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 outlines three phases for political solution; two reported U.S. air strikes target AQAP in Ma’rib and Shabwah; coalition helicopter crashes in Aden and Emirati helicopter crashes in international waters; al Houthi delegation meets with U.S. Ambassador to Yemen in Kuwait; Adeni security services continue to deport northerners
Horn of Africa: Ethiopian and Eritrean forces exchange artillery fire in border region; al Shabaab claims to recover fallen UAV in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab executes four for alleged spying in Bay Region; IED detonates at Somali-Kenyan border; airstrikes target al Shabaab training camp in Bari region
Yemen Security Brief
- UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed convened all of the negotiating parties at the UN-led peace talks in Kuwait and outlined three main phases for political reconciliation. First, the al Houthi constitutional declaration will be canceled, the al Houthi Revolutionary Committee disbanded, and any changes made to state institutions reversed. Second, delegates will form a military commission under the supervision of the UN and neutral military leaders. The al Houthis and their allies must also withdraw all security forces from Sana’a, hand over all weapons, and allow the return of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government to the capital within two months. Lastly, all parties will form a national unity government. The delegations may depart Kuwait for the month of Ramadan to deliberate this plan. The UN Envoy was rumored to be preparing an international peace plan for Yemen, although these rumors may refer to a different plan than the three points revealed today. Separate sources claim the Envoy will release the international plan in less than two days.
- A reported U.S. airstrike killed two al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Ma’rib governorate on June 11. A second reported U.S. airstrike killed two AQAP militants and wounded three other militants in Habban, Shabwah governorate on June 12.
- A coalition Apache helicopter crashed along the coast of Buraiqa district, Aden on June 13. It is unclear if the crash was caused by enemy fire or a technical malfunction, and the pilot’s status is unknown. This is the second coalition helicopter crash in 24 hours. An Emirati helicopter crashed in international waters during a routine flight on June 12, killing the captain and crew. An Emirati investigation is ongoing.
- Al Houthi delegation leader Mohammed Abdul Salam and delegation member Hamza al Houthi met with the American Ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tueller twice on the sidelines of the ongoing peace talks in Kuwait. Ambassador Matthew Tueller has met many times with Hadi government officials, and has likely met with al Houthi officials in private during the current conflict.
- Rogue security services continue to deport citizens of northern Yemeni origin from Aden, despite Hadi government directives ordering an end to the deportations. The deportation of citizens without identity cards issued in southern Yemen began weeks ago but has become a daily occurrence. The forces responsible for the deportations are also forcing deportees to leave their possessions behind.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Ethiopian and Eritrean forces exchanged artillery fire near the Eritrean town of Tsorona on June 12. Both sides accused the other of initiating the hostilities at the historically contested border. The shelling ended at approximately 9:00 A.M. local time on June 13. An Ethiopian civilian in the nearby town of Zalambessa reportedly witnessed the mobilization of Ethiopian troops and armored vehicles. Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1991, and the border remains hotly contested. Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war from 1998 to 2000 in which approximately 80,000 people died.
- Al Shabaab claimed to recover a fallen unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the Gobanle area of Lower Shabelle region on June 12. Al Shabaab militants claimed that the drone contained six undetonated missiles and was of American origin. Pentagon spokespersons denied the allegation and noted that all assets in the region were accounted for.
- Al Shabaab executed four individuals in Bulo Filey town, Bay Region on June 11 for allegedly providing intelligence to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that resulted in the deaths of Ahmed Godane and Adnan Garaar, who were killed by U.S. drone strikes in 2014 and 2015, respectively. One of the four individuals al Shabaab beheaded was Mohamed Aden Nur, who was accused of providing information on Godane’s whereabouts to the CIA.
- Militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) on the Kenyan-Somali border north of Mandera, Kenya on June 11. The explosion did not cause any casualties, but a local county commissioner said that the severity of the blast indicated experience and planning. Al Shabaab militants executed a similar operation in Mandera that injured three Kenyan police officers on June 4.
- Unidentified warplanes launched airstrikes against al Shabaab training camps in the Galgala area of Bari region on June 11. No information on a specific casualty count was available.