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: U.S. Central Command conducts 36 airstrikes in 2018; AQAP claims shooting of Islamic State member in al Bayda; Hadi’s foreign minister says no new consultations without Stockholm implementation; UN Envoy to Yemen briefs UN Security Council; UN Secretary General calls for deployment of additional UN monitors to Yemen

Horn of Africa: Sudanese President blames conspiracy and praises military as protests continue; Ethiopia-Eritrea border trade flourishes as crossings open

Yemen Security Brief

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) reported on January 7 that it has conducted 36 total airstrikes in Yemen against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State in Yemen in 2018. The airstrikes took place in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen, al Bayda and Shabwah governorates in central Yemen, and Hadramawt governorate in eastern Yemen.[1] 

AQAP claimed that a sniper shot an Islamic State Wilayat al Bayda member in Qayfa area, northwestern al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on January 8. Wilayat al Bayda announced the martyrdom of Mukhtar al Ansari on January 8.[2]

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Foreign Minister Khalid al Yamani said on January 9 that there will be no new round of consultations with the al Houthi movement until the Stockholm Agreement is implemented. Al Yamani called on the international community to exert more pressure on the al Houthi movement.[3]

United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths stated that both parties in Yemen remain committed to the progress of the Stockholm Agreement during a brief to the UN Security Council on January 9. Griffiths stated that both parties are “largely adhering” to the al Hudaydah ceasefire, but acknowledged that there is still violence in and around al Hudaydah city. A meeting of the supervisory committee for the prisoner exchange is expected to convene on January 14 in Amman, Jordan. Griffiths also noted minor progress on the Taiz issue, stating that representatives from his office met with the Governor of Taiz on January 8 and a meeting of the committee on Taiz is expected by January 31. Griffiths stated that the next priorities in Yemen are reopening Sana’a airport and the Central Bank of Yemen.[4]

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres requested the deployment of up to 75 UN observers in al Hudaydah city for six months to monitor the ceasefire in a proposal to the UN Security Council on December 31. Guterres pointed out that a larger observation team would contribute to the support of the fragile political situation in al Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen. The UN Security Council must approve this decision by January 20, when the 30-day authorization for the current UN monitoring team led by Dutch Major General Patrick Cammaert expires.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Thousands of protesters demonstrated against Sudanese President Omar al Bashir on January 9 in al Gadaref, southeast of the capital Khartoum. The “martyrs’ rally” memorialized protesters killed since civil unrest began in mid-December. Police have killed at least 40 people and detained more than 800 others since protests began. Bashir blamed a conspiracy for the violence in a speech at a military base on January 9.[6]

The BBC reported that trade is booming across the Ethiopian-Eritrean border as border crossings reopen. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki signed a peace deal in July 2018 that restored diplomatic ties after nearly 20 years.[7]

[1] “CENTCOM counterterrorism strikes in Yemen in 2018 rollup,” U.S. Central Command, January 7, 2019,; and “President Hadi agrees to extend the Hudaydah agreement,” Belqees TV, January 9, 2019,

[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, January 8, 2019,

[3] “Khalid al Yamani: no new round of consultations with the al Houthi movement,” Al Ittihad, January 9, 2019,

[4] Adam Baron, Twitter, January 9, 2019,; and Office of the Special Envoy to Yemen, Twitter,

[5] “Guterres calls for the deployment of 75 observers for the truce in Yemen,” Al Khaleej Online, January 8, 2019,; and “UN chief wants to deploy up to 75 truce monitors to Yemen,” Michelle Nichols, Reuters, January 8, 2019,

[6] “Bashir blames conspirators for protest violence,” AFP, January 1, 2019,; and “Thousands protest al-Bashir’s rule in eastern Sudanese city,” AFP, January 1, 2019,

[7] Emmanuel Igunza, “Ethiopia-Eritrea border boom as peace takes hold,” BBC, January 9, 2019,

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