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: U.S. officials warn UAE not to assault al Hudaydah port; internationally recognized Yemeni government reportedly rejects proposal to transfer al Hudaydah to UN

Horn of Africa: AFRICOM airstrike kills 27 al Shabaab militants 27 miles southwest of Bosasso, Puntland region; likely al Shabaab militants assassinate former Somali MP in Mogadishu; SFG gives Somaliland $1 million for disaster relief; South Sudan’s President agrees to talks with rebel leader

Yemen Security Brief

U.S. officials warned Emirati officials not to attempt to seize al Hudaydah port city along Yemen’s western coast on June 5. U.S. officials emphasized the need to support the UN-led peace process and that the U.S. would not support any actions that destroy key infrastructure or risk exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. Saudi and Emirati officials stated they would not proceed “without a joint understanding” from their partners, according a a U.S. official. Emirati-backed Yemeni forces advanced within roughly a dozen miles of al Hudaydah port in late may in preparation for an offensive on the port.[1] 

Officials from Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government rejected a proposal to transfer al Hudaydah port to UN administration, according to a June 6 report from Asharq al Awsat. The Hadi government has not confirmed this report. UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths proposed placing al Hudaydah under UN supervision in order to avoid an offensive on the port during meetings with al Houthi officials on June 2. The al Houthi movement rejected a similar plan from the previous UN envoy in July 2017 but have not publicly commented on the latest proposal.[2] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) airstrike killed 27 al Shabaab militants 27 miles southwest of Bosasso, northeastern Bari province, Puntland region, northern Somalia on June 2. U.S. operations against al Shabaab are concentrated in southern Somalia where the group controls most of its territory. This strike is the northernmost strike conducted against al Shabaab in the past decade.[3] 

Likely al Shabaab militants assassinated a former Somali lawmaker in Hodan district, Mogadishu, Somalia on June 6. Residents claimed three armed men entered the former MP’s home and shot him. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack although al Shabaab has assassinated several Somali officials in Mogadishu in the past.[4]

The Somali Federal Government (SFG) gave Somaliland one million U.S. dollars in aid to provide clean water and sanitation to people in the Adwal and Sanaag regions after Cyclone Sager hit Somalia on May 19. Puntland has expressed reservations about the aid and said Somaliland may use the money to fund its military conflict with Puntland. Somaliland and Puntland are engaged in a territorial conflict over the Sool and Sanaag regions.[5]

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir agreed to talks with the Sundan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition’s (SPLM-IO) leader Dr. Riek Machar on June 4. President Kiir agreed to the talks after the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers requested face-to-face negotiations between the two sides. The IGAD is an eight country trade bloc in Africa. Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga also offered to mediate the talks between President Kiir and Dr. Machar during a meeting with President Kiir the week of May 20. South Sudan is currently engaged in a civil war between government forces and opposition forces. The civil war started in 2013 after a disagreement between President Kiir and his former deputy Dr. Machar escalated into a military conflict.[6]

[1] Warren Strobel and Phil Stewart, “U.S. warns United Arab Emirates against assault on Yemeni port Hodeidah,” Reuters, June 5, 2018,
[2] “«Legitimacy» accuses the Houthis of thwarting the mission of Griffith,” Asharq al Awsat, June 6, 2018,«الشرعية»-تتهم-الحوثيين-بإفشال-مهمة-غريفيث?amp.
[3] Bill Roggio and Alexander Gutowski, “US kills 27 Shabaab terrorists in rare northern Somalia strike,” Long War Journal, June 5, 2018,
[4] “Ex Somalia MP Shot Dead In Mogadishu,” Radio Dalsan, June 6, 2018,
[5] “Flooded Somaliland receives help from federal Somali government,” Mareeg, June 6, 2018,
[6] Goldberg Jane Heller, “South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Agrees on Face-Face Peace Talks With Rebel Leader Riek Machar,” Intelligence Briefs, June 6, 2018,; and Waakhe Simon Wudu, “South Sudan: Raila Odinga Offers To Be Mediator,” All Africa,

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