalia: Puntland issues ban on al Sadi’un bil Haq group,” Garowe Online, April 15, 2017,

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