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: Amnesty International accuses Emirati and Emirati-backed Yemeni forces of war crimes; AQAP ambushes Emirati-backed forces in Shabwah governorate; al Houthi forces fire ballistic missile at Emirati-backed forces on Yemen’s Red Sea coast 

Horn of Africa: President Trump announces nomination for U.S. ambassador to Somalia; SNA and AMISOM response to IED attack causes civilian casualties in Huriwa district, Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief        

Amnesty International accused Emirati and Emirati-backed Yemeni forces of engaging in arbitrary arrests and detentions, forced disappearances, and torture of terror suspects in a July 12 report. Emirati-backed forces also targeted activists and members of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islah party, according to the report. Amnesty International investigated 51 cases of deprivation of liberty by Emirati and Emirati-backed Yemeni forces that occurred between March 2016 and May 2018 in Aden, Lahij, Abyan, Shabwah, and Hadramawt governorates. The report called on the Emirati government to stop denying its role in the unofficial detention facilities and to bring the facilities under the oversight of Yemeni prosecutors. The report also called on the U.S. to ensure it does not receive information obtained through torture. Emirati officials denied Amnesty International’s claims and called the report “politically motivated” on July 12.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) ambushed Shabwani Elite Forces in Nuqbah valley, Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen on July 9. AQAP militants clashed with the Shabwani Elite Forces for 15 minutes. No deaths were reported.[2]

Al Houthi forces claimed to fire a Tochka ballistic missile targeting Emirati-backed Yemeni forces on Yemen’s western coast on July 11.[3] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

U.S. President Donald Trump announced his nomination for the American ambassador to Somalia on July 11. Trump nominated Donald Y. Yamamoto, the current Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, as the new ambassador to Somalia. Ambassador Yamamoto has previously served as ambassador in Ethiopia and Djibouti.[4]

Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops opened fire in Huriwa district, Mogadishu on July 12. The troops killed two civilians and injured four others in the gunfight. The incident occurred after an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an AMISOM military vehicle detonated in the district. Residents of Huriwa district reported two other explosions.[5]

[1] “Disappearances and torture in southern Yemen detention facilities must be investigated as war crimes,” Amnesty International, July 12, 2018,; and “UAE refutes Yemen secret prison allegations,” Gulf News, July 12, 2018,; and “God only knows if he’s alive,” Amnesty International, July 12, 2018,
[2]“Shabwani elite troops are exposed to ambush,” Tahdeeth, July 9, 2018,; and AQAP ambushed security forces in Nuqbah Valley, Telegram, July 10, 2018.
[3] "Tochka Ballistic missile targets concentrations of invaders and mercenaries in the West Coast," Saba Net, July 11, 2018,
[4] “US President nominate new ambassador to Somalia,” Mareeg, July 12, 2018,; “U.S. appoints new ambassador to Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, July 12, 2018,; and Emily Birnbaum, “Trump announces ambassador for Somalia, Nicaragua,” The Hill, July 11, 2018,
[5] Mogadishu News, Twitter, July 12, 2018,; “2 civilians killed in AMISOM, SNA shooting,” Radio Dalsan, July 12, 2018,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 12, 2018,

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