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: Draft UN peace plan for Yemen calls for ceasefire before negotiations for a transitional government; U.S. confirms airstrikes targeting AQAP in Yemen; at least 46 Ethiopian migrants drown near coast of Yemen; Hadi government forces prepare for new offensive in al Jawf governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack SNA military base 16 miles southwest of Baidoa town, Bay region; al Shabaab militants attempt to raid SNA military base in Gedo region; al Shabaab militants attack a military base on the outskirts of Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; SNA forces retake town from al Shabaab in Gedo region; Burundi’s president announces he will not run for another term in 2020

Yemen Security Brief

A draft of UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martian Griffiths’ peace plan calls for a ceasefire, disarming heavy and medium weapons from all non-state actors, including al Houthi forces, and forming a transitional government, according to a June 6 Reuters report. The draft plan emphasizes first reaching a ceasefire and pushes negotiations for the structure and process to select the transitional government to a later date. A military council will oversee the phased withdrawal of armed groups from “specific areas” and the surrender of all heavy and medium weapons from all non-state actors. One source told Reuters that “the intention is to link security and political aspects starting with a cessation of fighting.”[1]

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed the dates and governorates of 18 airstrikes targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) between February and May in a June 6 report. U.S. forces conducted six airstrikes in al Bayda in February, six airstrikes in Hadramawt and one in al Bayda in March, one in Shabwah and al Bayda and two in Hadramawt in April, and one in Shabwah in May. The report did not comment on airstrikes from January.[2]

At least 46 Ethiopian migrants drowned near the coast of Yemen after their boat capsized, according to UN officials. An estimated 16 others are still missing. The boat was transporting roughly 100 people from Bosaso port in northern Somalia to Yemen. Over 7,000 migrants travel across the Gulf of Aden from East Africa to Yemen every month, according to an official from the International Organization for Migration. Migrants attempt to reach Yemen in order to travel to neighboring Gulf State countries seeking economic opportunity.[3]

Military officials loyal to the Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government warned civilians to evacuate from al Mutun district, western al Jawf governorate, northern Yemen on June 7. Hadi government forces are preparing for an offensive to seize the district from al Houthi forces. One of the primary roads connecting al Jawf governorate to al Houthi-held Sana’a runs through al Mutun.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) military base 16 miles southwest of Baidoa town, Deynunay area, Bay region, southwest Somalia on June 7. Al Shabaab took control of the area after SNA forces retreated. SNA forces surrounded the area and are prepared to retake control of it, according to military sources. Al Shabaab killed four SNA soldiers during the attack.[5] 

Al Shabaab militants attempted to raid a SNA military base in Gedo region, southern Somalia on June 7. Al Shabaab militants detonated explosives targeting the base before attempting to breach it from multiple directions. SNA forces repelled the attack and killed several al Shabaab militants, according to a Somali battle damage assessment report.[6]

Al Shabaab militants attacked a military base on the outskirts of Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on June 6, according to Somali military reports. Jubbaland Security Forces repelled the attack. Al Shabaab also claimed its militants attacked foreign forces and burned down a U.S. armored personnel carrier in Sanguni, near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on June 6. It is unclear if the two events are related.[7]

Somali National Army (SNA) forces retook control of Elwak town from al Shabaab in Elwak town, Gedo region, southern Somalia on June 6, according to Somali military sources.[8]

Burundi’s president announced he will not run for another term in 2020 on June 7. Burundi held a constitutional referendum to extend the presidential term limit from five to seven years on May 17. The new constitution could allow President Nkurunziza to stay in power until 2034. Critics claimed President Nkurunzuza used the referendum in an attempt to hold on to power. President Nkurunziza’s decision to pursue a third term in 2015 sparked political violence and a failed coup attempt.[9]

[1] Warren Strobel, Yara Bayoumy, Phil Stewart, “Yemen peace plan sees ceasefire, Houthis abandoning missiles,” Reuters, June 6, 2018,
[2] Bill Roggio and Alexandra Gutowski, “Exclusive: CENTCOM reveals scope of Yemen air campaign,” Long War Journal, June 6, 2018,
[3] “Scores of Ethiopian migrants drown off Yemen's coast,” BBC, June 6, 2018,
[4] “The government forces are demanding that the residents evacuate the al Jawf district in preparation for a military operation,” al Masdar Online, June 7, 2018,
[5] John Snow, “Somalia: Deadly clash kills 4 soldiers near Baidoa,” Mareeg, June 7, 2018, https://mareeg.cutureom/somalia-deadly-clash-kills-4-soldiers-near-baidoa/; “At Least 4 govt forces killed in an Al Shabaab attack on Daynunay military base,” Twitter, June 7, 2018,; and Goldberg Jane Heller, “SNA Troops Launch Strategic Operation Against Al Shabaab In Daynunay Village, Near Baidoa,” Intelligence Briefs, June 07, 2018,
[6] Shmuel Yosef Agnon, “Somali Forces Clash with Al-Shabaab in Gedo Region, Militants’ Casualties Reported,” Intelligence Briefs, June 7, 2018,
[7] Shmuel Yosef Agnon, “Al-Shabaab Fighters Clash with Jubbaland Forces in Attempted Military Base Raid Outside Kismayo,” Intelligence Briefs, June 6, 2018,; and “al Shabaab Claims to Have Burned
Down Armored U.S. Personnel Carrier”, Twitter, June 6, 2018,
[8] Goldberg Jane Heller, “SNA Troops Recapture The Town Of Elwak From Al Shabaab Terrorists,” Intelligence Briefs, June 7, 2018,
[9] Eloge Willy Kaneza, “Burundi’s president says he won’t run for another term,” Associated Press, June 7, 2018,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Jul '18
Jun '18
May '18