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: CENTCOM Commander urges congress to continue U.S. military support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen; Hadi government forces seize control of villages in Sa’ada governorate; Hadi government Prime Minister announces return to Aden

Horn of Africa: Kenyan High Court dismisses ruling party’s appeal to prevent return of deported opposition leader; Somali MPs fail to remove Lower House speaker; U.S.-backed Somali Special Forces kill son of al Shabaab leader in Kurtunwaarey, Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General Joseph Votel stated that the U.S. should continue to provide fuel, intelligence, and munitions to Saudi Arabia in order to influence the Saudi-led coalition’s actions in Yemen during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 13. Votel added that the U.S. does not currently track the operations of Saudi planes refueled and armed by the U.S. U.S. Senators Mike Lee (UT-R), Bernie Sanders (VT-I), and Chris Murphy (CT-D) submitted a draft resolution that would withdraw U.S. military support from the Saudi-led coalition on February 28.[1]

Hadi government forces seized control of a series of mountain villages from the al Houthi movement in Razih district, western Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen on March 14, according to anti-al Houthi sources. The al Houthi movement forced Hadi government forces to retreat from Razih on March 9. Hadi government forces began an offensive to push into western Sa’ada from neighboring Jazan province, southern Saudi Arabia on January 23.[2]

Hadi government prime minister Ahmed Obeid Bin Daghir announced that he will soon return to Aden city on March 14. Daghir has been receiving medical treatment in Cairo, Egypt since March 2 due to an unspecified health condition. Daghir traveled to Riyadh from Aden city on February 16 to seek medical treatment after southern secessionist forces confined Daghir to Ma’ashiq Palace in Aden for two weeks.[3] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The Kenyan High Court dismissed the ruling party’s appeal to stop the return of deported opposition lawyer Miguna Miguna on March 13. The Kenyan Inspector General, Director of Criminal Investigations, and Director of Immigration will also face contempt of court charges for the illegal deportation of Miguna. The High Court nullified the Interior Ministry’s designation of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) as a criminal group on grounds of contempt of court on February 15. The Kenyan government deported Miguna for being a member of the NRM and participating in the January 30 symbolic inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga on February 7. Kenyan authorities claimed to deport Miguna due to his failure to legally reclaim his Kenyan citizenship after the 2010 constitution allowed for dual citizenship.[4]

Somali members of parliament (MPs) failed to secure the necessary amount of votes to remove the Somali Speaker of the Lower House on March 14. Approximately 100 out of 275 Somali MPs submitted a motion of no confidence against Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari on March 14. The MPs accused Speaker Jawari of intentionally restraining parliamentary committees in the Lower House and interfering with the constitutional review process. The MPs are required to wait six months to revive the motion, according to House Standing Orders. MPs who opposed the vote of no confidence accused Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire of initiating the motion. The Somali parliament requires a two-thirds majority to remove Jawari from his position as speaker. Jawari has been the Lower House speaker since 2012.[5]

U.S.-backed Somali Danab Special Forces killed the son of al Shabaab emir Ahmed Umar in Kurtunwaarey, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on March 11. The U.S.-backed forces killed the son of Umar and 12 al Shabaab militants, including two commanders, in the operation. The U.S. designated Ahmed Umar, who has led al Shabaab since September 2014, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in April 2015. [6]

[1] “Senate Armed Services cOmmittee Hearing: United States Central Command and United States Africa Command,” Senate Armed Services Committee, March 13, 2018,; and “General counters senators, says US needs to support war in Yemen,” Washington Examiner, March 13, 2018,
[2] “For the first time, government forces control mountain villages in Razah, Sa’ada,” Al Masdar, March 14, 2018,; and “Yemen government liberates villages in Saada,” Gulf News, March 14, 2018,
[3] “Ahmed Bin Daghire announces return to Aden,” Twitter, March 14, 2018,; and “Bin Daghir comments on his health status and announces his return to Aden,” Aden Tomorrow, March 14, 2018,
[4] “Judges order Boinnet, Kinoti to appear in person in Miguna case,” Daily Nation, March 13, 2018,; “Government fails to block Miguna’s return,” Standard Media, March 13, 2018,
[5] “Motion against Jawari flops as MPs pull out,” Goobjoog, March 14, 2018,; “Over 100 MPs propose no-confidence vote against Speaker of Parliament,” Hiiraan Online, March 14, 2018,; “Speaker Jawari In Trouble As MPs Move To Oust Him,” Radio Dalsan, March 14, 2018,; “More than 100 MPs submit motion against Lower House speaker,” Radio Shabelle, March 14, 2018,
[6] “AlShabaab Leader Ahmed Diriye’s Son & 11 Others Killed By US Forces,” Radio Dalsan, March 12, 2018,; and “Al Shabaab Leader’s Son, Ahmed Diriye, 2 Top Commanders Killed By Joint US-Somali Forces In Kuntuwarey, Lower Shabelle,” Strategic Intelligence News, March 13, 2018,

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