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 multiple ballistic missiles targeting Asir, Jizan, and Najran regions, Saudi Arabia; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target al Houthi movement in Sana’a city; UN Special Envoy to Yemen meets with GPC officials in Riyadh; Yemenis protest Emirati military action on Socotra

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants conduct three attacks targeting security forces in southern Somalia; Kenyan opposition leader calls for decentralization of power to ease political tensions

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces fired multiple ballistic missiles targeting Asir, Jizan, and Najran regions, southern Saudi Arabia. Al Houthi forces fired multiple Badr 1 short-range missiles targeting economic targets in Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on May 6. Saudi air defenses intercepted two ballistic missiles near Najran, according to Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al Maliki. Al Houthi forces also launched a Zilzal 1 ballistic missile targeting Saudi-led coalition troops near al Tuwal border crossing, Jizan region, southwestern Saudi Arabia on May 6 and a Zilzal 2 ballistic missile targeting Saudi-led coalition forces in Ain al Thawrin military camp in Asir region, southwestern Saudi Arabia on May 5. The Saudi-led coalition did not confirm that the missile strikes targeted Jizan or Asir.[1]

Saudi-led coalition warplanes conducted two airstrikes targeting an al Houthi presidential palace after an unspecified al Houthi meeting in Sana’a city on May 7, according to local sources. The airstrikes killed six people and injured at least thirty others. The airstrikes also damaged houses and businesses in Tahrir district, Sana’a city. The Saudi-led coalition has not yet commented on the attack.[2]

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths met with officials from the General People’s Congress (GPC) headed by GPC Assistant Secretary General Sultan al Barakani in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 6. Griffiths and the GPC officials discussed the GPC’s role in expected peace talks. Griffiths was unable to visit Sana’a city to meet with al Houthi officials on May 5 due to the political transition following former al Houthi Supreme Political Council President Saleh al Samad’s death, according to local sources.[3] 

Civilians protested Emirati military presence on Socotra Island in the Gulf of Aden on May 7. Socotra residents claimed the UAE is building a factory, prison, and new militia by recruiting the island’s civilians. The internationally recognized Hadi government denounced the recent Emirati deployment to Socotra as unjustified in a May 5 press release. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation denied allegations of overreach and claimed its actions are in support of the Hadi government. The UAE deployed more than 100 troops and several armored vehicles to Socotra airport and expelled Yemeni forces from the area on May 2, according to local sources.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab conducted three attacks in southern Somalia on May 5 and 6. Al Shabaab militants assassinated a Somali police officer in Wadajir district, Mogadishu on May 5 and detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) vehicle that killed at least seven troops near Dhobley town, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on May 6. Al Shabaab claimed the May 6 blast killed 15 troops. Al Shabaab militants also killed three Somali soldiers at a checkpoint in Baidoa city, Bay region, southwestern Somalia on May 6.[5] 

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga called for the reinstatement of the prime minister position and the decentralization of power to resolve the Kenyan political crisis on May 6. Odinga urged the formation of at least 14 regional governments to increase local autonomy. The prime minister oversaw legislative affairs. Odinga held the position from 2008 until 2013 when the Constitution of 2010 mandated the end of the prime ministership. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga formed a committee to enact governmental reforms to ease political tensions on April 30. Kenyatta won the 2017 presidential election after Odinga’s opposition party boycotted the polls over concerns of its credibility.[6]




[1] “The enemy and his mercenaries were killed and wounded by rocket fire, artillery, and military operations,” Saba, May 7, 2018,; “Air Defense of Coalition for the Support of Legitimacy in Yemen intercepts two ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi militia towards the Kingdom,” SPA, May 6, 2018,;  “Breaking the march of the Saudi army and mercenaries and gathering of their communities in Jizan,” Saba, May 6, 2018,; and “Zilzal 2 missile targets enemy groups in Asir,” Ansarollah, May 5, 2018,
[2] “Saudi-led airstrikes hit Yemen presidential palace Houthi Media,” Reuters, May 7, 2018,; and “Six dead as Yemen palace bombed,”, May 7, 2018,
[3] “Griffiths meets leaders of Saleh’s PArty and returns to Riyadh,” Aden Lang, May 7, 2018,; “Griffiths meets leaders of Saleh’s party and returns to Riyadh,” Asharq Al Awsat, May 7, 2018,; and “GPC Delegation meets with Martin Griffiths, Twitter, May 7, 2018,  
[4] “Demonstrations on Socotra Island support the government and denounce UAE military presence,” al Masdar, May 7, 2018,; “The recent military action by Emirati forces on Socotra Island is unjustified,” Saba New, May 5, 2018,; “United Arab Emirates denies Yemen overreach with more troops,” AP news, May 7, 2018,; and “Women on Yemen island protest against 'UAE occupation',” al Araby, May 6, 2018,
[5] Harun Maruf, “7 Kenyan Soldiers Killed in Somalia IED Blast,” Voice of America, May 7, 2018,; Al Shabaab attacked KDF soldier with IED, Telegram, May 6, 2018; Al Shabaab assassinated a Somali police officer, Telegram, May 5, 2018; Al Shabaab killed three Somali soldiers, Telegram, May 6, 2018.
[6] “Kenya’s Odinga says reviving post of premier may ease divisions,” Bloomberg, May 7, 2018,; and “ODM top organ to meet as party pushes for change of constitution,” Daily Nation, May 6, 2018,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Jun '18
May '18
Apr '18