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: Al Houthi forces fire a Katyusha rocket at Ma’rib city, killing five civilians; Yemeni President Hadi names new commander of Aden Military Police Forces; Saudi-led coalition accuses al Houthi forces of May 11 attack on Turkish cargo vessel in Salif port, al Hudaydah governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab emir condemns Somali parliament; member of Kenyan National Assembly appeals to Russia; al Shabaab militant detonates suicide vest targeting SNA convoy southwest of Mogadishu; al Shabaab assassinates three government personnel in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces fired a Katyusha rocket targeting Ma’rib city, 70 miles east of Sana’a city in central Yemen, on May 21. The attack killed five civilians and wounded at least 22 others. The al Houthi movement did not confirm the rocket attack.[1]

Internationally recognized Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi named Major General Ali Nasser al Nuba as the new commander of the Aden Military Police Forces on May 20. Former Aden Military Police Forces commander Brigadier General Ahmad al Hadi died in Cairo while being treated for health complications on May 18.[2]

Saudi-led coalition spokesman Turki al Maliki accused the al Houthi movement of carrying out a May 11 missile attack that damaged a Turkish cargo vessel in Salif port in northwestern al Hudaydah governorate. The Turkish cargo vessel transporting wheat sustained damage after an explosion struck its hull on May 11. Al Maliki noted on May 22 that al Houthi forces frequently utilize al Hudaydah port to carry out missile attacks against cargo vessels in the Red Sea.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab’s al Kata’ib Media Foundation released an audio speech of its emir, Ahmed Umar, condemning Somalia’s parliament on May 19. Umar criticized the parliament for succumbing to Somalia’s “eternal enemies,” Kenya and Ethiopia, and allowing the UAE and Turkey to occupy Somalia and profit from Somalia’s wealth. Umar claimed that al Shabaab militants have killed almost 200 AMISOM soldiers in the past three months. Al Shabaab has released two other audio speeches in May.[4] 

A member of the Kenyan National Assembly Committee of Defense and Foreign Relations, Dido Rasso, appealed to Russia on May 22. Rasso expressed hope that Russia would use its influence at the UN Security Council to elevate the status of al Shabaab to that of a global threat. Rasso also informally requested counterterrorism technology from Russia.[5]

An al Shabaab militant detonated a suicide vest targeting a convoy of Somali National Army (SNA) vehicles near a checkpoint in Afgoi, about 30 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu, on May 22. Al Shabaab claimed that the blast killed 12 soldiers.[6]

Al Shabaab assassinated three Somali government personnel in Mogadishu on May 19, 20, and 21. Al Shabaab militants killed the former Chief-of-Staff for the U.S.-trained Somali Elite Forces on May 19, a government soldier in the Elasha area on May 20, and a staff member from the office of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire in Hodan district on May 21.[7]

[1] “Five killed, 22 wounded by Houthi missile in Yemen’s city of Marib,” Reuters, May 21, 2018,; “23 civilians were killed or injured by a Katyusha rocket fired by al Houthis on Marib city,” Al Masdar, May 22, 2018,; and “Yemeni officials: Rebel shelling kills 5 in Marib province,” AP, May 22, 2018,
[2] “Decision of the President of the Republic to appoint al Nuba as Commander of the Military Police Forces and Commander of Police Force in the Aden branch,” Saba New, May 20, 2018,; “Death of the commander of the military police in Aden,” Aden Tomorrow, May 18, 2018,
[3] “Houthi-Controlled Al-Hudaydah Port is a Platform of Launching Ballistic Missiles and Source of Hostilities,” SPA, May 22, 2018,
[4] “Shabaab Leader Slams "Parliament of Mercenaries" in Audio Speech, Says Nearly 200 AMISOM Forces Killed in 3 Months,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 21, 2018, available by subscription at
[5] “Kenya seeks Russia’s help to recognize Al-Shabab as ‘Global Threat’,” Radio Shabelle, May 22, 2018,
[6] “Suicide bomber blows up in checkpoint targeting military convoy in Afgooye,” Goobjoog, May 22, 2018,
[7] “Shabaab Claims Assassinations of Prime Minister Office Staff Member, Former Head of Somali Elite Forces,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 21, 2018, available by subscription at

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