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 movement leader eulogizes fallen troops; Islah party revokes Nobel laureate’s membership for criticizing Saudi-led coalition; al Houthi forces fire ballistic missiles at coalition targets in Taiz governorate and southwestern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Kenya reinstates television broadcasts of television stations; KDF conducts airstrikes targeting al Shabaab in southern Somalia; Jubbaland opposition MP resigns after political crackdown; suspected al Shabaab IED detonates prematurely in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief:

Al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi eulogized fallen troops during annual Martyrs’ Day remembrances on February 3. Al Houthi also appealed to Sudan to end its participation in the Saudi-led coalition during the speech. Al Houthi reaffirmed the al Houthi movement’s support for Palestine and reaffirmed its enmity for the U.S. and Saudi-led coalition.[1]

The Yemeni Islah (Reform) party revoked Nobel laureate Tawakul Karman’s membership from the party on February 3 after Karman denounced the Saudi-led coalition’s actions in Yemen as an occupation. Karman played a key role in leading the Arab Spring protests against former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011. The Islah party formally cut ties with the Muslim Brotherhood in December 2017 following an agreement with the Saudi-led coalition. Islah-linked forces joined a coalition-backed offensive against the al Houthi movement on Yemen’s western coast.[2] 

Al Houthi forces fired two ballistic missiles at Saudi-led coalition forces on February 5. The al Houthi forces launched a mid-range Qaher-M2 ballistic missile at coalition-backed forces in western Taiz governorate and a short-range ballistic missile at a Saudi military camp in Khamis Mushait city in Asir district, southwestern Saudi Arabia. Saudi air defenses intercepted the short-range ballistic missile in Asir district.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The Kenyan government reinstated the broadcasts for several Kenyan television stations after a seven-day shutdown on February 5. The government restored NTV and KTN News but not Citizen TV and Inooro TV. The Communication Authority of Kenya blocked the broadcasts to prevent live coverage of opposition leader Raila Odinga’s symbolic inauguration on January 30. The U.S., European Union, and African Union condemned the media crackdown and the government’s defiance of a court ruling that ordered the restoration of broadcasts on February 2.[4]

Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) conducted airstrikes on al Shabaab-controlled villages near Elwaq town in Gedo region, southern Somalia on February 3. The airstrikes caused both combatant and civilian casualties. Al Shabaab uses bases in the region to plot attacks against the Somalia National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces in border areas.[5]  

Jubbaland member of parliament (MP) Ahmed Hassan Abdi Taajir resigned on February 5 after being detained for five days. Jubbaland State President Ahmed Islam Madhobe detained Taajir and stripped him of his immunity after Taajir lobbied for a vote of no confidence against Madhobe’s cabinet, citing incompetence. The British Ambassador to Somalia pressured Madhobe to release Taajir. Members of the Jubbaland security forces protested the arrest by besieging the building where Taajir was held and blocking main roads in Kismayo, the administrative capital. Five MPs have fled Jubbaland because of Madhobe’s crackdown on opposition members.[6]

A suspected al Shabaab improvised explosive device (IED) exploded inside of a house and killed at least four people in Odweine village in Daynile district, Mogadishu. Somali security agents said the bomb exploded while being assembled. Al Shabaab has conducted several IED attacks along the roads connecting the capital to nearby areas like Afgoi and Baidoa in recent weeks.[7]

[1] “Speech of Mr. Abdul Malik Bader al Din al Houthi on the anniversary of the martyr,” Al Masirah, February 3, 2018,
[2] “Islah emphasizes that its positions and orientations are expressed only by its official institutions,” Al Islah, February 3, 2018,; and “Tawakul attacks the leadership of Islah,” Aden Tomorrow, February 3, 2018,
[3] “Al Houthi forces launched a short-range ballistic missile at Saudi-led coalition forces,” Al Masirah, February 5, 2018,; “Command of Forces of Coalition for supporting legitimacy in Yemen Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces intercept and destroy a ballistic missile launched towards Khamis Mushait,” Saudi Press Agency, February 5, 2018,; and “Qaher-M2 fired at Saudi-led coalition forces in Taiz,” Saba Yemen, February 5, 2018,
[4] “State switches on TV stations, Citizen TV remains shut,” Standard Media, February 5, 2018,; and “NTV, KTN News back on air,” Daily Nation, February 5, 2018,
[5] “KDF launches fresh air strikes in southern Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, February 3, 2018,
[6] “Jubbaland Opposition MP Resigns After 5 Days Detention By Madhoobe,” Radio Dalsan, February 5, 2018,; “Jubbaland Opposition MP Taajir Released After UK Pressure & Military Protest,” Radio Dalsan, February 4, 2018,; and “Jubbaland lawmaker resigns after detention,” Radio Shabelle, February 5, 2018,
[7] “At least 4 killed in IED Explosion in Mogadishu,” Radio Shabelle, February 5, 2018,; “3 Killed In Mogadishu House Explosion,” Radio Dalsan, February 4, 2018,; and “Bomb explosion kills 2 people in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog, February 5, 2018,

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