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. Senate votes to end aid to Saudi-led coalition; Islamic State attacks AQAP in al Bayda; al Houthi forces fire missiles at military camp in al Hudaydah governorate; Shabwani Elite factions clash in Shabwah

Horn of Africa: AMISOM troops kill three al Shabaab militants near Kenyan border; SFG Prime Minister and Jubbaland President pledge to improve cooperation; Somaliland President announces talks with SFG in Ghana; Sudan President reshuffles cabinet amid protests

Yemen Security Brief

The U.S. Senate voted to end U.S. military assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen on March 13. The House of Representatives will vote on the resolution, which the Senate approved by 54 votes to 46, next month. The Senate previously voted in favor of the resolution in December 2018, but the then-Speaker of the House refused to take up the resolution at the time.[1]

The Islamic State in Yemen claimed to attack al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) with a rocket in al Humaydah district in al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on 12 March. The Islamic State claimed to injure two AQAP militants in the attack.[2]

Al Houthi forces fired multiple missiles at the Abu Musa al Ashari military camp and al Khawkhah hospital in al Khawkhah district in southern al Hudaydah governorate in western Yemen on March 14. Pro-Hadi media alleged that several Iranians participated in the attack from al Houthi positions in al Tuhayta in al Hudaydah governorate and that the Houthis used Iranian-manufactured missiles. The Iranian participation in the attacks in not confirmed. The attack killed one soldier and injured fourteen others in the Abu Musa camp, which the National Resistance Forces control. Tariq Saleh, the nephew of late former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, leads the National Resistance Forces.[3]

Two factions of Shabwani Elite Forces clashed in Nsab district in Shabwah governorate in eastern Yemen on March 13. The clashes began when the commander of Shabwani forces in Nsab, Abu Bakr al Diwali, refused to follow an order from commander of Shabwani forces in the al Said Axis Mohammed Hantoush. Hantoush had ordered Diwali’s forces to withdraw from Nsab in order to allow Hantoush’s forces to take over the area.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Kenyan soldiers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) killed three al Shabaab militants and captured another in Bura Hache town on the Kenya-Somalia border on March 13. The Kenyan forces seized AK-47 rifles and two rocket-propelled grenade launchers from the militants.[5]

Somali Federal Government (SFG) Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire met with the President of Somalia’s Jubbaland state, Ahmed Madobe, in Kismayo, the capital of Lower Jubba region in southern Somalia, on March 13. Khaire and Madobe stressed the importance of overcoming differences between the SFG and Jubbaland and improving cooperation. Five Somali federal member states, including Jubbaland, suspended ties with the SFG in September 2018 citing political, security, and economic disputes with the SFG.[6]

Somaliland President Musa Bihi Abdi revealed a plan on March 14 to hold talks between Somaliland and the SFG in Ghana on March 19. Turkey is sponsoring the talks with support from the U.S., UK, and Sweden.[7]

Sudanese President Omar al Bashir reshuffled his cabinet on March 13, appointing 15 new ministers from his ruling party. Bashir appointed new ministers of petroleum, finance, and the interior as part of the reshuffle. President Bashir previously declared a state of emergency and reshuffled his cabinet in February in response to several months of nationwide anti-regime protests.[8]

[1] Catie Edmonson, “Senate votes again to end aid to Saudi war in Yemen, defying Trump,” The New York Times, March 13, 2019,

[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, March 13, 2019,

[3] “Al Houthi militias bombard the city of al Khokha and the Abu Musa camp with Iranian-made missiles,” Aden Lng, March 14, 2019,; and Ali Mahmood, “Yemen: Houthis increase tension with missile strike,” The National, March 14, 2019,

[4] “Armed clashes between factions of ‘Shabwani Elite’ forces,” Aden Post, March 13, 2019,

[5] “KDF troops kill 3 al Shabaab gunmen in Bura Hache gunfight,” Daily Nation, March 13, 2019,; and “16 al Shabaab militants killed in southern Somalia,” Xinhua Net, March 14, 2019,

[6] “Somali government and Jubaland State look to overcome differences,” Alsomal, Marche 14, 2019,

[7] “A plan to hold talks between Somalia and Somaliland,” Alsomal, March 14, 2019,

[8] Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, “Embattled Sudan President reshuffles cabinet amid protests,” Africa News, March 13, 2019,; and “Sudan declares a technocratic government and a limited response to the call for civil disobedience,” Al Jazeera, March 13, 2019,  

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