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-Saleh Prime Minister condemns U.S. cruise missile strikes in Syria; Saudi-led coalition airstrike destroys boats near al Hudaydah port; Saudi-led coalition spokesman accuses UN of exacerbating humanitarian crisis in Yemen

Horn of Africa: Roadside IED kills 20 civilians near Marka, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab militants fire mortar shells in Wadajir district, Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief - Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 7, 2017The Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 7, 2017 was updated at 12pm to include the leading data point. Editor's Note

The al Houthi movement backed Syria’s Assad regime. Al Houthi-Saleh Prime Minister Abdul Aziz bin Habtour condemned the U.S. cruise missiles strikes in Syria as a "blatant violation of a sister Arab state's autonomy" and a violation of international law. Bin Habtour expressed support for the Iranian and Russian governments for their condemnation of the attacks.[1]

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes destroyed fishing boats off the coast of al Hudaydah port on April 5, killing 13 people. The Saudi-led coalition claims that the boats smuggled weapons into al Hudaydah port. The Saudi-led coalition is preparing for an offensive to seize al Hudaydah port from al Houthi-Saleh forces. Residents of al Hudaydah demonstrated against the Saudi-led coalition with the slogan “preparation and readiness for the battle of the coast” on April 6.[2]

Saudi-led coalition spokesman Major General Ahmed Asiri accused the UN of exacerbating the humanitarian situation in al Hudaydah port on April 6. The UN refused the coalition’s request to supervise al Hudaydah port in March 2017. Al Houthi-Saleh forces control al Hudaydah. A UN spokesman criticized the coalition for attempting to absolve itself of blame for Yemen’s humanitarian crisis on March 20.[3]

 Horn of Africa Security Brief

A roadside improvised explosive device (IED) killed at least 20 civilians near Golweyn village in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on April 6. The IED blast destroyed a civilian minibus carrying passengers from Bulamarer to Marka town, approximately 70 miles southwest of Mogadishu. Somali National Army (SNA) Colonel Hassan Mohamed accused al Shabaab militants of planting IEDs along that road. Al Shabaab leaders denied involvement and argued that they do not control Golweyn village and or operate in the area.[3]

Al Shabaab militants fired mortar shells into the Wadajir district of Mogadishu on April 7. The shells hit residential areas, killing three people and wounding five others. Al Shabaab militants conduct mortar attacks to coincide with significant government events, including the presidential election and inauguration. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared a new war against al Shabaab on April 6.[4]

[1] “Prime Minister condemns blatant American aggression against sisterly Syria,” Sabanews, April 7, 2017,
[2] “Coalition destroys a number of boats belonging to the Houthis in al Hudaydah,” Aden Lange, April 6, 2017,; “A massive march in al Hudaydah confirms the readiness of residents for the battle of the coast,” al Masirah, April 6, 2017,
[3] “Asiri: The objective of the coalition to restore security and stability to Yemen,” Sky News Arabic, April 6, 2017,;  “Asiri: The UN worsened the tragedy of Yemen’s port of al Hudaydah,” Aden Lange, April 7, 2017,; and “UN rejects coalition call to supervise Yemen port,” Al Arabiya English, March 21, 2017,
[3]  Ananya Roy, “20 killed in roadside bomb blast in Somalia as al Shabaab deny involvement in attack,” IB Times, April 7, 2017,
[4] “Mortar attack kills 3, wounds 5 in Somali capital,” Reuters, April 7, 2017,
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