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: UN Envoy Martin Griffiths announces meetings on al Hudaydah redeployments; U.S. Department of State urges investigation into Saudi-led coalition airstrike on Yemeni hospital; al Houthi forces launch Zilzal-1 missile into Najran region

Horn of Africa: Former al Shabaab deputy emir may be released from prison; Kenyan strikes target telecom masts near Somali-Kenyan border; UNHCR warns closure of Kenyan refugee camp would worsen humanitarian crisis in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths stated on March 28 that the Hadi government and al Houthi movement are meeting daily to finalize the details of the first phase of redeployments from al Hudaydah. The first phase consists of the withdrawal of al Houthi forces from Salif and Ras Issa ports in al Hudaydah governorate.[1]

A U.S. Department of State spokesman urged “a transparent investigation” into the March 27 Saudi-led coalition airstrike that hit a Save the Children hospital in Sa’ada governorate in northern Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition referred the incident to the joint incidents assessment team for investigation on March 28.[2]

Al Houthi forces fired a Zilzal-1 missile targeting pro-Hadi forces in the al Ajashir desert in Najran region in Saudi Arabia.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Former al Shabaab deputy emir Mukhtar Robow may be released from prison. Ethiopian and Somali Federal Government (SFG) forces arrested Robow in December 2018 on the charge of arming and funding militants in Baidoa in Bay region. Robow, an al Shabaab defector, had entered the election for the South West State presidency.[4]

Kenyan Defense Forces attacked a Hormud Telecom mast near Afmadow town in southern Somalia’s Lower Jubba region, near the Kenyan border, on March 27. Kenyan forces have struck 10 Hormud masts near Afmadow since July 2018. Hormud called on the international community to hold the Kenyan government accountable for strikes that killed its staff.[5]

A spokeswoman from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the return of refugees from Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp would worsen the humanitarian crisis in some locations in Somalia. Dadaab is the world’s largest refugee camp. The Kenyan government recently informed UNCHR of its intent to close the camp. Kenya has made similar statements in the past.[6]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, and Kenya story streams.

[1] “UN Yemen envoy: Hodeidah troop redeployment slow but will happen,” Arab News, March 28, 2019,

[2] “U.S. calls for probe of bombing of hospital of Yemen,” Reuters, March 28, 2019,

[3] “Dozens of dead and wounded mercenaries in Asir, Jizan and 1 earthquake in Najran,” 26 Sep Net, March 29, 2019,

[4] “Former Al Shabaab leader To Be Released From Prison,” Horseed Media, March 28, 2019,

[5] “Kenyan forces destroy Hormuud Telecom mast in Somalia,” Mareeg, March 28, 2019,; and “Somalia’s telecom giant accuses Kenya Air Force of destroying its masts, killing,” Hiiraan, March 29, 2019,

[6] Lisa Schlein, “Somalia Not Ready for Massive Refugee Return, UN Warns,” Voice of America, March 28, 2019,

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