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 attack Saudi oil tanker off the coast of al Hudaydah port; al Houthi forces fire ballistic missile targeting Hadi government forces in Ma’rib governorate; STC President returns to Aden city

Horn of Africa: Somali Lower House Speaker and President deploy security forces to parliament building amid no-confidence vote against the Speaker; Ethiopian authorities release activists and journalists; Germany ends military mission in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement attacked a Saudi oil tanker with a surface -to-ship missile off the coast of al Hudaydah port, western Yemen on April 3. The al Houthi attack lightly damaged the oil tanker, according to Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al Maliki. Col. Maliki stated that coalition naval vessels “repelled” the attack. The al Houthi movement claimed that the attack was in response to a Saudi-led coalition airstrike that killed 12 civilians in Hali district, east of al Hudaydah Port in western Yemen on April 2. The White House called on the al Houthi movement to cease escalating the Yemen conflict following the al Houthi attack on the Saudi oil tanker in a press statement on April 4.[1] 

Al Houthi forces fired a Qaher 2-M ballistic missile at Hadi government forces in al Kamb area, Majzar district, western Ma’rib governorate, northern Yemen on April 4. The missile failed to hit its target and fell in the Beni Saba’ah area, Arhab district, Sana’a governorate, northern Yemen, according to southern sources.[2]

Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) President Aydarus Qasim al Zubaidi returned to Aden city after a two-month stay in the UAE on April 3. Al Zubaidi traveled to the UAE on February 3 to discuss issues of southern autonomy with Emirati officials. UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths postponed a visit to Aden city scheduled for April 5 due to security concerns.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The Somali Lower House Speaker and President sent security forces to the parliament building to intervene in a no-confidence vote on April 4. A Somali police contingent loyal to Lower House Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari deployed to the parliament building. Members of parliament (MPs) who tabled a vote of no confidence against Jawari accused the Jawari-aligned police of blocking their entrance into the parliament building. President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo responded by deploying Somali National Army (SNA), African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), and Danab Special Forces outside of the building. Jawari accused Farmajo of supporting the no-confidence motion and requesting his resignation. The deployments delayed the motion against Jawari. MPs intend to re-initiate the motion after the standoff.[4]

Ethiopian authorities released recently detained journalists and political activists on April 4. Security forces arrested activists from the Oromo and Amhara communities, citing violations of the state of emergency on March 25. The arrested journalists and activists included individuals that Ethiopian authorities freed in February 2018 after former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced political reforms in response to widespread anti-government protests.[5]

The German Armed Forces officially ended their military mission in Somalia on April 3. German troops had participated in a European Union (EU) training mission since 2010. The German Ministry of Defense announced the end of Germany’s participation in February 2018, citing a lack of progress due to contentious Somali politics and funding difficulties. German government representatives will still support the EU training mission with political assistance to the Somali Federal Government, however.[6]

[1] “Saudi oil tanker hit in Houthi attack off Yemen: Coalition,” Reuters, April 3, 2018,; “Arab coalition repels al Houthi attack targeting Saudi oil tanker west of al Hudaydah Port,” 26 Septmeber, April 3, 2018,; “Statement by the Press Secretary on the Houthi Commercial Maritime Attack,” White House, April 4, 2018,; and “Yemeni source: targeting a Saudi oil tanker with a land to sea missile in the Red Sea,” Al Mayadeen, April 03, 2018,
[2] “The Qaher 2-M ballistic missile type fired at a gathering of mercenaries in al Kamb, Ma’rib,” Saba News, April 4, 2018,; and “It fell in Arhab and did not explode, the Houthis fail to launch a ballistic missile,” Al Masdar April 4, 2018,
[3] “President Zubaydi returns to the capital Aden,” STC Aden, April 3, 2018,; and “Zubaydi returns to Aden,” Aden Tomorrow, April 3, 2018,; “Postponement of UN envoy’s visit to Aden due to security chaos,” Aden Tomorrow, April 4, 2018,
[4] “Standoff at Somalia’s Parliament Blocks Move to Oust Opposition Leader,” The New York Times, April 4, 2018,; “Amisom Intervenes As Somalia Falls Deeper Into Crisis After Anti Jawari Motion Flops,” Radio Dalsan, April 4, 2018,; “Somali parliament suspended as AU troops take full charge after stand-off,” Goobjoog, April 4, 2018,; “Few MPs, more security forces as motion against Jawari staggers,” Goobjoog, April 4, 2018,; “Somali MPs to vote on the impeachment motion against speaker,” Radio Shabelle, April 4, 2018,; “Troops loyal to embattled speaker seize parliament building,” Radio Shabelle, April 4, 2018,; and “Mogadishu under lockdown ahead of House debate on motion against Jawari,” Hiiraan Online, April 4, 2018,
[5] “Ethiopia frees journalists, politicians rearrested under martial law,” Africa News, April 4, 2018,; and “News: Despite promises of release on individual bail, rearrested journalists, bloggers and opposition politicians remain in police custody,” Addis Standard, April 4, 2018,
[6] “Germany ends military mission in Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, April 4, 2018,; and “Germany ends military mission in Somalia,” Xinhua, April 4, 2018,

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