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: Bakil Tribal Confederation threatens to withdraw support for Houthis; Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes against al Houthi forces in Sana’a and Sa’ada governorates; STC leadership meets with advisor to UN envoy in Aden

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab detonates VBIED near police academy in Mogadishu; al Shabaab claims attacks on Ethiopian and Ugandan troops in southern Somalia; AFRICOM acknowledges civilian casualties from airstrike; Kenyan President pledges to rehabilitate al Shabaab defectors

Yemen Security Brief

An al Houthi commander killed an elder of one of the Bakil Confederation tribes from Ayyal Serih district in Amran governorate on April 2. Bakil Confederation elders threatened to withdraw fighters from al Houthi forces and to close supply routes between Sana'a city and Sa'ada governorates if the al Houthi movement refuses to hand over the commander. Bakil Confederation elders refused attempts to arbitrate the dispute and Bakil tribesmen protested in the suburbs of Sana'a city. The Bakil Confederation is one of the largest tribal confederations in central Yemen.[1]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes on al Houthi forces in al Sawad Camp in Sanhan district in Sana’a governorate in central Yemen on April 5. The airstrikes targeted al Houthi forces from Amran and Sana’a governorates that were reinforcing the frontline in northern Dhaleh governorate, according to pro-Hadi government sources. The Saudi-led coalition also conducted airstrikes against al Houthi forces in Baqim district in northern Sa’ada governorate in northern Yemen.[2]

Advisor to the UN Special Envoy to Yemen Matthew Waldman met with a delegation from the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) that included President of the National Assembly Ahmed Said bin Brik and STC Assistant Secretary-General Fadl Mohammed al Jadi in Aden city on April 4. Waldman stressed that addressing the southern issue is key to addressing the Yemen conflict.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) outside the General Kahiye Police Academy in the Somali capital Mogadishu on April 4. The attack killed at least two people and injured more than seven others.[4]

Al Shabaab claimed to detonate an IED targeting Ethiopian forces near Berdale town in Bay region in southern Somalia on April 3. Al Shabaab also claimed to ambush a patrol of Ugandan soldiers near Marka town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on the same day. Neither attack is confirmed.[5]

United States Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) stated on April 5 that an AFRICOM airstrike in 2018 unintentionally killed two Somali civilians. AFRICOM conducted the airstrike, which killed four al Shabaab militants in addition to the two civilians, near Elbur in Galgudud region in central Somalia on April 1, 2018. AFRICOM’s commander issued an internal review of U.S. airstrikes in Somalia following an Amnesty International report from March 2019 that claimed that U.S. airstrikes in Somalia have killed dozens of civilians. The airstrike in Elbur was not one of the airstrikes mentioned in the Amnesty International report.[6]

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged that the Kenyan government will undertake initiatives to rehabilitate and reintegrate al Shabaab fighters in his State of the Nation address on April 4. Kenyatta also pledged to continue the war against terrorism and eliminate all terror networks in Kenya.[7]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, and Kenya story streams.

[1] “Tribes directed severe threats to Houthis in Sana’a and demand the extradition of Marbi,” Mareb Press, April 4, 2019,; and “Northern tribes threaten to cut off the most important lines of military supply to the Houthis,” 7adramout, April 5, 2019,

[2] “Allied air force destroys a number of military crews and targets reinforcements for the Houthi militia in Ibb,” 7adramout, April 5, 2019,; and “Dozens of Houthis have been killed and wounded and mechanisms of air strikes in Baqim Sa’ada have been damaged,” Almontasaf, April 5, 2019,

[3] “A number of leaders of the Transitional Council meet with the advisor of the UN envoy,” STC Aden, April 4, 2019,

[4] “Bomb blast kills two in Somalia’s capital,” Radio Kulmiye, April 5, 2019,; “Somalia: Car bomb explodes at police academy in Mogadishu,” Garowe, April 5, 2019,; and “Shabaab claims 16 casualties in car bombing near police academy in Mogadishu,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 5, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[5] “Shabaab claims 16 casualties in car bombing near police academy in Mogadishu,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 5, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[6] “U.S. Africa Command commander-directed review reveals civilian casualties,” United States Africa Command, April 5, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 5, 2019,

[7] “Kenya extends amnesty to reformed terrorists,” Goobjoog, April 5, 2019,

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