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: Saudi naval forces destroy al Houthi remote-controlled explosive boat near Yemen’s northwestern coast; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes kills at least 22 children in western Yemen; HRW claims Saudi-led coalition failed to properly investigate war crimes in Yemen; Emirati-backed forces intercept explosives shipment from Somalia  

Horn of Africa: Ethiopian authorities arrest 800 people involved in ethnic violence; Eritrea considers new port for potash; al Shabaab IED targets Djiboutian AMISOM forces in Hiraan region, central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi naval forces destroyed an al Houthi remote-controlled explosive boat in the Red Sea near Midi district, Hajjah governorate, northwestern Yemen on August 23. Al Houthi forces claimed to attack a Saudi naval target in an unspecified location with an unspecified weapon on the same day. Al Houthi forces announced that they will resume attacks in the Red Sea on August 17 after declaring a unilateral ceasefire in the sea on July 31.[1]

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed at least 26 civilians, including 22 children and four women, in al Darayhimi district in al Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen on August 23. Four families were evacuating their homes in a vehicle when the airstrikes hit, according to the al Houthi-controlled Health Ministry. UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock condemned the airstrike and called for an independent investigation into it and the August 9 airstrike that killed dozens of children. Emirati state-run media claimed an al Houthi ballistic missile killed one child and injured several others in al Darayhimi district on August 23.[2]

The Saudi-led coalition failed to properly investigate allegations of war crimes in Yemen, according to an August 24 Human Rights Watch report. The report accused coalition investigators of covering up war crimes. The work of the coalition’s investigative body, the Joint Incidents Assessment team, has fallen short of international standards regarding transparency, impartiality, and independence. Coalition officials have not officially respond to the report.[3]

Emirati-backed forces intercepted a shipment of explosives to Yemen coming from the port of Zeila in Somaliland state. Southern Giants Brigade forces seized the explosives near the coast of southern al Hudaydah governorate. The shipment included 273 barrels of highly explosive substances, according to the media center of the Giants Brigade.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Ethiopian authorities have arrested 800 people in recent days over ethnic violence in multiple regions of the country. Ethiopian authorities arrested 500 people in Oromia region on suspicion of murder, illegal land invasion, burning coffee plantations, and erecting illegal barricades. Ethiopian authorities have also detained approximately 300 people in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ region (SNNPR) for inciting violence. Ethnic clashes over land and political representation have occurred frequently in Ethiopia in recent years. A U.S. congressional delegation met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa on August 24 to discuss Abiy’s recent political and economic reforms.[5]

Bloomberg News reported that the Eritrean government plans to capitalize on a recent peace agreement with Ethiopia to build a new port for potash exports along Eritrea’s Red Sea coast. The port will be located in the Bay of Anfile and will export potash from the Colluli Potash Project in the Danakil Depression, a mineral-rich valley that stretches across the northern segment of the Ethiopian-Eritrean border. The Eritrean state mining corporation recently signed a deal with the Australian mining company Dankali Limited to develop the Colluli Potash Project. The port would facilitate Eritrea’s potash production and shorten the distance it currently takes Ethiopia to export its potash.[6]

Al Shabaab targeted a Djiboutian convoy from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) with an improvised explosive device (IED) in Jalalaqsi town, Hiraan region, central Somalia on August 24. The explosion killed one soldier and injured at least two others.[7]

[1] “The naval force carries out an operation in the Saudi depth and achieves its objective,” al Masirah, August 23, 2018,; and “Saudi navy destroys booby-trapped boat off Midi,” Barakish, August 28, 2018,
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[2] “Saudi-led coalition kills 22 children and four women in al Hudaydah,” al Masirah, August 24, 2018,; “Yemen airstrike kills 22 children fleeing earlier bombing, rebels say,” CNN, August 24, 2018,; and “Yemen’s Houthis say 26 killed in coalition airstrikes, UAE media blame Houthis,” Reuters, August 23, 2018,; and “Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Mark Lowcock, Statement on the situation in Yemen, 24 August 2018,” UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, August 24, 2018,   

[3] “Human Rights Watch: Saudi-led coalition covers up war crimes in Yemen,” alMasdar Online, August 24, 2018,; and “Yemen: Coalition fails to curb violations,” Human Rights Watch, August 24, 2018,

[4] “Coalition-backed forces intercept a shipment of explosives to Yemen,”, August 24, 2018,

[5] “800 people arrested in Ethiopia amid fresh regional violence,” Premium Times, August 23, 2018,; “Ethiopia: Gedeo-Oromo ethnic clashes continue amid political reforms,” Deutsche Welle, August 11, 2018,; and Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, “Ethiopia PM talks political and economic reforms with U.S. lawmakers,” Africa News, August 24, 2018,

[6] Nizar Manek, “Eritrea mulls port as Ethiopia rapprochement spurs investors,” Bloomberg, August 23, 2018,; and “Ethiopia considers new port for potash trade after Ethiopia peace deal,” Africa News, August 24, 2018,

[7] “Deadly explosion kills AU soldier in Central Somalia,” Mareeg, August 24, 2018,

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