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: Saudi-led coalition-backed forces advance into southern al Hudaydah governorate; al Houthi Supreme Political Council President orders seizure of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s assets; al Houthi forces launch a Zilzal 2 ballistic missile targeting Saudi-led coalition troops in Asir region, Saudi Arabia; Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues a statement on Socotra

Horn of Africa: U.S. airstrike hits al Shabaab base in southern Somalia; al Shabaab assassinates four Somali special forces troops in Mogadishu; suspected al Shabaab militants attack Somali National Army vehicle in southern Somalia; dam bursts in Kenya, killing at least 44 people

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi-led coalition-backed National Resistance Forces and Southern Giants Brigade forces advanced into southern al Hudaydah governorate on Yemen’s Red Sea coast on May 11. Yemeni National Resistance Forces led by the nephew of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Tariq Saleh, attacked al Houthi forces as they advanced toward al Jarahi district in al Hudaydah, north of al Khawkhah city, on May 11. Southern Giants Brigade forces advanced towards Hima port in al Tuhayat district in southwestern al Hudaydah on May 11. National Resistance Forces and Southern Giants Brigade forces secured major roads and cities leading from Taiz governorate to al Hudaydah governorate before their advance.[1]

Mahdi al Mashat, the al Houthi Supreme Political Council President, ordered the seizure of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s financial assets by the Sana’a-based Yemeni Central Bank on May 10. The al Houthi House of Representatives swore in al Mashat as the new Supreme Political Council President on April 25 following Saleh al Samad’s death on April 19.[2]

Al Houthi forces launched a Zilzal 2 ballistic missile targeting Saudi-led coalition troops at the Alab border crossing on the Saudi-Yemeni border in Asir region, southern Saudi Arabia on May 10. The al Houthi movement has fired three ballistic missile targeting the Alab border crossing since February.[3]

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Socotra. Turkey expressed concern over the “threat” posed to Yemen’s territorial integrity and sovereignty by the UAE’s military presence on Socotra Island on May 10. Turkey called on all actors to refrain from escalating the situation on Socotra Island. The UAE deployed over 100 troops and several armored vehicles to Socotra Island on May 2, drawing condemnation from the internationally recognized government under President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and several pro-Hadi southern political groups.[4] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A reported U.S. airstrike hit an al Shabaab base in Barire town in Lower Shabelle region, south of Mogadishu, on May 9. The U.S. conducted at least three airstrikes targeting al Shabaab in April.[5]

Al Shabaab militants assassinated four Somali special forces soldiers, including one officer, in Hodan district in Mogadishu on May 10. Al Shabaab frequently targets Somali government personnel in the capital.[6] 

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army vehicle with an improvised explosive device (IED), killing at least four soldiers and injuring seven others in Wanlaweyn town, northwest of Mogadishu in Lower Shabelle region on May 10. Al Shabaab claimed that the blast killed nine soldiers. An al Shabaab militant detonated a suicide vest targeting a qat market in Wanlaweyn town on May 9.[7]

A dam overwhelmed by seasonal rains burst in Solai, Nakuru County, Kenya on May 10, killing at least 44 people. Nakuru County is northwest of Nairobi. The Kenyan government reported that flooding has internally displaced more than 225,000 people since March.[8]

[1] “Breaking: The launch of major reversion operations towards al Hudaydah and the liberation of Kahbub,” Aden Tomorrow, May 11, 2018,; “Launch of a large-scale military operation to liberate al Hudaydah,” Aden Lang, May 22, 2018,; “More victories against Houthis in Yemen,” WAM, May 11, 2018,
[2] “President al Mashat order the money in possession of the militia leader to be handed over to the central bank,” Saba, May 10, 2018,; and “Houthi militias seize money belonging to Yemen’s slain ex-president Saleh,” Al Arabiya, May 11, 2018,  
[3] “Rocket fire and shelling targeting Saudi army positions in Asir and Jizan,” Saba, May 10, 2018,
[4] “Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release regarding Socotra Island,” Twitter, May 10, 2018,; and “Turkey ‘concerned’ over developments in Yemen’s Socotra,” Anadolu Agency, May 11, 2018,
[5] “Suspected US drone strike allegedly hits Shabaab base in Bariire,” Goobjoog, May 10, 2018,
[6] Al Shabaab assassinates four Somali Special Forces troops in Mogadishu, Telegram, May 10, 2018.
[7] “Four Somali soldiers killed, seven injured in IED attack in Wanlawayne,” Goobjoog, May 10, 2018,; Al Shabaab detonates IED targeting SNA vehicle in Wanlaweyn, Telegram, May 10, 2018.
[8] “At least 44 killed as dam bursts in Kenya, officials say,” AP, May 10, 2018,,-officials-say.

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