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: Emirati-backed Yemeni forces shoot down al Houthi drone in al Hudaydah governorate; President Hadi nominates new Head of Parliament; Doctors Without Borders suspends work at hospital in Aden city; Emirati-backed Yemeni forces complete operations against AQAP in part of Shabwah governorate

Horn of Africa: Somali police warn of al Shabaab plot in Mogadishu; U.S.-backed SNA forces fire on civilian bus near Mogadishu; Kenya and Somalia agree to return ambassadors to posts; Eritrea accuses Turkey, Qatar, and Sudan of backing Islamist opposition groups

Yemen Security Brief

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces shot down an al Houthi drone in western al Tuhayta district in southern al Hudaydah governorate in western Yemen on April 4. The drone was carrying explosives.[1]

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi nominated Abdel Wahab Mu’awadha to replace Yahya al Ra’i as the Head of Parliament on April 4. Mu’awadha is a member of the General People’s Congress (GPC) party while al Ra’i is a member of the al Houthi movement and is based in al Houthi-controlled Sana’a. Assistant Secretary-General of the GPC Sultan al Barqani left Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 4 in protest of President Hadi’s selection.[2]

Doctors Without Borders suspended work at al Sadaqah hospital in Aden city in southern Yemen on April 3 due to concerns about the deteriorating security situation in the city. Armed men stormed the hospital and killed a patient on April 2. The President of the Southern Transitional Council’s National Assembly, Ahmed Said Bin Brik, condemned the attack during a visit to the hospital on April 4. [3]

Emirati-backed Yemeni security forces claimed to complete operations against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Markhah al ‘Ulya district in Shabwah governorate in central Yemen on April 3. The operations are part of Operation White Mountains, which the security forces launched on March 26.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali Federal Government (SFG) police warned of a possible al Shabaab vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu on April 3. Police released photos of the suspected vehicle. Al Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu killed more than 30 people in the last week of March.[5]

U.S.-backed Somali National Army (SNA) forces fired on a civilian bus in Ugunji in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on April 4. The bus was en route to Mogadishu when the soldiers fired on it, killing one civilian and injuring six others. The SNA has not commented on the incident.[6]

Kenya and the SFG expressed their respective desires to normalize relations and agreed to allow their ambassadors to return their respective posts on April 3. Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Monica Juma and SFG Foreign Minister Ahmed Isse Awad met in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on April 3 to discuss the restoration of diplomatic relations. Kenya recalled its ambassador to Somalia and expelled the SFG’s ambassador to Nairobi in February after accusing the SFG of auctioning oil blocks in a disputed maritime territory.[7]

Eritrea accused Turkey, Qatar, and Sudan of supporting Islamist opposition groups in Eritrea on April 3. Eritrea specifically accused the Turkish ruling party and Qatari intelligence of backing the Eritrean Muslim League. The Eritrean government claimed that the countries in question are attempting to sabotage Eritrea’s peace agreement with Ethiopia.[8]

View our Yemen, Somalia, Kenya, Eritrea, Turkey, Qatar, Sudan, and Ethiopia story streams.

[1] “Yemeni pro-gov’t forces shoot down Houthi drone in Hodeidah,” Xinhua Net, April 4, 2019,

[2] “Differences of legitimacy camp disrupt the revival of the Yemeni president,” Al Mawqea al Yemen, April 4, 2019,

[3] MSF Yemen, Twitter, April 3, 2019,; MSF Yemen, Twitter, April 3, 2019,; “Yemen: MSF suspends medical admissions in Aden after a patient is kidnapped and killed,” Relief Web, April 4, 2019,; and “Major General Bin Brek visits Doctors Without Borders hospital,” STC Aden, April 4, 2019,

[4] Bassam Abdel Salam, “Shaban cut off al Qaeda supply between Shabwah and Abyan,” Al Ittihad, April 4, 2019,

[5] Radio Dalsan, Twitter, April 3, 2019,; and “Somali police warn of a possible terror attack in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, April 4, 2019,

[6] “Somalia: 1 dead, six injured in bus attack,” Mareeg, April 4, 2019,

[7] Jeremiah Wakaya, “Kenya-Somalia tensions thaw with envoys due back in stations,” Capital News, April 3, 2019,; and “Somalia, Kenya agree to normalize relations,” Mareeg, April 3, 2019,

[8] “Eritrea accuses Sudan, Turkey and Qatar of supporting opposition Islamist groups,” Sudan Tribune, April 3, 2019,

View Citations
Arrow down red
May '19
Apr '19
Mar '19