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: Al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile kills senior Hadi military commander in Mokha city, Taiz; AQAP claims to repel al Houthi-Saleh advance in Qayfa, al Bayda; Aden protesters burn tires after extended power outages

Horn of Africa: Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo inaugurated as President of Somalia; UK pledges $125 million in humanitarian aid for Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi-Saleh forces launc hed a ballistic missile at a Hadi government military convoy near Mokha port city on the Red Sea coast in Taiz governorate. The February 22 attack killed Yemeni Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Ahmed Saif al Yafa’i. Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar eulogized Major General Yafa’i on Twitter. Major General Yafa’i  served previously as commander of Yemen’s Fourth and Third military districts, and as a senior advisor to the defense minister. Brigadier General Nasser al Otaibi, Commander of Emirati Forces in Yemen, acknowledged Major General Yafa’i’s death in a televised interview and dispelled rumors that he was killed in the same attack.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed its militants clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in the Qayfa area in northwestern al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on February 21. AQAP claimed to repel two al Houthi-Saleh attacks on Hamat Sarar in al ‘Abil village in Qayfa. AQAP claimed to seize Hamat Sarar from al Houthi-Saleh forces on February 20. ISIS Wilayat al Bayda previously claimed its militants attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in Hamat Sarar on February 16.[2]

Aden residents protested extended power outages and the absence of running water on February 21. The outages began on February 19. The protesters ignited tires in Aden’s streets on February 21. A 12-hour power outage on February 13 drew similar protests. Public employees in Aden are not receiving their salaries from the Hadi government. A small group of marchers in Aden celebrated President Hadi’s fifth anniversary in power on February 21.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somalia held the inauguration of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo at Aden Adde International Airport on February 22. President Farmajo gave an inauguration speech in which he highlighted insecurity and humanitarian crisis as the greatest threats to Somalia’s future. He promised to build Somali military and security forces in order to shoulder greater responsibility in fighting al Shabaab, as African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces will begin withdrawing in 2018. Farmajo committed to reducing graft and corruption in an effort to restore the confidence of the people in their government. Transparency International ranked Somalia as the most corrupt country in the world in its annual report released in January 2017. Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta attended the inauguration along with representatives from 121 other countries.[4]

The United Kingdom (UK) pledged to provide £100 million ($125 million)  in emergency aid to fight famine in Somalia. International Development Secretary Priti Patel announced the aid will provide assistance through 2018 and called upon the global community to provide additional aid. Somalia is among several countries in East Africa experiencing drought and famine conditions that threaten millions of lives. More than 250,000 people died between 2010 and 2012 in Somalia under similar drought conditions.[5]

[1] Mohamed Mukashaf, “Senior Yemeni general killed in Houthi missile attack: military source”, Reuters, February 22, 2017,; “Military sources confirm the death of Major General Yafei, Deputy Chief of Staff,” Saba News, February 22, 2017,; Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, Twitter, February 22, 2017,; and “Commander of UAE Forces in Yemen appears in an interview in response to the rumor of his death,” Barakish, Februrary 22, 2017,
[2] AQAP claims its militants repelled an al Houthi-Saleh attack in Hamat Sarar, Qayda, al Bayda, Telegram, February 22, 2017.
[3] “Aden plunging into darkness for a second day as sources claim that the crisis is fabricated,” al Masdar, February 20, 2017,; Naji Alkaladi, Twitter, February 20, 2017,; and “Demonstrators in support of Hadi in Aden and demanding the departure of Ben Daghir,” Aden Tomorrow, February 21, 2017,
[4] Abdi Guled, “Somalia’s New Leader Inaugurated, Vowing To Restore Dignity,” Associated Press, February 22, 2017,; and Elsa Buchanan, “Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti leaders rally around Somalia’s new President Farmajo,” International Business Times, February 22, 2017,
[5] Tim Sculthorpe, “Britain pledges £200 million in emergency aid spending to fight famine in Somalia and South Sudan,” Daily Mail, February 22, 2017,; and “Somalia famine killed 260,000 people,” BBC News, May 2, 2013,
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