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 to Yemen accompanies al Houthi delegation to Sweden; Ethiopian Prime Minister calls for end to Yemen conflict; General People’s Congress holds rally in southern al Hudaydah governorate to mark anniversary of Saleh’s assassination

Horn of Africa: Southwest state postpones elections for fourth time; Ethiopian government deploys federal security forces to quell ethnic violence in western Ethiopia; likely al Shabaab militants target Somali journalist with car bomb in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths accompanied the al Houthi movement delegation from Sana’a to Sweden on December 3 for UN-led peace consultations.[1]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that Ethiopia is “ready to do all that is needed to achieve reconciliation” in Yemen in a statement on December 4 calling on all parties to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Chairman of the al Houthi Revolutionary Committee Mohammed Ali al Houthi welcomed Ahmed’s call for peace.[2]

The General People’s Congress party marked the first anniversary of the assassination of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a rally in al Khawkhah district, southern al Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen on December 4. Brigadier General Tariq Abdullah Saleh attended the rally.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somalia’s Southwest state postponed its presidential elections from December 5 to December 19. Former al Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow, who is running in the elections, expressed concern about the international community’s ability to supervise the elections so close to the Christmas holiday. This is the fourth time that Southwest state has postponed its elections this year.[4] 

The Ethiopian National Security Council announced the deployment of security forces to western Ethiopia along the border of Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regions on December 1 in response to ethnic clashes. Ethnic clashes have displaced tens of thousands and killed over 100 people in the region in the past two months. Residents in Oromia region held protests demanding improved security on December 1. Prime Minister Abiy’s Oromo Democratic Party, which governs Oromia, stated that it would restore peace in the region last week.[5] 

Likely al Shabaab militants planted a car bomb targeting a Somali journalist and radio station director in Waberi district, Mogadishu on December 4. The attack injured the journalist.[6]

[1] “Yemen’s Houthis head to Sweden peace talks as U.N. warn on economy,” Reuters, December 4, 2018,

[2] “High President of the Revolution welcomes the call of the Ethiopian Prime Minister,” al Masirah, December 4, 2018,; and “Ethiopia announces its preparations to play the role of a mediator in the Yemen crisis,”, December 4, 2018,

[3] “General People’s Congress commemorates the killing of Ali Abdullah Saleh in a rally in al Hudaydah,”, December 4, 2018,; and “al Hudaydah celebrates the memory of the killing of President Salih,” Bawabatii, December 4, 2018,

[4] “Somalia: Robow Coalition Question New Southwest Poll Dates, Say May Lock Out International Observers,” Radio Dalsan, December 3, 2018,; and “Somalia: Southwest State Election Postponed for the Fourth Time to December 19,” Radio Shabelle, December 1, 2018,

[5] Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, “Ethiopia deploys federal forces over insecurity; protests, arrests in Oromia,” Africa News, December 4, 2018,; “Protests in Oromo region of Ethiopia demand an end to security crisis,” Borkena, December 4, 2018,; and “Several Oromia police members and civilians killed in East Wollega,” Borkena, November 29, 2018,

[6] Harun Maruf, Twitter,

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