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: Reported U.S. airstrike targets AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate; Emirati-backed Yemeni forces renew offensive to seize Zabid and Tuhayta cities in southern al Hudaydah governorate; protestors call for Emirati-backed forces to assume control of Sayun district in Hadramawt

Horn of Africa: ISIS IED kills six police officers in Bakara market, Mogadishu; al Shabaab claims attack on militia in ‘Aad town, Galmudug region and Qalimow town, Middle Shabelle region; Ethiopian government fires prison officials for human rights abuses; EU parliament condemns UAE and Saudi Arabia for cutting financial support to Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

A reported U.S. airstrike hit an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) vehicle in Bayhan district, northern Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen on July 6. The airstrike killed seven AQAP militants. [1]

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces renewed offensives to seize the district capitals of Zabid and Tuhayta cities in southern al Hudaydah governorate on July 5. Southern Giants forces also attacked al Houthi positions east of al Hudaydah city near the main road connecting al Hudaydah city to the capital Sana’a.[2]

 Yemenis called on Emirati-backed Hadhrami Elite Forces to assume full responsibility for security in Sayun district, central Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen on July 5. The protestors claimed that Hadi government forces have failed to secure their communities and that crime is rampant in Hadramawt valley.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The ISIS branch in Somalia claimed responsibility for an improvised explosive device (IED) attack targeting a police checkpoint in Bakara market, Mogadishu on July 3. ISIS killed six police officers in the attack. The website Strategic Intelligence reported that the ISIS branch “Abnaa al-Cilapha” (Sons of the Caliphate) claimed responsibility for the attack through the pro-ISIS Amaq News Agency.[4]

Al Shabaab claimed killing 23 soldiers from a “pro-Ethiopia” militia in ‘Aad town, Galmudug region, central Somalia on July 6. Al Shabaab also claimed killing two Somali soldiers at a military checkpoint in Qalimow town, Middle Shabelle region, southern Somalia on July 6.[5]

The Ethiopian government fired five prison officials in response to reported human right abuses at Jail Ogaden in Jijiga, Somali Region, Ethiopia on July 5. The federal prison chief was among those fired. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed criticized the Ethiopian state’s human rights violations in a speech to parliament on June 19.[6]

The European Parliament condemned the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia on July 4 for cutting financial support to Somalia. Saudi Arabia and the UAE stopped their financial assistance to Mogadishu after the Somali government refused to sever ties with Qatar. Somalia has remained neutral since the Gulf crisis began in June 2017. The European Parliament statement urged the UAE and Saudi Arabia to stop all acts of destabilization in Somalia. Somalia is heavily dependent on trade and economic assistance from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.[7]

[1] "An American drone strike killed 7 AQAP militants in Shabwah," Akhbar Al Aan, July 6, 2018,; and "The death of seven AQAP militants in an airstrike in Shabwah governorate in Yemen, “Youm 7, July 6, 2018,
[2] “A sudden decision by the coalition and legitimacy to resume military operations to liberate Hodeidah. Details of surprise attack with air cover and land," Mareb Press, July 5, 2018,; and "Southern Giants" launches a large-scale operation to liberate al Tahita," Al Youm al Thamin, July 5, 2018,
[3] "A protest call for handing over the security of Wadi Hadramout to the elite forces," Aden al Ghad, July 5, 2018,; and "Thousands in Hadramout protest to demand the departure of Abu Awja forces from the valley and hand over to the elite forces of Hadramawt," Tahdeed, July 5, 2018,
[4] David Goldman, “Islamic States in Somalia ‘Abnaa Ul-Calipha’ conducts 60th attack, their deadliest so far,” Intelligence Briefs, July 3, 2018,
[5] “Shabaab claims killing an additional 23 ‘pro-Ethiopia militia’ elements in Mudug,” SITE intelligence group, July 6, 2018, available by subscription at
[6] Paul Schemm, “Ethiopia fires prison officials over human rights abuses amid torture report,” The Washington Post, July 5, 2018,; “Ethiopia fires prison officials, confronts torture claims,” VOA, July 5, 2018,;“Ethiopia: torture in Somali region prison,” Human Rights Watch, July 4, 2018,; and Salem Solomon, “Ethiopia’s Somali regional state denies torture claims,” VOA, July 6, 2018,
[7] “EU slams UAE retaliatory acts against Somalia over Gulf crisis,” Al Jazeera, July 5, 2018,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 5, 2018,

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