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: Emirati-backed official meets with Yemeni president in Riyadh to discuss control of energy facilities; ISIS detonates vehicle-borne IED targeting Emirati-backed forces in Aden; Sana’a-based GPC affirms Hadi government does not speak for GPC; militants attempt to assassinate Taiz police chief in Taiz city

Horn of Africa: Thousands of Ethiopians flee to Kenya after security forces crack down in Oromia region; Somali security forces attack al Shabaab militants near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region

Yemen Security Brief

Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) representative Saleh bin Farid al Awlaki met with international recognized Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Saudi-led coalition representatives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 13 to discuss control of energy facilities in Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen. Al Awlaki called for the Emirati-backed Shabwani Elite Forces to takeover control of the Balhaf LNG energy facilities. The STC is an Emirati-backed representative body that seeks increased autonomy in southern and eastern Yemen. The STC’s security branch urged the coalition on March 8 to prevent Hadi government forces from deploying to the facility so the Shabwani Elite could protect it instead.[1]

An Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan militant detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) targeting Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces in al Darin area, al Mansoura district, Aden city on March 13. The blast killed at least three people and injured at least thirty others, according to local sources. ISIS Wilayat Aden-Abyan militants conducted a complex SVBIED attack in al Tawahi district, Aden city on February 24.[2]

The Sana’a-based General People’s Congress (GPC) party condemned Hadi government Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghir on March 12 for his March 8 call to unify the GPC. Daghir also hinted that Ahmed Ali Saleh may play a role in the GPC’s leadership. The Sana’a-based GPC, which is aligned with the al Houthi movement, affirmed that Daghir does not speak for the GPC. Ahmed Ali is the son of late former Yemen president and GPC leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. The GPC fractured in December 2017 after the al Houthi movement killed Saleh.[3] 

Militants attempted to assassinate Taiz Police Chief Jamal al Shamiri near Wadi al Qadi street in northern Taiz city, central Yemen on March 13. Militants also attempted to assassinate al Shamiri on February 18.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

About 5,000 Ethiopians fleeing a military crackdown on the Oromo population have crossed into Kenya since March 12. Ethiopian security forces killed ten civilians and injured over a dozen others in Moyale town, Oromia region, southwestern Ethiopia on March 11. Kenyan officials in northern Kenya’s Moyale and Marsabit counties in northern Kenya said they increased security in the region and provided aid to the refugees. Ethiopian state media claimed that security forces mistook the civilians as Oromo Liberation Front militants. Moyale town is located on the border between southwestern Ethiopia and northern Kenya.[5]

Jubbaland security forces attacked al Shabaab militants near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on March 13. Security forces killed at least five militants and injured 10 others during a clash in Wirkoy village, Lower Jubba region. U.S.-backed Somali National Army and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces have recaptured strongholds from al Shabaab in southern Somalia since February 2018.[6] 

[1] “A southern separatist leader in Saudi Arabia to demand the delivery of oil fields to forces supported by the UAE in Yemen,” Al Quds Al Arabi, March 13, 2018,; “Bin Farid met in Riyadh, newspaper: President Hadi begins normalization of relations with the Transitional Council,” Al Youm 8, March 13, 2018,; and “A leader in the Southern Transitional Council visits Riyadh to discuss the extradition of oil companies to the Shabwani Elite,” Al Masdar, March 13, 2018,
[2] “IS Claims Killing, Wounding Over 30 SBF in Aden Suicide Bombing,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 13, 2018, available by subscription at; “'Amaq Reports IS Suicide Bombing at SBF Mess Hall in Aden,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 13, 2018, available by subscription at; “At least four dead in military kitchen bomb attack in Yemen: witnesses,” Reuters, March 13, 2018,; “Medical source: 3 dead and more than 30 wounded in Aden explosion and ISIS adopts,” Al Masdar, March 13, 2018,; and “Martyrs and wounded after a suicide bombing in Aden,” Watan News, March 13, 2018,
[3] “The Sana'a wing Congress Party attacks bin Dagher and says he was dismissed for treason,” Al Masdar, March 13, 2018,; and “Declaration of an official source at the General Secretariat of the Conference (text of the declaration),” Al Motamar, March 12, 2018,
[4] “Taiz police chief survives second assassination attempt,” Saba Voice, March 13, 2018,; and “Taiz: the commander of the military police survives an assassination attempt that wounds 4 people,” Al Masdar, March 13, 2018,
[5] “2,000 Ethiopians cross into Kenya as tension builds in Oromia region,” Goobjoog, March 13, 2018,; “News: Kenya Red cross providing relief to thousands of Ethiopians displaced following deadly army assault in Moyale,” Addis Standard, March 12, 2018,; “Ethiopian army targets civilians in Moyale killing nine, wounding above a dozen. Martial law command post calls it a mistake, residents dispute,” Addis Standard, March 11, 2018,; “Ethiopian Town on Edge After Security Forces Kill, Injure Unarmed Residents,” Voice of America, March 12, 2018,; and Addis Standard, Twitter, March 13, 2018,
[6] “Jubbaland forces launch offensive against Al Shabaab bases,” Radio Shabelle, March 13, 2018,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Apr '18
Mar '18
Feb '18