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: Emirati-backed security forces capture AQAP training camp in Abyan governorate; al Houthi forces to withdraw from two ports in al Hudaydah governorate; al Houthi forces target Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles

Horn of Africa: Sudanese President swears in new cabinet and regional governors during state of emergency; al Shabaab militants assassinate Somali parliamentarian in Mogadishu; AFRICOM conducts four airstrikes in southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces captured an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) training camp in Wadi Omran in Mudia district, an AQAP stronghold in northern Abyan governorate in southern Yemen, on February 23. Saudi-led coalition helicopters assisted in the operation. Al Hizam security forces claimed that the training camp is the largest in Abyan and that they now control the entirety of the Wadi Omran area. Al Hizam security forces previously attempted to clear AQAP from Wadi Omran on January 15, 2019 and December 11, 2018.[1]

Al Houthi forces are planning to implement the first phase of the UN-brokered Stockholm agreement by withdrawing five kilometers from Salif and Ras Issa ports in al Hudaydah governorate in western Yemen on February 25, according to international media. The second phase of the agreement stipulated that al Houthi forces will withdraw from al Hudaydah port and that forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government will pull back one kilometer from al Hudaydah city’s Kilo 7 suburb. Hadi government Foreign Minister Khalid al Yamani stated that the Hadi government will have to verify al Houthi compliance with the first phase of the agreement before Hadi government-aligned forces implement the second phase.[2]

Al Houthi forces launched two Zilzal 1 ballistic missiles targeting Saudi troops in al Ajasher desert in Najran region in southern Saudi Arabia on February 25, according to al Houthi media. Al Houthi forces also claimed to launch a Zilzal 1 missile at Saudi troops near the Alab border crossing in Asir region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on February 24.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Sudanese President Omar al Bashir appointed a new cabinet and regional governors after declaring a year-long state of emergency amid nationwide protests on February 24. Bashir appointed the governor of Jazeera state in southern Sudan, Mohamed Tahr Ela, as the new Prime Minister and appointed Defense Minister General Awad Ibnouf as the Vice President. Bashir also appointed 16 army officers and two officers from the National Intelligence and Security Services as the new governors for each of the country’s states. Protests continued in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, after Bashir declared the state of emergency on February 22.[4]

Al Shabaab militants assassinated a Somali parliamentarian, Osman Elmi Boqore, in the Karan district of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, on February 23. Boqore was the former Deputy House Speaker and the oldest serving member of the Somali Lower House. Somali authorities arrested two suspects in connection with the attack. Suspected al Shabaab militants also killed nine sanitation workers near Hawa Abdi Hospital on the outskirts of Afgoi town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on February 25. The attack also injured two children.[5]

United States Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) conducted four airstrikes on February 23 in southern Somalia. The strikes killed two militants and destroyed checkpoints and facilities operated by al Shabaab. AFRICOM conducted two strikes in Qunyow Barrow village in Middle Jubba region, one strike near Awdheegle, a town in Lower Shabelle region, and one strike in Janale town in Lower Shabelle region. AFRICOM previously conducted two airstrikes in Janale on February 11.[6]

[1] “Security Belt Forces recapture AQAP’s largest training camp in Abyan,” Aden Press, February 25, 2019,; “Security Launches crackdown on al-Qaeda in Modiya, Abyan,” Aden Press, February 25, 2019,; and Ali Mahmood, “UAE-backed fighters in Yemen seize large Al Qaeda base,” The National, February 25, 2019,

[2] Aziz El Yaakoubi, “ Yemen’s Houthis to quit two ports Monday under peace deal: sources,” Reuters, February 24, 2019,; and “International promises of legitimacy to verify the withdrawal of Houthis from al Hudaydah,” Hadramout Net, February 24, 2019,

[3] Masirah TV, Twitter, February 25, 2019,; and Masirah TV, Twitter, February 24, 2019,

[4] “Sudan PM sworn in as protestors rally against emergency,” VOA, February 24, 2019,

[5] “Long-serving lawmaker killed in Mogadishu,” Garowe, February 25, 2019,; “Somali police detain two suspects over MP’s assassination,” Radio Shabelle, February 24, 2019,; and “Street cleaners massacred in suburb of Mogadishu,” Radio Kulmiye, February 25, 2019,

[6] “Al Shabaab degraded by U.S., Federal Government of Somalia,” AFRICOM, February 24, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 13, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 13, 2019,

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