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: Trump administration considers supporting Emirati-backed offensive on al Hudaydah; al Houthi movement threatens to attack Abu Dhabi with ballistic missiles; UN Special Envoy discusses peace process with al Houthi officials

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants storm SNA base near Kulbiyow, Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab militants attack Puntland army base in in Balikhadar, Bari region; al Shabaab recaptures Moqokori town, Hiiraan region; al Shabaab executes two Kenyans accused of spying in Fino town, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab kills six traders in Qura’a Jome Village, Bakool region

Yemen Security Brief

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is considering an Emirati proposal to provide U.S. support for an offensive to seize al Hudaydah port from the al Houthi movement. Saudi-led coalition officials told U.S. personnel that the coalition will not attempt to seize the port without U.S. backing. U.S. officials expressed concern for the humanitarian impact of the offensive, which aid agencies have warned even a temporary closure of the port could significantly exacerbate the humanitarian crisis. Emirati-backed forces advanced roughly 30 miles north along the Red Sea coast toward al Hudaydah in late May in preparation for an offensive on the port.[1]

Al Houthi Spokesman Brigadier General Sharaf Ghaleb Loqman threatened to attack Abu Dhabi in the UAE on June 1. Loqman stated that “Abu Dhabi is no longer safe and is in range of Yemeni missiles” during a press conference. Loqman also downplayed recent al Houthi losses on the Red Sea coast. Al Houthi forces claimed to fire a missile at Barakah Nuclear Power Plant just west of Abu Dhabi in early December 2017. Emirati officials denied that the December missile reached Emirati territory.[2]

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths met with al Houthi officials in Sana’a city to discusses the Yemeni peace process on June 2 and 3. Griffiths also attempted to revive a proposal to have the UN administer al Hudaydah port in order to avoid a coalition-backed offensive on the city, according to Yemeni and Saudi sources. Saudi-led coalition Spokesman Turiq al Maliki rejected the proposal on June 4 and emphasized the port will be transferred to the internationally recognized Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government after coalition-backed forces size al Hudaydah.[3]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Approximately 100 al Shabaab fighters stormed a Somali National Army (SNA) base on the outskirts of Kulbiyow town, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on June 3. The SNA fended off the attack and killed over 20 al Shabaab militants.[4]

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Puntland Security Forces (PSF) base and killed five soldiers in Balikhadar, Galgala Mountains, Bari region, northern Somalia on June 1. The PSF responded by killing at least 41 al Shabaab militants in al Madow Mountains, Maraje area, northern Somalia on June 2.[5]

Al Shabaab fighters recaptured Moqokori town, Hiiraan district, Somalia on June 1. Al Shabaab fighters regained control of the city a month after SNA troops ousted al Shabaab from the town.[6]

Al Shabaab executed two Kenyans accused of Spying for the Kenyan Defense Forces in Fino town, Lower Shabelle, Somalia on May 28.[7]

Al Shabaab killed six traders and burned their vehicles in Qura’a Jome Village, Bakool region, southwestern Somalia on June 3.[8]

[1] Dion Nissenbaum, “U.S. Weighs Expanding Military Role in Yemen War,” The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2018,
[2] “Army spokesman: Abu Dhabi is no longer safe today and the army and the committees are restoring all sites on the west coast,” Saba News, June 1, 2018,
[3] Patrick Wintour, “UN envoy seeks deal to avert Saudi-led assault on Yemeni port,” The Guardian, June 4, 2018,; “UN envoy arrives in Sanaa for final round of negotiations,” Aden Lang, June 2, 2018,; “The margin of political maneuver .. Griffith in Sanaa .. A last chance before the decisive in Hodeidah,” Aden Lang, June 3, 2018,; and “The position of the coalition on the Houthis' request for Hodeidah,” Gulf 365, June 4, 2018,موقف-التحالف-بشأن-طلب-الحوثيين-حول-الحديدة.html.
[4] Goldberg Jane Heller, “Over 20 Al Shabaab Militants Killed By SNA Troops After A Botched Attack On Military Base In Kulbiyow, Lower Jubba,” Intelligence Briefs, June 4, 2018,
[5] Al Shabaab fighters storm Puntland military base in Balikhadar, Harun Maruf, Twitter, June 1, 2018,; and Shmuel Yosef Agnon “Puntland Security Forces Kill 41 Al-Shabaab Militants in Operation in Al-Madow Mountains,” Intelligence Briefs, June 4, 2018,
[6]  Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheikh, “Al Shabaab fighters seize town in central Somalia: residents,” Reuters, June 2, 2018,
[7]Shmuel Yosef Agnon, “Al-Shabaab Execute 2 Kenyans Fighters, Accuse them of Spying,” Intelligence Briefs, June 4, 2018,; and “Two Kenyan al Shabaab fighters executed for spying for KDF,” Hiiraan, June 1, 2018,
[8]  “Al-Shabaab kills six traders, burn 11 trucks in Bakool region,” Hiiraan, June 4, 2018,

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