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: STC presidential body demands unconditional inclusion in UN negotiations; AQAP militants attack Emirati-backed forces in Abyan and al Houthi forces in al Bayda; U.S. Secretary of Defense dispatches three-star general to investigate Saudi-led coalition airstrike that killed children

Horn of Africa: SNA interdicts al Shabaab VBIED in Alamada near Mogadishu; al Shabaab clashes with local militias in Jilib district, Middle Jubba region; ethnic violence breaks out among IDPs in Adama, Ethiopia; Ugandan police crack down on opposition protesters throwing rocks at president’s convoy in Arua, Uganda

Yemen Security Brief

The presidential body of the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) sent a public message to the UN Special Envoy to Yemen demanding its unconditional inclusion in future negotiations and stating that the southern issue should be included in any dialogue, consultation, or negotiation. The message was in response to Special Envoy Martin Griffiths’ August 12 announcement that the STC would not be included in the first round of UN consultations on September 6.  The presidential body also stated that forming two sovereign independent Yemeni states is the only solution for long-term stability in the region.[1]

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash stated that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is weakening due to Emirati-backed counterterrorism efforts in Yemen on August 13. He added that the UAE advocates for a political solution in Yemen but is concerned that the al Houthi movement may impede peace talks. Gargash acknowledged the coalition’s responsibility for “some of the humanitarian weights” of the conflict but also urged NGOs and the international community to scrutinize the al Houthi movement’s actions. [2]

AQAP militants detonated an IED targeting an al Hizam Security Forces vehicle in al Wade’a district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on August 10. AQAP also attacked al Houthi forces with artillery and medium-caliber weapons in Dhi Madahi area in al Sawma'ah district, southern al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on August 14. AQAP has claimed three attacks against Emirati-backed forces in Abyan and one attack against al Houthi forces in al Bayda in August.[3]

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis ordered a three-star general to investigate the August 9 Saudi-led coalition airstrike that killed approximately 40 children in Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen. Mattis urged the Saudi government to investigate the incident and share its findings with the public. The coalition claimed the airstrike was a legitimate strike targeting al Houthi forces responsible for firing ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali National Army (SNA) forces interdicted an al Shabaab attack on a base in Alamada village on the outskirts of Mogadishu on August 14. An SNA commander credited a public tip for warning the SNA of the attack, which involved a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).[5]

Al Shabaab militants clashed with local fighters in Jilib district, Middle Jubba region on August 13. The clashes began after al Shabaab fighters arrested farmers they accused of being Kenyans. Local fighters retaliated by attacking al Shabaab bases in the area. The clashes killed six local militiamen and three al Shabaab militants.[6]

Violence between internally displaced persons in Adama, Oromia region, Ethiopia killed one person and injured 36 others on August 14. The clashes, between members of the Somali and Oromo ethnic groups, follow attacks by Ethiopian Somali paramilitary forces in the Oromia region on August 11 and 12.[7]

Ugandan police clashed with opposition protesters who threw stones at the convoy of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni in Arua, Uganda on August 14. Museveni was in the area to campaign for a ruling party candidate in bye-elections following the assassination of a member of parliament (MP) last week. Police arrested three opposition MPs in response. One MP, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, said that police killed his driver in the clash.[8]

[1] “The Presidency of the Southern Transitional Council provides important clarifications to the UN envoy to Yemen regarding any negotiations concerning the issue of the people of the South,” Southern Transition Council, August 13, 2018,
[2] “Gargash: Al Qaeda in Yemen is weaker than ever,” The National, August 13, 2018,
[3] “Explosion of an improvised explosion device targeting food transport in al Ouda,” Aden al Hadath, August 10, 2018,; Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, August 14, 2018,; and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claims an attack on al Houthi fighters in al Bayda province, Telegram, August 14, 2018; and AQAP militants detonated an IED targeting an al Hizam Security Forces vehicle in al Wade’a district, Telegram, August 10, 2018.
[4] Missy Ryan, “U.S. general urges Saudi Arabia to investigate airstrike that killed dozens of children in Yemen,” The Washington Post, August 13, 2018,
[5] “Security forces foil attack outside Mogadishu, arrest 5 militants,” Xinhua, August 14, 2018,
[6] “Nine killed in clashes between al-Shabaab and locals near Jilib town,” Halbeeg, August 13, 2018,
[7] Addis Standard, Twitter, August 14, 2018,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review: August 13, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 13, 2018,
[8] Elias Biryabarema, “Uganda police arrest three MP’s after stones through at Museveni’s convoy,” Reuters, August 14, 2018,; and  Daniel Mumbere, “Uganda’s Bobi Wine is missing after deadly clashes with Museveni’s security,” Africa News, August 14, 2018,

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