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 Saudi officials in Jeddah; Hadi government minister says prisons are now under government control; Tihama Resistance Forces protest unpaid salaries south of al Hudaydah; Iraqi PMF announces readiness to fight alongside al Houthi forces in Yemen; Saudi-led coalition warplanes destroy al Houthi communication system in Sa’ada governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab detonates two VBIEDs at Somali interior and security ministries in Mogadishu; Ethiopia and Eritrea sign peace declaration; al Shabaab launches mortars at KDF base in Gedo region, southwest Somalia; al Shabaab assassinates former electoral delegate in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths met with Saudi officials to discuss Saudi support for Yemeni negotiations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 8. Griffiths traveled to Aden city, southern Yemen for meetings with Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi to continue negotiations over  al Hudaydah on July 9. Emirati-backed Yemeni forces have not yet resumed an offensive on al Hudaydah port but are currently attempting to seize al Houthi-held Tuhayta city in southern al Hudaydah governorate.[1]

The Hadi government deputy interior minister stated that the prisons mentioned in the Associated Press report on Emirati torture in Yemen are now under Yemeni government control. He initially denied that secret prisons outside of government control ever existed during a visit to Aden on July 8. Other security officials stated al Hizam Security Forces remain in control of the outside of the Yemeni government’s authority. The Hadi government transport minister stated that the government does not have control of the Aden Airport on July 8. He stated that non-governmental Aden Security Forces is running as normal.[2]

Tihama Resistance forces protested unpaid salaries by blocking a coalition supply route between Taiz governorate and al Hudaydah city on the western coast of Yemen on July 8. A member of the Tihama Resistance forces said that the government did not pay them in May and June. The forces vowed to continue and escalate the protests until they are paid. Tihama Resistance forces have been participating in the Emirati-led offensive to seize Yemen’s Red Sea coast.[3]

The leader of an Iranian-backed Iraqi militias declared that his forces are ready to fight alongside the al Houthi forces in Yemen. Kata'ib Sayyid al Shuhada leader Abu Walaa Al Walai said he is awaiting orders from al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi.[4]

Saudi-led coalition warplanes destroyed an al Houthi military communication system in Haydan and Razih districts in Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen on July 7. The coalition claimed the communication system included advanced technological capabilities operated with the help of “foreign experts.”[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) at the Somali interior and security Ministries located near the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu on July 7. Three militants stormed the ministries after the VBIED detonations. The attacks killed 34 people. Somali security forces killed the three al Shabaab militants after a two-hour gun battle.   The security ministry arrested 14 security officials for allegedly being linked to the attack. . Al Shabaab claimed the attack.[6]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki signed a peace declaration on July 9. The declaration declared an end to the border conflict between the two countries that began in 1998. The peace talks in Asmara that began on July 8 marked the first time the two leaders had met in 20 years.[7]

Al Shabaab attacked a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) base with mortars in Fafahdun town, Gedo region, southwest Somalia on July 7. Al Shabaab killed three soldiers in the attack, including the commander of the base.[8]

Two al Shabaab militants assassinated a former Somali electoral delegate near Dabka junction, Mogadishu on July 8. Al Shabaab claimed the attack.[9]

[1] OSE_Yemen, Twitter, July 9, 2018,; Asa Fitch, “With much at stake in Yemen port, coalition puts advance on hold,” Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2018,; and “Martin Griffiths meets with Saudi officials in Jeddah,” Al Masdar online, July 9, 2018,
[2] Ahmed al-Haj, “Official says prisons under government control in Yemen,” The Washington Post, July 9, 2018,; and “Yemeni transport minister: We have no security control over Aden airport,” al Masdar Online, July 9, 2018,
[3] “Tahami Resistance forces protest in al Khukha and cut off the supply route,” al Masdar online, July 8, 2018,
[4] Mina Aldroubi, "Iran-backed Iraqi militia declares support for Houthis," The National, July 8, 2018,; and "Iran-backed Iraqi militia declares readiness for fighting with Houthis," The Baghdad Post, July 8, 2018,   
[5] “Arab coalition destroys Houthi military communication network," Al Arabiya, July 7, 2018,; "Houthi dead hundreds ... and the destruction of military communications headquarters in Saada" Sky News, July 8,; "The coalition destroys a Houthi military communications system in Haydan and Razah," Makkah Newspaper, July 8,; and “Legitimate Forces Liberate Mountain Range in Saada, Advance on Zabid.” Ashraq al Awsat, July 9, 2018,  
[6] “Shabaab claims over 34 killed, dozens wounded in suicide attack in Mogadishu,” July 8, 2018, available by subscription at; “Mogadishu car bomb attack claimed by al-Shabab,” BBC News, July 7, 2018,; “Attack on Somalia’s interior ministry kills at least nine,” Al Jazeera, July 7, 2018,; “Somalia: deadly attack on Interior Ministry in Mogadishu kills at least 13,” Garowe, July 7, 2018,; Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar, “Al Shabaab fighters attack Somalia police HQ after twin bombings,” Reuters, July 7, 2018,; “Somalia: 12 people dead in suicide explosions in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, July 7, 2018,; and “Somalia: Security officials arrested over Saturday’s attack in Mogadishu,” Radio Kulmiye, July 9, 2018,
[7] “Ethiopia’s Abiy and Eritrea’s Afewerki declare end of war,” BBC News, July 9, 2018,; “Ethiopia and Eritrea declare ‘state of war’ over,” Al Jazeera, July 9, 2018,; Merrit Kennedy, “Ethiopia and Eritrea have been in conflict for 20 years. Today, their leaders hugged,” NPR, July 8, 2018,; and Selam Gebrekidan, “Ethiopia and Eritrea, longtime foes, meet for peace talks,” The New York Times, July 8, 2018,
[8] “Somalia: KDF camp attacked by al Shabaab,” Mareeg, July 8, 2018,; “Al Shabaab claims killing Kenyan military officer in Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, July 8, 2018,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 8, 2018,
[9] “Gunmen kill former electoral delegate in Mogadishu,” Radio Shabelle, July 9, 2018,
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