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: Al Hudaydah governor announces plans to seize al Hudaydah port city; Associated Press reports guards sexually assault and torture detainees in Emirati prisons in southern Yemen; al Houthi forces fire ballistic missile targeting Aramco oil facility in Abha, Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Jubbaland commander alleges that Kenyan AMISOM forces are refusing to fight al Shabaab in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Eritrea to send delegation to Ethiopia for peace talks; car bomb injures civilians in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s al Hudaydah Governor Hassan Taher announced Emirati-backed Yemeni forces will move in two fronts to seize al Hudaydah port in a June 19 statement.  Emirati-backed forces will advance towards the main road east of the city leading to Sana’a and along the coastal al Corniche road on the southwest edge of al Hudaydah city. He warned al Hudaydah citizens to avoid these areas. Taher stated that the Emirati-backed forces aim to enter the city in the safest way possible but acknowledged the dangers of military forces clashing within the city.[1]

Detainees are tortured and sexually abused in Emirati-run prisons in southern Yemen, according to a June 20 Associated Press report. The report alleges that Yemeni guards working under the direction of Emirati officers have abused hundreds of detainees and held terror suspects without trials or charges. Prisoners passed drawings with written descriptions of the sexual assault and torture to AP reporters. A Yemeni commander expressed concern that the use of torture is driving recruitment for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS).  The AP first reported on widespread abuse in Emirati-run prisons in Yemen in June 2017.U.S. officials denied they have received credible allegations of torture. The UN and Human Rights Watch have previously reported similar allegations.[2]

Al Houthi forces fired a Badr 1 ballistic missile at an Aramco oil facility in Abha, Asir region, southwestern Saudi Arabia. Aramco officials stated their facilities are functioning properly.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A Somali military commander in Lower Jubba region accused the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) participating in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) of refusing to participate in fighting against al Shabaab in Kismayo city, Lower Jubba region. The Jubbaland army commander stated that his forces would continue fighting al Shabaab in the Lower Jubba region. Kenyan forces recaptured the port city from al Shabaab in 2012.[4] 

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki announced that he will send a delegation to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for peace talks. Afwerki gave the speech at a Martyrs’ Day event in Asmara on June 20. The statement follows the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s announcement on June 5 that Ethiopia will accept the 2000 Algiers Peace Agreement between the two countries. This announcement marks the first step toward peace talks between Ethiopia and Eritrea since 1998.[5]

 A car bomb exploded at Makkah al Makarrama road, Xaaji Basto area, Mogadishu on June 20. The bomb was attached to the vehicle. The explosion injured the two civilians in the car. The bombing is the first explosion in Mogadishu in forty days. No group claimed the attack but al Shabaab is likely responsible.[6]

[1] “Secure Plan to enter the city after the liberation of the airport,” Al Ittihad, June 19, 2018,
[2] “Detainees held without charges decry Emiratis’ sexual abuses,” Maggie Michael, AP News, June 20, 2018,
[3] “Houthis say launch missile at Aramco facility in Saudi Arabia,” Reuters, June 19, 2018,
[4] “Kenya: AMISOM ignores to join war on al Shabaab,” Mareeg, June 20, 2018,
[5] Aaron Maasho, “Eritrea welcomes Ethiopia PM’s olive branch, raising hopes of breakthrough,”Reuters, June 20, 2018,; “Ertirea to Send Delegation to Ethiopia for Peace Talks,” NY Times, June 20, 2018,; “Eritrea to send delegation to Ethiopia for talks,” Al Jazeera, June 20, 2018,; Paul Schemm, “Eritrea breaks silence and responds to Ethiopia peace overtures, will send delegation,” The Washington Post, June 20, 2018,; and “Breaking: President Isaias announces Eritrea to dispatch delegation to Ethiopia,” Addis Standard, June 20, 2018,
[6] “Somalia: Car bomb injures 2 people in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, June 20, 2018,; “Explosion in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog, June 20, 2018,; and “Car bomb wounds at least two in Somali capital,” Radio Shabelle, June 20, 2018,
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