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 Martin Griffiths meets with President Hadi; al Houthi forces cut supply line in southern al Hudaydah governorate; militants detonate IED targeting security official in Aden city

Horn of Africa: SNA claims al Shabaab leader dead of natural causes; al Shabaab IED targets Somali military vehicle in Wanlaweyn town, Lower Shabelle region; Somali forces conduct operation against al Shabaab in Jilib district, Middle Jubba region; Ethiopian prime minister appoints new police commissioner for Addis Ababa 

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths met with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi to discuss a proposal for an al Houthi withdrawal from al Hudaydah Port in Aden City, southern Yemen on June 27. Griffiths told President Hadi that the al Houthi officials agreed to allow UN administration of  al Hudaydah port. Hadi government Foreign Minister Khaled al Yamani said that port security and management cannot be achieved separately from al Hudaydah City in a statement on June 27. He also reiterated that the al Houthi forces must withdraw from the Red Sea coast. [1]

Al Houthi forces counterattacked Emirati-backed Yemeni forces in southern al Hudaydah governorate on June 26 and 27, cutting a supply line from southern Yemen to al Hudaydah airport. Al Houthi forces seized the al Jah and al Fazah areas, located along the main coastal road in southern al Hudaydah, from forces led by Tariq Saleh. Over 1,250 Emirati-backed troops in al Hudaydah airport were cut off from supplies because of the counterattack, according to an Emirati-backed commander. Tariq’s National Resistance Forces claimed to recapture the al Fazah area on June 27.[2]

Militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Colonel Abdulqader al Ja’ari of the 103 Brigade in Khormaksar district in Aden city, southern Yemen. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The Somali National Army (SNA) announced that the leader of al Shabaab, Ahmed Diriye Abu Ubaidah, also known as Ahmad Umar, died due to illness in Jilib district, Middle Jubba region on June 27. The SNA did not provide any evidence of the death. Al Shabaab responded to the SNA announcement and stated that its leader is alive and healthy.[4]

Al Shabaab detonated an IED targeting a Somali military vehicle carrying Somali special forces (Danab) in Wanlaweyn town, Lower Shabelle region on June 27. The explosion killed three Danab soldiers and injured seven others. Al Shabaab claimed the attack.[5]

The Somali National Army (SNA) attacked al Shabaab targets in Jilib district, Middle Jubba region on June 26. The SNA killed 30 al Shabaab foreign fighters from Kenya and Sudan in the operation. The attack injured a senior commander. Local media sources could not determine if the commander was captured or if he escaped with injuries. The SNA claimed the operation a success.[6]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a new police commissioner for Addis Ababa on June 26. Ethiopian authorities detained nine police officers, including the Deputy Commissioner of Addis Ababa, in relation to a grenade attack at a rally for Ahmed on June 23. Organizers of the rally have claimed the attack was an assassination attempt on the prime minister.[7]

[1] “Foreign Minister: I cannot imagine the port management and the security provisions separate from al Hudaydah City,” Saba New, June 27, 2018,; and Mohamed Mokhashef, “UN Envoy resumes talks to avert all out attack on Yemen’s main port,” Reuters, June 27, 2018,; and “Yemen: Council adopts conclusions,” the European Council, June 27, 2018,

[2] “Houthis besieging the Giants forces at Hodeidah airport,” Aden al Ghad, June 27, “Tarek Saleh’s force regain control of the area south of Hodeidah vase,” Al Masdar Online, June 26,; and “Report: Army archives great victories against Saudi-paid mercenaries in combat fronts,” Saba Net, June 18, 2018,

[3] “A senior military commander and a number of his companions were injured in a bomb blast in Aden,” Adengd, June 27, 2018,

[4] Harun Maruf, Twitter, June 27, 2018,; “Is Al Shabaab leader dead in Somalia,” Mareeg, June 27, 2018,; Jerry Omondi, “Somalia National Army claims al Shabaab leader dead,” Africa CGTN, June 27, 2018,; and “Somalia: Al-Shabab denies its leader is dead,” Garowe, June 27, 2018,

[5] “Deadly explosion kills 3 soldiers in Somalia,” Mareeg, June 27, 2018,; and Mogadishu News, Twitter, June 27, 2018,

[6] Mohamed Osman, “Somali National Army kills 30 foreign terrorist fighters in Jilib,” Somali National News Agency, June 27, 2018,; Mogadishu News, Twitter, June 27, 2018,; and Mogadishu News, Twitter, June 27, 2018,

[7] Nizar Manek, “Ethiopia names new police chief for capital after blast at rally,” Bloomberg, June 26, 2018,; and Colin Dwyer and Eyder Peralta, “Grenade attack tears through rally for Ethiopian prime minister,” NPR, June 23, 2018,

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