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 Special Envoy to Yemen to meet with al Houthi and Hadi government officials; President Hadi states Stockholm Agreement will lead to return of legitimate government’s power over al Hudaydah; U.S. airstrike kills planner of al Qaeda’s 2000 USS Cole bombing; Shabwani Elite Forces clash with local tribal forces during attempt to arrest AQAP militants

Horn of Africa: Special representative to Somalia briefs UN Security Council; opposition groups call for removal of Sudanese president in protests throughout the country; Puntland regional assembly lawmakers elects Abdihakim Mohamed Ahmed as speaker of the regional assembly; al Shabaab militants kill police chief of Wardhigley district in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, head of the UN monitoring committee Patrick Cammaert, and UN Spokesman Farhan Haq will meet with al Houthi movement leadership in Sana’a on January 5. The UN officials will then meet with Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government officials in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The envoy’s office also announced possible direct meetings between the al Houthi movement and the Hadi government in late January in Kuwait.[1]

President Hadi stated that the Stockholm Agreement will lead to the return of legitimate government’s power over al Hudaydah port and city during a press conference on January 3. Hadi also accused the al Houthi movement of sabotaging humanitarian aid and praised the role of Saudi Arabia in the Yemen peace process.[2]

A reported U.S. airstrike killed Jamal al Badawi, a planner of al Qaeda’s 2000 USS Cole bombing, in Yemen on January 4. Al Badawi was convicted in connection to the USS Cole bombing but escaped prison in 2006. Local news reported the airstrike occurred in al Bayda or Ma’rib governorate.[3]

Emirati-backed Shabwani Elite Forces clashed with local tribal forces in Markhah as Sufla district, northwestern Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen on January 4. Shabwani Elite Forces were attempting to arrest a suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militant in the district, sparking the clashes. An airstrike from an Emirati helicopter killed seven members of the local tribe after the clashes, according to local news sources. Shabwani Elite Forces deployed reinforcements to the district. Some pro-Emirati news sources have characterized all the tribal forces as part of AQAP.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-general, Nicholas Haysom, warned the United Nations Security Council that political turbulence could threaten Somalia’s positive trajectory on January 3. The Somali representative to the UN responded by urging the UN not to interfere in internal Somali affairs. The Somali Federal Government (FSG) declared Nicholas Haysom persona non grata after he questioned the FSG’s arrest of Mukhtar Robow and the subsequent clashes. Nicholas Haysom did not comment on the FSG declaring him persona non grata.[5]

Opposition groups called for the removal of President Omar al Bashir in protests in Khartoum and Omdurman cities, central Sudan on January 4. Sudanese opposition groups called for nationwide protests on January 3. Protesters also demonstrated in the anti-Omar al Bashir city of Atbara, River Nile region.[6]

Puntland regional assembly lawmakers elected Abdihakim Mohamed Ahmed as speaker of the regional assembly on January 4. The speaker of the assembly will form the electoral commission for the January 8 election. More than 25 candidates, including the incumbent, are expected to run for Puntland’s presidency.[7]

Al Shabaab militants killed Police Chief of Wardhigley district Moalim Dahir Hussein with small arms while he was en route to his police station in Mogadishu on January 4.[8]

[1] “UN Envoy bound for Yemen, Saudi Arabia for Yemen war talks,” Associated Press, January 3, 3019,; and “UN envoy heads to Yemen, Saudi Arabia as Hudaydah truce holds,” France 24, January 3, 2019,

[2] “President of the Republic: We are always working towards achieving the peace sought by our Yemeni people,” Official website of President Hadi, January 3, 2019,; and “Houthis should expect firm treatment...President Hadi in a press interview,” Aden Gad, January 3, 2019,

[3] “Al Qaeda leader killed by US drone strike in al Bayda,” Khabar News Agency, January 4, 2019,; and “The killing of al Qaeda leader Jamal al Badawi in drone strike,” Belqees TV, January 4, 2019,

[4] “Seven civilians and two Shabwani Elite Forces were killed by armed clashes and airstrikes,” Aden al Ghad, January 4, 2019,; “URGENT - Witnesses: Military reinforcements on their way to Markhah,” Aden al Ghad, January 4, 2019,; “Tribal mediation between the Shabwani Elite and tribes,” Aden al Ghad, January 4, 2019,; and “Seven al Qaeda militants were killed by Elite Forces in Shabwah,” al Mowaten, January 4, 2019,  

[5] “Statement of the Special representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Haysom, to the UN Security Council on 3 January 2019,” UNSOM, January 3, 2019,; and Margaret Besheer, “Somali Diplomat to UN: Don't Interfere in Our Internal Affairs,” VOA, January 3, 2019,

[6] “Protesters call on Sudan's President Bashir to step down,” BBC, January 4, 2019,; “Protests across Khartoum call on al-Bashir to step down,” AP, January 4, 2019,; and  Hamza Hendawi, “Sudan’s opposition calls for more protests against al-Bashir,” Washington Post, January 3, 2019,

[7] “Puntland assembly elects new speaker,” Radio Shabelle, January 4, 2019,; and “ Puntland Parliament elects new speaker,” Radio Dalsan, January 4, 2019,

[8] “Somali senior police officer killed in drive-by shooting in Mogadishu,” Xinhua, January 4, 2019,; and “Top Police Officer Killed in Mogadishu,” Radio Dalsan, January 4, 2019,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Feb '19
Jan '19
Dec '18