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 monitoring committee meets to discuss monitoring strategies for the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement; Hadi government accuses al Houthi movement of ceasefire violations; U.S. sanctioned militia commander claims to still receive Emirati support; Saudi government denies providing U.S.-made weapons to Sudanese troops

Horn of Africa: Sudanese government limits internet access; Sudanese opposition groups call for new protests; Sudanese President Omar al Bashir increases budget to counter economic crisis; AFRICOM airstrike kills 10 al Shabaab militants

Yemen Security Brief

The UN Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) in al Hudaydah met to discuss redeployment plans and strategies for monitoring their implementation on January 1. Chairman of the RCC, Major General Patrick Cammaert, stated that effective monitoring of all aspects of the Stockholm Agreement, including the al Hudaydah ceasefire and planned prisoner exchange, is crucial to the success of the agreement.[1]

The Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government accused the al Houthi movement of violating the al Hudaydah ceasefire in a letter to the UN Security Council on December 31. The letter, supported by the Saudi and Emirati governments, detailed continued sniper fire, ballistic missile launches, and construction of barriers throughout al Hudaydah governorate. The Hadi government prime minister, Maeen Abdul Malik, expressed concern over al Houthi ceasefire violations with the head of Political Affairs for the office of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Marwan Ali, on January 3.[2]

Abu Abbas, who leads one of the most powerful militias in Taiz, central Yemen, claimed the UAE continues to support him in a report on December 29. The U.S., Saudi Arabia, and the UAE sanctioned Abu Abbas for supporting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State in Taiz.[3]

The Saudi government denied on January 2 that its forces issued U.S.-made weapons to Sudanese troops participating in the Yemen conflict. The New York Times reported on December 28 that Saudi officers issued weapons and uniforms to Sudanese troops training in Saudi Arabia. Five Sudanese troops interviewed for the report stated that they believe the weapons were American-made.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The Sudanese government has been restricting social media access to counter anti-government protests since December 18. The Sudanese government has not limited internet on this scale since deadly protests in 2013. Sudanese security forces have also arrested 21 journalists since December 9.[5]

Four Sudanese opposition groups on January 3 called for nationwide protests on January 4, a march on the president’s palace on January 6, and a march on parliament in Omdurman on January 9 to demand President Omar al Bashir to step down.[6]

Sudanese President Omar al Bashir announced on January 3 that his government increased the 2019 budget by 39% to counter the ongoing economic crisis. The President said his government will increase the salary and expand healthcare coverage of public-sector employees. The budget also guaranteed no further taxes or lifting subsidies of goods such as wheat, fuel, or electricity.[7]

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike killing 10 al Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Deerow Sanle village, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on January 2.[8]

[1] “The Cammaert committee will conduct the implementation meetings: monitoring ports and redeployment plans,” News Yemen, January 2, 2019,

[2] “Joint letter from Yemen, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to the Security Council,” Mareb Press, January 3, 2019,; and “The prime minister receives the head of political affairs in the office of the UN envoy to Yemen,” Aden Gad, January 3, 2019,

[3] “Yemeni warlord put on US terrorist list still getting armed by ally,” Stars and Stripes, December 29, 2018,; and “Report claims UAE arms al Qaeda and Daesh in Yemen,” Middle East Monitor, January 2, 2019,

[4] David Kirkpatrick, “Saudi Arabia Denies Issuing American Weapons to Sudanese,” The New York Times, January 2, 2019,; and David Kirkpatrick, “On the Front Line of the Saudi War in Yemen: Child Soldiers From Darfur,” The New York Times, December 28, 2018,

[5] Yousef Saba, Nafisa Eltahir “Sudan restricts social media access to counter protest movement,” Reuters, January 2, 2018,; and “RSF decries alarming new crackdown on Sudan’s media,” Reporters without Borders, December 28, 2018,

[6] “Latest MASCOT Demonstration Alert U.S. Embassy Khartoum, Sudan,” DOS, January 3, 2019,; and Hamza Hendawi, “Sudan’s opposition calls for more protests against al-Bashir,” Washington Post, January 3, 2019,

[7] Mohammed Alamin, “Sudan Raises Salaries for Public-Sector Workers Amid Protests,” Bloomberg, January 3, 2018,

[8] “Al-Shabaab Degraded by U.S., Federal Government of Somalia,” AFRICOM, January 3, 2019,

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