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: Hadramawt governor threatens secession if Hadi government fails to secure ceasefire; Islah party calls for political solution in Aden; former South Yemen President endorses Southern Movement governor in Aden; al Houthi-Saleh forces claim to fire ballistic missile near Sana’a

Horn of Africa: U.S. Navy SEAL killed during raid in Lower Shabelle region, Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Hadramawt Governor Ahmed Said bin Brik threatened to secede from the Yemeni government led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi if the government fails to achieve peace with the al Houthi-Saleh bloc. Bin Brik’s May 3 statement coincides with ongoing protests in Aden against President Hadi’s decision to remove Aden governor Aydarus al Zubaidi, a senior leader in the Southern Movement. Bin Brik did not mention the Aden protests.[1]

Al Islah, a Sunni Islamist political party, called for a comprehensive political union and a “just solution” to represent southern Yemenis on May 4. Islah neither endorsed the goals of the Southern Movement, its historical rival, nor condemned President Hadi’s removal of Southern Movement leader Aydarus al Zubaidi from his position as governor of Aden. The removal of Zubaidi sparked protests against the Hadi government in Aden this week. Al Islah also announced its support for President Hadi’s newly appointed governor of Aden, Abdulaziz al Muflahi. Muflahi plans to return to Aden on May 6.[2]

Former South Yemen president Ali Salem al Beidh called former Aden governor Aydarus al Zubaidi to express his support for the “Aden Declaration.” Protesters announced on May 4 that Zubaidi will lead a council to govern southern Yemen. Al Beidh has lived in exile in Beirut, Lebanon, since the reunification of Yemen in 1994.[3]

Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to fire a “Zilzal-2” ballistic missile at Hadi government forces in Nihm district, Sana’a governorate, on May 5. This attack is not yet confirmed.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

U.S. Navy SEALs conducted a raid targeting al Shabaab militants in Barire town in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on May 4. The SEALs conducted an air assault operation and exchanged gunfire with militants in the town, located 40 miles west of Mogadishu. Al Shabaab killed one U.S. service member and wounded two others. U.S. forces “neutralized” all of the militants. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) stated that the SEALs were advising and assisting a Somali National Army (SNA) unit. Al Shabaab-linked Shahada News Agency confirmed the operation. The Trump administration eased restrictions on the U.S. military’s rules of engagement in the fight against al Shabaab in late March. This raid was the first confirmed U.S. operation in Somalia since the change in policy.[5]

[1] Aziz el Yaakoubi, “UAE builds up Yemen regional army but country fragments,” Reuters, May 3, 2017,; and “Governor of Hadramawt: demonstrations in Aden do not concern us,” Barakish, May 3, 2017,
[2] “Statement issued by the Islah party from the temporary capital of Aden,” Yemeni Islah Party, April 4, 2017,; “Governor Muflahi: I’ll be in Aden on Saturday and I call for concerted efforts,” Aden Tomorrow, May 4, 2017,; and “Desknote: The Southern Movement Uprising,” Critical Threats, February 28, 2013,
[3] “Phone call: President al Beidh congratulates leader al Zubaidi,” Aden Tomorrow, May 4, 2017,
[4] “Rocket forces launch ‘Zilzal-2’ and shell gatherings of mercenaries in Nihm,” al Masirah, May 5, 2017,
[5] “U.S. service member killed in Somalia,” U.S. Africa Command, May 5, 2017,; Abdi Guled, “US Military Member Killed in Somalia on Anti-Extremist Work,” Associated Press, May 5, 2017,; Katharine Houreld, “U.S. says American service member killed in Somalia,” Reuters, May 5, 2017,; and “Shabaab Claims Killing, Wounding U.S. Troops in Lower Shabelle,” SITE Intelligence, May 5, 2017,
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