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: ICRC withdraws staff from Yemen; UN Humanitarian Coordinator warns offensive on al Hudaydah puts hundreds of thousands at risk; Yemen President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi appoints new governor of al Bayda governorate

Horn of Africa: Somali and U.S. special forces raid al Shabaab hideouts in several locations in Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab attacks SNA base in Wajid district, Bakool region; Kenyan anti-terrorism police launch manhunt for two al Shabaab returnees; U.N. Security Council warns internal and external pressures are putting Somalia’s political unity at risk

Yemen Security Brief

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) withdrew 71 staff members from Yemen because its “activities have been blocked, threatened and directly targeted in recent weeks.” An ICRC press release also reported that “parties to the conflict” are intimidating ICRC staff and using the ICRC as “a pawn in the conflict.”[1]

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande warned an Emirati-backed offensive to seize Yemen’s al Hudaydah port city would place hundreds of thousands of lives at risk. Grande stated that the UN is concerned “that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything — even their lives.” Emirati-backed forces advanced rapidly north along the Red Sea coast in late May in preparation for an offensive on the port. U.S. officials warned Emirati officials not to assault the port on June 5.[2]

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi appointed Nasser al Khader Abderbo al Sawadi as the new governor of al Bayda. Al Sawadi is a prominent tribal leader in central al Bayda governorate, where Hadi government-aligned forces are attempting to advance into from neighboring Ma’rib governorate north of al Bayda. Hadi appointed the former governor of al Bayda Saleh Ahmed Ali Al Rasas to serve as a member on the Shura Council.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali “Danab” special forces supported by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) raided al Shabaab hideouts in Jamaame town, 37 miles northeast of Kismayo in Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia. U.S. and Somali special forces also conducted raids in the outskirts of Jamaame town, Kaba, and Kabsuma in Lower Jubba region. The joint forces destroyed al Shabaab camps and killed over a dozen militants. The report did not state the date of the operation.[4]

Al Shabaab attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Wajid district, Bakool region, southwestern Somalia on June 7. Al Shabaab attacked the base with explosives and rocket propelled grenades. SNA forces repelled the attack.[5]

Kenyan anti-terrorism police launched a manhunt for two al Shabaab returnees with suspected ties to planned al Shabaab attacks in Kenya during Ramadan on June 8. The two suspects are returning to Somalia, according to intelligence reports. Kenyan police also warned of planned al Shabaab attacks during Ramadan on important infrastructure in northeast Kenya on June 7. They noted that al Shabaab has extended its planned attacks to Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, and coastal counties in northeastern Kenya.[6]

The U.N. Security Council warned of internal and external pressures on Somalia’s political unity on June 7. Al Shabaab and the 2017 Gulf crisis are two major threats to Somalia’s stability. The council called for steps to prevent regional crises and disputes from spilling into Somalia.[7]

[1] “Yemen: 71 ICRC staff pulled out of Yemen amid security incidents, threats,” ICRC, June 7, 2018,

[2] “UN Warns Attack on Yemen Port Threatens Innocent Civilians,” AP, June 8, 2018,

[3]“ The appointment of Nasser al Khader Abderbo al Sawadi as White Governor,” Saba New, June 6, 2018,

[4] Shmuel Yosef Agnon, “U.S. & Somali Special Forces Destroy Al-Shabaab Camps, Kill over Dozen Militants,” Intelligence Briefs, June 8, 2018,; John Snow, “US, Somali especial forces destroy Al Shabab camps,” Mareeg, June 7, 2018,

[5] “Somali army repulses another Al-Shabab raid,” Hiiraan, June 8, 2018,

[6] Goldberg Jane Heller, “Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Launch Manhunt For 2 Al Shabaab Suspects,” Intelligence Briefs, June 8, 2018,; “Kenyan police say al-Shabab planning attacks in border region,” Xinhuanet, June 8, 2018,; and Abshir Saeed Yousuf, “Kenya Police Warn Of Possible Attacks in Border Regions,” Intelligence Briefs, June 8, 2018,

[7] Edith M. Lederer, “UN warns that Somalia’s political unity at risk,” Associated Press, June 7, 2018,; and “Statement by the President of the Security Council,” U.N., June 7, 2018,

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