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 meets with al Houthi leaders in Sana’a to discuss al Hudaydah; al Houthi UAV bombs Saudi-led coalition headquarters in Aden governorate; al Houthi forces unveil underground missile launcher; militants attempt to assassinate Imam in al Dhaleh governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks Kenyan base in Gedo region, southern Somalia; al Shabaab IED targets Kenyan forces in Lamu County, northeastern Kenya; al Shabaab IED targets Kenyan police vehicle in Garissa County, northeastern Kenya; al Shabaab attacks SNA and Jubbaland forces in Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia; al Shabaab attacks Jubbaland base in Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab attacks militia in Galmudug region, central Somalia; UN reports increased IDPs in southern Ethiopia

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths met with al Houthi leaders Abdul Malik al Houthi and Mahdi al Mashat to discuss negotiations over al Hudaydah port city in Sana’a city, central Yemen on July 2 and 3. An al Houthi official said that the conditions set by the Hadi government are obstacles to the negotiating process. Mashat warned Griffiths against prolonging the conflict under the guise of UN negotiations. Griffiths said that all parties in Yemen are committed to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict during remarks at Sana’a International Airport on July 4. Griffiths will brief the UN Security Council on July 5 and will meet with Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi after to continue negotiations over al Hudaydah.[1]

An al Houthi unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) bombed a Saudi-led coalition base in al Buraiqeh district, Aden governorate, southern Yemen on July 5. Saudi-led coalition forces shot down the UAV. This is the first time an al Houthi drone has reached Aden. Al Houthi media distributed a video of a drone dropping explosives on coalition-backed forces for the first time on July 2.[2]

Al Houthi forces unveiled a Badr 1 underground missile launcher on July 3. Al Houthi forces claimed the launcher cannot be targeted by Saudi-led coalition warplanes. [3] 

Militants attempted to assassinate Imam Lutfi Ali Mana’a of al Sahaba mosque in al Dhaleh city, al Dhaleh governorate, central Yemen on July 4. The attackers blew up his car, but he was not in it at the time of the attack. Mana’a is a prominent member of the Southern Resistance in al Dhaleh. There have been over 30 assassinations or attempts on clerics over the past two years.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab attacked a Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) base in Fafahdhun area, Gedo region, southern Somalia on July 5. Al Shabaab attacked the base with mortars and small arms.[5]

Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a KDF vehicle carrying soldiers in the Ijara area of Lamu town, Kenya on July 5. Al Shabaab killed seven Kenyan soldiers in the attack. Al Shabaab claimed the attack.[6]

Al Shabaab detonated an IED targeting a Kenyan police vehicle in Garissa county, northeastern Kenya, on July 4. Al Shabaab injured six Kenyan police officers in the attack. Kenyan police claimed to have engaged al Shabaab militants in heavy gunfire, forcing the militants to flee.[7]

Al Shabaab launched an attack on Somali National Army (SNA) and Jubbaland forces in Muse Haji village, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on July 3. The SNA and Jubbaland troops were conducting a security operation in Muse Haji village when al Shabaab militants ambushed them. SNA forces claimed to have killed 20 al Shabaab militants.[8]

Al Shabaab attacked a Jubbaland forces military base in Baarka village, Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on July 3. Al Shabaab claimed killing three Jubbaland troops. Kismayo authorities denied this claim, stating that they inflicted heavy losses on the al Shabaab militants.[9]

Al Shabaab claimed killing 15 soldiers from a “pro-Ethiopia” militia in Haradheere area, Galmudug region, central Somalia on July 4. The fighting erupted after the militia resisted al Shabaab’s efforts to recruit teenagers from the community.[10]

The United Nations reported that inter-ethnic violence displaced 800,000 people in southern Ethiopia in June. The two areas with the most internally displaced persons (IDPs) are Gedeo and West Guji. Disputes over land and political representation have led to violence in several of Ethiopia’s ethnicity-based federal states in recent years.[11]

[1] “UN Envoy says Yemen’s parties offer ‘concrete ideas’ for peace,” Reuters, July 4, 2018,; Ahmed al Haj, “No breakthrough in Yemen conflict after envoy visit,” Associated Press, July 4, 2018,; “Houthis describe the terms of alliance and warn Griffiths of obstacles,” News Yemen, July 4, 2018,; and “Special Envoy’s remarks to the press at the end of a 3-day visit to Sana’a,” Martin Griffiths, OSESGY, July 4, 2018,
[2] “The Arab coalition shot down an al Houthi drone in Aden after the drone targeted the Arab coalition headquarters,” Aden al Ghad,; “The sound of explosions in Aden and sources are talking about the Arab Coalition shooting down an al Houthi drone,” Al Masdar Online, July 5, 2018,; “The air force targets the headquarters of the Alliance of Aggression in Aden,” Saba News, July 05,; and "Military Media publishes scenes of operations of the air force in the West Coast," Al Masirah, July 2, 2018,
[3] "Army unveils underground ballistic missile launchers," Saba News, July 03, 2018,; and "Yemen’s Houthis highlight new underground missile launchers," Long War Journal, July 4, 2018,      
[4] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, July 5, 2018,; and “Car bomb explodes the car of Sahaba mosque’s Imam in al Daleh governorate,” Al Madaniya, July 4, 2018,
[5] “Al-Shabaab attacks KDF base in southern Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, July 5, 2018,
[6] “Deadly blast kills 7 Kenyan police soldiers in Lamu,” Mareeg, July 5, 2018,; Mogadishu News, Twitter, July 5, 2018,
[7] “Roadside blast injures six Kenyan police officers near Somalia border,” Radio Shabelle, July 4, 2018,; and “Roadside blast injures six Kenyan police officers in border region,” Xinhua, July 4, 2018,
[8] “Heavy fighting breaks out in the Lower Juba region, Somalia,” Goobjoog News, July 4, 2018,; and “Deadly fighting kills 20 people in south of Somalia,” Mareeg, July 4, 2018,
[9] “Al-Shabaab raids Jubbaland army base near Kismayo; 3 soldiers dead,” Radio Shabelle, July 4, 2018,
[10] “Shabaab claims killing 15 ‘pro-Ethiopia militia’ elements in Mudug, 2 attacks in Kenya,” SITE Intelligence Group, July 4, 2018, available by subscription at; and “Fighting between Somalia’s al Shabaab and clan militias leave 17 dead,” Reuters, July 5, 2018,
[11] George Obulutsa, “Violence in southern Ethiopia forces more than 800,000 to flee,” Reuters, July 4, 2018,; and “Ethiopia: West Guji-Gedeo conflict displacement flash update #5, 29 June 2018,” UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, June 29, 2018,

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