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 Special Envoy proposes UN control of al Hudaydah governorate; AQAP attacks Emirati-backed forces in Abyan governorate; AP report highlights torture in al Houthi prisons

Horn of Africa: Somali MPs file motion to impeach President Farmajo; AFRICOM airstrike kills four al Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle region; Galmudug security forces arrest over 50 people in Galgudud region; al Shabaab IED kills three SNA soldiers in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths proposed a ceasefire and demilitarization of al Hudaydah governorate during UN-led peace consultations in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10. Griffiths also called for the formation of a joint al Houthi-Hadi government security committee to oversee al Hudaydah governorate with UN support. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Foreign Minister, Khalid al Yamani, stated that the Hadi government will not accept a UN peacekeeping mission in al Hudaydah governorate. Al Yamani stated that the Hadi government is willing to accept a UN role in al Hudaydah as long as the city remains under Hadi government control.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to kill and injure several Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on December 9. AQAP claimed to destroy two vehicles in the attack.[2]

Al Houthi forces detained and tortured thousands of perceived political opponents, activists, journalists, and religious authorities, according to a December 7 Associated Press (AP) report. Yahia al Houthi, the brother of al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi, led a committee to investigate reports of torture and indefinite detention in 2016 but hardline al Houthi security officials closed the committee. Supreme Revolutionary Council head Mohammed Ali al Houthi called for an investigation into the use of torture on December 9 in response to the AP report.[3]

 Horn of Africa Security Brief

Ninety-two members of Somalia’s Parliament filed a motion to impeach President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo on December 9. The motion alleged that Farmajo had made secret agreements with Ethiopia and Eritrea, illegally extradited alleged criminals, and violated Somalia’s constitution. A successful impeachment would require support from two-thirds of the 275-person parliament. Supporters of President Farmajo protested the motion for impeachment in Mogadishu on December 10. Two deputy speakers of Parliament publicly stated that the motion against Farmajo is unconstitutional.[4]

United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike that killed four al Shabaab militants in Basra village, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on December 8.  AFRICOM conducted the airstrike after al Shabaab attacked Somali National Army (SNA) forces. Somali forces separately killed six al Shabaab militants in the operation.[5]

Galmudug state security forces arrested at least 52 people in Dhusamareb, Galgudud region, central Somalia on December 8 in a security operation. Galmudug forces did not give a reason for the arrests.[6]

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an SNA convoy in Sinka Dheer area, Mogadishu on December 9. The attack killed three soldiers.[7]

[1] “The delegation of the Government of Yemen has reservations on the initiative of the UN Special Envoy in the matter of al Hudaydah and its port,” Youm7, December 10, 2018,; Baseem al Jenani, Twitter, December 10, 2018,; and Baseem al Jenani, Twitter, December 10, 2018,

[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, December 10, 2018,

[3]  “Ex-inmates: Torture rife in prisons run by Yemen rebels,” Associated Press, December 7, 2018,; and Ahmed al Haj, “Yemen rebel leader seeks torture probe, cites AP report,” Associated Press, December 9, 2018,

[4] “Motion filed to impeach Somali president: Statement,” Reuters, December 10, 2018,; and “Mogadishu residents rally against impeachment motion against Farmajo,” Radio Shabelle, December 10, 2018,    

[5] “Al-Shabaab Forces degraded by U.S., Federal Government of Somalia,” United States Africa Command, December 8, 2018,; “Six Al-Shabaab Militants Killed in SNA Operation in Lower Shabelle Region,” Radio Shabelle, December 9, 2018,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, December 9, 2018,

[6] “Galmudug state forces conduct security operation in Dhusamareb,” Radio Shabelle, December 8, 2018,

[7] Harun Maruf, Twitter, December 9, 2018,

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