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: Hadi government Prime Minister calls for Saudi Arabia to investigate corruption charges against him; Hadi government forces seize territory in Taiz governorate; demonstrators protest U.S. airstrikes in Shabwah governorate; Saudi-led coalition plans to deliver four new cranes to Hadi government ports

Horn of Africa: Kenyan authorities deport senior opposition leader; al Shabaab militants attack police station in northeastern Somalia; Somaliland issues fatwa against female genital mutilation

Yemen Security Brief

Hadi government Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghir called for Saudi Arabia or the Saudi-led coalition to investigate corruption allegations against Daghir’s government and to identify a “course of justice” for those responsible for clashes in a February 7 cabinet meeting in Aden. The Transitional Political Council of the South (STC), an Emirati-backed governing body that seeks southern autonomy, clashed with Hadi government forces in Aden between January 28 and 30. The Hadi government claims that STC forces attacked first, while the STC claims that Hadi government forces violently suppressed peaceful demonstrations. STC forces trapped the Daghir government in the Ma’ashiq Presidential Palace in Aden on January 30. The cabinet also announced that a total of $4,000 will be paid to the families of soldiers that died during clashes in Aden.[1] 

Hadi government forces claimed to seize territory in Jabal Habashi district, west of Taiz city, central Taiz governorate on February 7. Al Houthi forces attempted to repel the Hadi government’s offensive in Jabal Habashi. Hadi forces claimed they nearly took control of a village along a road linking Taiz and al Hudaydah governorates. Al Houthi forces shelled a playground in Asifra, north of Taiz city, killing two children and wounding eighteen others on February 6, according to a Saudi news source.[2]

Demonstrators in Ataq city, Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen condemned a reported U.S. airstrike on February 5. The airstrike occured in al Saeed district, Shabwah on January 27. The families of the deceased claimed the airstrike killed six men and one child that were not connected to a Salafi-jihadi group. The families also called for an inquiry council to investigate airstrikes and demanded an end to airstrikes.[3]

The Saudi-led coalition will deliver four new cranes to Yemeni ports as part of its new aid initiative, according to a February 5 statement from coalition Spokesman Turki al Maliki. The Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operation (YCHO) will deliver one crane to Aden port in southern Yemen, one to al Mukalla port in eastern Yemen, and two cranes to Mokha port in western Yemen. The cranes will increase the total capacity of these ports by 360,000 tons per month, according to Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Mohammed al Jaber. The YCHO is restructuring humanitarian delivery routes away from al Houthi-controlled al Hudaydah port, Yemen’s main port for imports.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Kenyan authorities deported opposition lawyer Miguna Miguna to Canada on February 6. A Kenyan court in Kajiado charged Miguna with treason on February 6 for his role in the unofficial swearing-in of opposition leader Raila Odinga on January 30. Opposition supporters clashed with police in response to the charges in Kisumu, western Kenya on February 6. Government officials deported Miguna despite court orders for Miguna to be sent to Nairobi for a bail hearing on February 7. A Kenyan official said officials deported Miguna because he had acquired a Canadian citizenship and never legally reclaimed his Kenyan citizenship in 2009. Miguna fled Kenya in 1988 to Canada and acquired a Canadian citizenship. The official added that Miguna did not apply for Kenyan nationality once the constitution allowed dual citizenship in 2010.[5]

Al Shabaab militants attacked a police station with hand grenades and small arms, killing one person and wounding at least five others in Boosaaso, the capital of Bari region, northeastern Somalia on February 6. Al Shabaab claimed its militants wounded the deputy commander of the station in the attack. Boosaaso is a strategic coastal town and is a major seaport on the Gulf of Aden.[6] 

Somaliland’s Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a fatwa, a legal opinion on Islamic law, against female genital mutilation (FGM) and threatened to punish violators on February 6. The fatwa also announced that female victims are eligible for compensation. An estimated 98% of Somali females ages 15 to 49 have undergone FGM, according to the World Health Organization. The fatwa comes one month after Somaliland’s parliament criminalized rape.[7]

[1] “The Council of Ministers held a meeting and endorsed the renewal of energy contracts,” Saba New, February 7, 2018,; and “Bin Daghir calls on Saudi Arabia or the Coalition to investigate the events of Aden,” Al Masdar, February 7, 2018,
[2] “Al Houthi forces claim to wound Saudi-backed forces in Taiz,” Al Masirah, February 6, 2018,; “Al Houthi kills children in Taiz,” Al Arabiya, February 6, 2018,; “National army recovers two positions in Taiz,” Al Khaleej, February 7, 2018,; and “Yemeni army control positions in Taiz,” al Arabiya, February 7, 2018,
[3] “Yemenis protest after US drone attack kills 7 in Shabwa,” Al Jazeera, February 5, 2018,; and “A protest vigil for the families of victims of the US air strikes in Shabwah,” Al Masdar, February 5, 2018,
[4] “YCHO Aid Delivery Announcements: Cranes to be Delivered to Three Different Yemeni Ports,” Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington D.C., February 6, 2018,; and “The Saudi Fund for Development signs a memorandum of understanding for the supply and installation of 4 cranes in Yemeni ports as part of the humanitarian operations plan,” Saudi Press Agency, February 5, 2018,
[5] “Outcry as Miguna is deported despite court order to release him,” Standard Media, February 7, 2018,; “Kenya deports Miguna Miguna over Odinga 'swearing-in',” BBC, February 7, 2018,; and “Miguna speaks from Amsterdam on his deportation,” Standard Media, February 7, 2018,
[6] “One killed, 5 wounded in Bosaso police station attack,” Goobjoog, February 7, 2018,; and “Al Shabaab attacks main Police Station in Bosaso, 5 injured,” Radio Shabelle, February 7, 2018,
[7] “Somaliland Fatwa Forbids FGM,” Voice of America, February 6, 2018,; and “Female genital mutilation (FGM),” World Health Organization,

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