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 Houthi forces fire ballistic missile over 500 miles into Saudi Arabia; militants attack UN aid vessel near the port of al Hudaydah; GPC delegation discusses peace process with Saudi officials in Riyadh; forces loyal to the internationally recognized Yemeni government begin campaign to clear “extremist militias” from Taiz

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack SNA in Bardhere town, Gedo region; SNA forces kill 26 al Shabaab militants in Moqokori town, Hiiraan region; U.S. AFRICOM airstrikes kill 49 al Shabaab members; Ethiopia's Council of Ministers approves draft law to lift state of emergency; Ethiopia to fully accept 2000 peace accords with Eritrea

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces fired a ballistic missile from Yemen at Yanbu city, western Saudi Arabia on June 5, according to Saudi-led coalition Spokesman Colonel Turki al Malki. Yanbu is over 500 miles from the Yemeni border. Saudi air defense systems intercepted the missile, according to al Malki.[1]

Militants attacked a UN aid vessel 38 miles from al Hudaydah port on June 3. Militants on a skiff fired at a boat used by the World Food Program and attempted to board it after the boat finished a delivery to the port. Al Houthi news claimed the Saudi-led coalition was responsible for the attack, though the UN did not confirm this claim. Coalition officials have not commented on the incident.[2]

A General People’s Congress (GPC) party delegation me with Saudi officials in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 4. Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh ran the GPC until al Houthi forces killed him in early December 2017, causing the GPC to splinter. The head of the GPC delegation to Riyadh, Abu Bakr al Qirbi, stated that the meeting was meant to advance the Yemeni peace process. GPC Assistant Secretary-General Sultan al Barqani and Deputy Speaker Nasser Bajil participated in the delegation to Riyadh.[3]   

Forces loyal to the internationally recognized Yemeni government began a campaign to clear parts of Taiz city from “extremist militias” on June 4. Protesters demonstrated against a lack of security in Taiz in the wake of a string of assassinations in the city on June 3, prompting Taiz-based security officials to meet and plan the campaign on June 3. Several anti-al Houthi militias, some with links to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), operate in Taiz. The leader of the Salafi Abu Abbas Brigade, who is sanctioned by the U.S. for supporting AQAP and ISIS, is participating in the campaign alongside the internationally recognized government. Yemeni forces conducted a similar campaign against the Abu Abbas Brigade in late April until Taiz Deputy Governor Aref Jamal mediated a truce.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attacked Somali National Army (SNA) forces in Bardhere town, Gedo region, southern Somalia on June 5. Al Shabaab attempted to overrun an SNA military base. SNA forces repelled the attack.[5]

SNA forces killed 26 al Shabaab militants following heavy fighting in Moqokori town, Hiiraan region, south-central Somalia on June 1. The 26 militants killed included six senior al Shabaab commanders. Fighting began in Moqokori when al Shabaab militants stormed a camp occupied by SNA forces. SNA forces had taken over the camp from al Shabaab a month prior.[6]

The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced it has killed 49 al Shabaab members in three airstrikes over the past 12 days on June 4. The airstrikes occurred on May 23, May 31, and June 2.[7]

Ethiopia's Council of Ministers approved a draft law to lift the state of emergency in Ethiopia on June 2.  Parliament will review the draft next. The Council of Ministers stated that law and order has been restored and Ethiopia is safe. The Ethiopian government enacted the state of emergency after the resignation of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on March 2.[8]

Ethiopia’s ruling party stated that Ethiopia will fully accept the Algiers Agreement on June 5. The Algiers Agreement was a December 12, 2000 peace agreement between the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments to end the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, which was fought over border disagreements from 1998 to 2000. Ethiopia had previously refused to comply with the agreement when the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) awarded the town of Badme, a key contested location in the war, to Eritrea.[9]

[1] “Saudi air defense forces destroy Houthi ballistic missile targeting Yanbu,” al Arabiya, June 5, 2018,
[2] “U.N. aid boat attacked off Yemen: port authority,” Reuters, June 4, 2018,; and “Red Sea port condemns the attack on the United Nations,” Saba News, June 4, 2018,
[3] “A delegation from the conference visited Saudi Arabia for the first time since the outbreak of the war,” al Masdar Online, June 5, 2018,
[4] “The joint forces deployed in Taiz, beginning a security campaign targeting extremists,” al Masdar Online, June 4, 2018,; “A military meeting in Taiz ends with agreement on a security campaign to control assassination gangs,” al Masdar online, June 4, 2018,; and “Protest in Taiz against the collapse of security and demand the resumption of the security campaign,” al Masdar Online, June 3, 2018,
[5] “Al-Shabab attack at Bardhere in Gedo Region,” Goobjoog, June 5, 2018,
[6] Goldberg Jane Heller, “Top Al Shabaab Commanders, 26 Fighters Killed By SNA In Moqokori, Hiiraan Region Of Somalia,” Intelligence Briefs, June 5, 2018,
[7] Jamie McIntyre, “US kills nearly 50 suspected terrorists in quiet war in Somalia,” Washington Examiner, June 4, 2018,
[8] “Breaking: Council of ministers approves draft bill to lift state of emergency,” Addis Standard, June 2, 2018,
[9] “News update: Ethiopia accepts the Algiers agreement in bid to normalize relations with Eritrea; opens up its economy,” Addis Standard, June 5, 2018,

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