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: UN consultations in Geneva will focus on a deal between Hadi government and the al Houthi movement to form a transitional government; Yemeni President Hadi travels to Cairo to discuss security in the Red Sea; Hadi government leaders discuss Yemeni political process during GCC conference in Riyadh; al Houthi leaders discuss conditions for upcoming UN consultations; Emirati-led Yemeni forces assault center of al Darayhimi district, south of al Hudaydah port

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab IED strikes Kenya border wall workers in Mandera County; al Shabaab claims IED attacks in Afgoi and Baidoa; Ethiopian Somali State paramilitary forces attack in Oromia region as ethnic violence continues; gunmen kidnap aid workers near Baidoa, southwestern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief:

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths stated that the September 6 consultations in Geneva will focus on reaching a deal between Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and the al Houthi movement to form a transitional government. Griffiths also stated that Representatives of the General People’s Congress (GPC) and the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) must be included in the transition process but the initial round of consultations will not address the future of southern Yemen.[1]

Yemeni President Hadi traveled to Cairo, Egypt on August 13 to discuss security in the Bab al Mandab Strait and the Red Sea with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi. Hadi plans to discuss the recent “al Houthi threats” to international shipping during the two-day trip from August 13 to 14. Al Houthi forces struck a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea on July 25.[2]

Hadi government officials met with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to discuss the Yemeni political process on August 13 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Hadi’s Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid Bin Daghir emphasized that UN resolution 2216 requires al Houthi forces to withdraw from Yemen’s capital Sana’a city and disarm during the conference. Bin Daghir also reiterated the Hadi government’s commitment to the outputs of the National Dialogue Conference, which he claims was created in agreement with the al Houthi movement and the Southern Movement.[3]

Al Houthi movement leaders met on August 13 in the Yemeni capital Sana’a to discuss their conditions for the upcoming UN consultations in Geneva. Al Houthi leaders rejected UN resolution 2216, claiming that conditions on the ground make it irrelevant, and are forming a united negotiating delegation including representatives from the al Houthi-allied GPC. The al Houthi movement’s conditions for the consultations include the Saudi-led coalition end its bombing campaign, allow commercial flights to Sana’a, and lift its restrictions on al Houthi-controlled ports.[4]

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces claimed to seize critical roads in al Darayhimi district, south of al Hudaydah city, western Yemen on August 12. Southern Giants forces claimed to capture 100 al Houthi fighters and cut a supply line linking al Darayhimi to Bayt al Faqih city, central al Hudaydah governorate, according to a Hadi government military spokesperson. Emirati-backed Yemeni forces continue to clash with al Houthi forces in al Darayhimi city.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

An al Shabaab improvised explosive device (IED) attack struck a vehicle carrying workers on the Kenyan-Somali border wall on August 13, killing three people and injuring another. Al Shabaab claimed that the attack struck a military vehicle and killed more than 12 Kenyan troops. Kenya is constructing the border wall to prevent al Shabaab attacks from Somalia.[6]

Al Shabaab militants detonated an IED targeting African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces near Afgoi in Lower Shabelle region on August 11, days after AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) forces launched counterterrorism operations near the city. Al Shabaab also conducted an IED attack targeting Somali soldiers in Baidoa in Bay region on August 10. Al Shabaab claimed both attacks.[7]

Paramilitary forces from Ethiopia’s Somali State conducted cross-border attacks into the East Hararghe district in Oromia region on August 11 and 12. The attacks by the Liyu paramilitary forces killed approximately 40 people. A spokesman from the Oromia region accused Somali regional officials of stoking the violence. Ethnic violence has escalated in the Oromia and Somali regions since the beginning of August. Revenge attacks between ethnic groups have also occurred in Djibouti. The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a secessionist group based in the Somali State, declared a unilateral ceasefire on August 12 in response to outreach from Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.[8]

Gunmen kidnapped five aid workers near Baidoa on August 12. The aid workers were delivering nutritional supplements to an internally displaced persons’ camp near Busley village.[9]

[1] “U.N. envoy says Yemen talks to focus on transition, disarmament: newspaper,” Reuters, August 11, 2018,; and “Griffiths to Asharq al Awsat: Saudi Arabia Has Legitimate Right to Secure its Borders,” Asharq al-Awsat, August 11, 2018,

[2] “Secure navigation in the Bab al Mandab Strait tops the meeting of Sisi and Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi Tomorrow,” Hadramout Net, August 13, 2018,

[3] “Full text of Bin Daghir’s speech at the GCC conference for the political solution in Yemen,” Al Wattan Net, August 13, 2018,

[4] “Houthis delay Geneva meeting by rejecting Security Council Resolution,” Mareb Press, August 13, 2018,

[5] “Yemeni Army liberate al-Darayhimi in al Hudaydah, capture 100 Houthis,” al-Arabiya English, August 12, 2018,; and “The Southern Giants Brigades force al Houthis to flee their positions in al Darayhimi,” Aden Gad, August 13, 2018,

[6] “3 die as al Shabaab targets Mandera border wall workers,” The Daily Nation, August 13, 2018,; and “Shabaab claims bombing KDF vehicle in Mandera, attacks on AMISOM and SNA in multiple areas in Somalia,” SITE Intelligence Group, translation available by subscription at

[7] “Shabaab claims bombing KDF vehicle in Mandera, attacks on AMISOM and SNA in multiple areas in Somalia,” SITE Intelligence Group, translation available by subscription at;  and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 9, 2018,

[8] Aaron Maasho, “UPDATE 2- At least 40 killed by paramilitaries in eastern Ethiopia,” Reuters, August 13, 2018,; Aaron Maasho, “Ethiopian rebels declare ceasefire amid government reforms,” Reuters, August 12, 2018,; and “Six Oromo men killed in Djibouti for revenge attacks over Dire Dawa,” Mareeg, August 11, 2018,

[9] Jerry Omondi, “Somali authorities search for aid workers kidnapped by gunmen,” CGTN Africa, August 12, 2018,

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