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: Islamic State in Yemen claims suicide bombing and attack on AQAP in al Bayda; UK Foreign Secretary meets with Saudi, UAE, and U.S. representatives in London; Abu Abbas Brigade withdraws from Taiz city; Southern National Coalition holds inaugural meeting in Aden; Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes against al Houthi forces in Dhamar

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED in Mandera; SFG Parliament alleges Kenyan military destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of telecoms equipment in Somalia; Sudan’s military council and opposition agree to joint council

Yemen Security Brief

The Islamic State in Yemen claimed to kill eight Yemeni army soldiers and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) supporters in a suicide bombing in Dhi Kalib al Asfal in the Qayfa area of northwestern al Bayda governorate on April 26. The Islamic State in Yemen also claimed to attack Dhi Kalib al Asfal with Katyusha rockets and heavy weapons on April 26.[1]

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir, Emirati Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, and acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield in London on April 26. The representatives issued a joint declaration reiterating their support for the UN-brokered peace process. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Foreign Minister Khalid al Yamani called for the next meeting to be held in Yemen’s interim capital, Aden.[2]

The Abu Abbas Brigade withdrew from neighborhoods in southern Taiz city to Ma’afir district in Taiz governorate in western Yemen on April 26. Abu Abbas-aligned forces clashed with Islah-aligned forces from April 24 to April 25.[3]

The Southern National Coalition (SNC) held its inaugural meeting in Aden city on April 27. Representatives discussed the political and legal vision for the coalition and formed a twenty-three person executive body. The SNC previously tried to hold its inaugural conference in Cairo in March, but Egyptian authorities prevented the coalition from convening. The Southern National Coalition is comprised of representatives from the General People’s Congress, the Islah party, the Southern Peace Movement, and other southern-aligned groups.[4]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes against al Houthi reinforcements in Dawran Anas district in Dhamar governorate in central Yemen on April 27. The al Houthi reinforcements were en route to support al Houthi forces in neighboring al Dhaleh governorate.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) vehicle in Mandera town in northeastern Kenya on April 28. Suspected al Shabaab militants separately detonated an IED targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) vehicle in Weydow village outside the Somali capital Mogadishu on April 28. Somali police arrested as many as 69 suspects in and around Mogadishu following the attack.[6]

The Somali Federal Government’s (SFG’s) Lower House released a report on April 25 that alleges that KDF forces have destroyed more than two million U.S. dollars’ worth of telecommunications equipment in Somalia since 2012. The KDF intervened in Somalia in 2011 to combat al Shabaab and have served under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) since 2012.[7]

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council and opposition leaders agreed in principle to form a joint civilian-military council to lead the country’s transition on April 28. The two sides failed to agree on what role military leaders would play in the council, however. The Transitional Military Council overthrew President Omar al Bashir on April 11 after months of anti-regime protests. Protesters have continued demonstrating since the coup, demanding an immediate transition to civilian rule.[8]

[1]Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, April 28, 2019,; “IS claims further attacks against AQAP on same day as a suicide bombing in Bayda,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 26, 2019, English translation available by subscription at; Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, April 27, 2019,; and “IS claims killing 8 Yemeni soldiers and AQAP loyalists in suicide bombing in al-Bayda,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 26, 2019.

[2] “London meeting to discuss ‘next steps’ for Yemen peace process,” Al Jazeera, April 26, 2019,; and Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Jeremy Hunt, “Yemen Quad meeting in London - joint declaration,” April 27, 2019,; and “Yemeni Foreign Minister: the Quartet will hold its next meeting in Aden” Al Masdar, April 29, 2019,

[3] “The calm returns to the neighborhoods of Taiz after the departure of fighters supported by the UAE,” Al Bawaba, April 28, 2019,

[4] “Chose a presidency of 23 members...Southern National Coalition holds its first conference in Aden,” Al Masdar, April 27, 2019,

[5] “Coalition airstrikes destroy military reinforcements in Dhamar,” September Net, April 27, 2019,

[6] “Kenyan forces hit by explosion in Mandera town,” Mareeg, April 28, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 28, 2019,

[7] “Kenyan forces destroyed telco equipment worth $2.5m in Somalia since 2012-Parliamentary report,” Goobjoog, April 27, 2019,

[8] Peter Beaumont and Zeinab Mohammed Salih, “Sudan’s military and opposition agree on joint council after Bashir ousting,” April 28, 2019,; and “Sources: Sudan military, opposition agree to joint council,” Reuters, April 28, 2019,

View Citations
Arrow down red
May '19
Apr '19