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 for Yemen states his priority is to prevent military confrontation in al Hudaydah; STC threatens secession after al Houthi movement is defeated

Horn of Africa: IGAD submits a proposal for peace in South Sudan; SNA and U.S. forces kill al Shabaab commander in Arare area, Sanguni, Lower Jubba region; Eritrean-based Ethiopian rebel group Ginbot 7 announces willingness to end armed resistance; Ethiopia unblocks 246 websites and TV channels

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths stated that his priority in Yemen is to prevent military confrontation in al Hudaydah port city in a statement from Amman, Jordan on June 21. Griffiths added that he was “encouraged” by his meetings with al Houthi leadership and that he will be meeting with Hadi government officials soon. Griffiths also stated he planned to relaunch negotiations to resolve the civil war in the “coming weeks.”[1]

Chief of the Foreign Relations for the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) in North America Abdulsalam Mused warned that conflict for southern independence may begin once fighting against the al Houthi movement ends.  Mused criticized Arab media and the international media for ignoring the role of southern forces in liberating al Hudaydah governorate from the al Houthi forces. He also stated that southern forces have proven themselves by effectively removing al Qaeda from parts of Yemen and continue to protect their cities and citizens. He demanded that southern Yemenis be included in negotiations citing that they are “well-armed” and “not willing to submit to a ‘one Yemen’ solution.”[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The eight East African member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development met in Addis Ababa to discuss the civil war in South Sudan on June 21. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former vice-president and rival leader Riek Machar were present. The IGAD ministers submitted a peace proposal to the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government for endorsement. South Sudanese president Kiir preemptively rejected the proposal while Machar demanded “more” time to launch a new comprehensive peace process.[3]

Somali National Army (SNA) and U.S. forces killed an al Shabaab commander in Arare area north of Sanguni, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia according to Somali National Army Radio. The target was the al Shabaab commander for the Middle and Lower Jubba regions. Al Shabaab killed one U.S. Special Operations Forces soldier near Sanguni on June 8. The report did not specify the date of the operation.[4] 

The exiled Ethiopian opposition group Ginbot 7 announced on June 20 it was prepared to abandon its armed struggle and return to Ethiopia if reforms continue apace. The group said it is hopeful that there “may be” the possibility of “genuine democracy” as a result of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s political reforms. Ahmed pardoned Secretary-General of Ginbot 7 Andargachew Tsege on May 29.[5] 

The Ethiopian government unblocked 246 banned website and television Channels on June 22. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Chief of Staff announced the news on Twitter, saying “freedom of expression is a foundational right.” Ahmed has undertaken a series of political and economic reforms since taking office in April in addition to seeking to mend ties with Ethiopia’s neighbors.[6]

[1] “Statement by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen,” OSESGY, June 21, 2018,
[2] “For Yemen’s Southern Resistance, the Next Battle is for Independence,” Abdulsalam Mused, The Defense Post, June 21, 2018,
[3] “Ethiopia’s PM calls to endorse IGAD bridging proposal for peace in South Sudan,” Sudan Tribune, June 22, 2018,; “Machar’s group rejects imposition of peace agreement,” Radio Tamazuj, June 21, 2018,; “Roundup: IGAD puts forward final bridging proposal to S. Sudan’s peace process,” Xinhua, June 22, 2018,; “South Sudan peace deals attempt fails as Kiir rejects Machar,” Standard Digital, June 22, 2018,; and Paul Schemm, “Meeting of South Sudan’s warring leaders leaves many feeling dubious,” The Washington Post, June 21, 2018,
[4] Harun Maruf, Twitter, June 22, 2018,
[5] “Ethiopia’s Ginbot 7 opposition movement suspends armed resistance,” BBC, June 22, 2018,
[6] “Ethiopia unblocks more than 200 websites as reforms continue,” AP, June 22, 2018,
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