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 four Zilzal 1 ballistic missiles targeting Hadi government forces in Nihm district, Sana’a governorate; Southern Giants Brigade and National Resistance forces seize control of al Barh city, Taiz governorate; STC expresses support for UAE’s military presence in Socotra Island

Horn of Africa: Kenyan president and Ethiopian prime minister agree to strengthen efforts to increase stability in Somalia and South Sudan; al Shabaab attacks KDF vehicle with IED in northeastern Kenya; al Shabaab injures civilians with mortar shells in Mogadishu; police arrest two al Shabaab militants in Nairobi

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces fired four Zilzal 1 ballistic missiles targeting Hadi government forces at a military camp near Furdat Nihm city in Nihm district, northeast of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, on May 7. The al Houthi movement resumed firing ballistic missiles on May 5 after a six-day pause.[1]

Saudi-led coalition-backed Southern Giants Brigade and National Resistance Forces troops seized control of al Barh city in Maqbanah district, west of Taiz city in northeastern Taiz governorate after clashes with al Houthi forces on May 8. The Southern Giants Brigade seized control of al Waziyah and al Barh junctions before advancing toward al Barh city. National Resistance Forces secured the Khalid bin al Walid military camp next to al Mokha junction, a major crossroad that connects al Hudaydah port and Taiz city, on April 19.[2]

The Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) expressed support for the UAE’s military presence on Socotra Island and accused the Hadi government and Muslim Brotherhood of fabricating claims against the UAE on May 6. The Hadi government’s cabinet denounced the recent Emirati troop deployment to Socotra as unjustified in a May 5 press release. The STC is an Emirati-backed representative body that seeks increased autonomy in southern and eastern Yemen.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed agreed to strengthen joint efforts to foster stability in Somalia and South Sudan on May 7. The leaders pledged to continue lobbying for consistent funding for AMISOM in Somalia. Kenyatta and Ahmed also agreed to finalize a Kenyan-Ethiopian interconnection power transmission line and jointly supervise two international road networks on May 7. The infrastructure developments are part of Kenya’s Lapsset infrastructure project, which the state launched in 2012 to develop roads, ports, pipelines, railways, and other infrastructure.[4] 

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) vehicle with an improvised explosive device (IED), killing five soldiers in Debasti area in Mandera County in northeastern Kenya on May 8. KDF and police repelled an al Shabaab attack targeting quarry miners in Shimbir Fatuma, west of the Somali border in Mandera County on May 3.[5] 

Suspected al Shabaab militants fired mortar shells, injuring seven civilians in Ali Kamin area in Wardhigley district in Mogadishu on May 8. Al Shabaab intended to attack a base for AMISOM forces, according to local security sources. Al Shabaab frequently targets Somali government personnel in the capital.[6]

Kenyan police forces arrested two individuals accused of being al Shabaab militants in Eastleigh area in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on May 8. The militants are financiers and logistical coordinators who operated closely with al Shabaab’s network in Mandera County in northeastern Kenya.[7]

[1] “The launch of four Zilzal 1 missiles on the concentrations of mercenaries in Furdat Nihm,” Saba, May 7, 2018,; and “Launch of a salvo of Zilzal 1 missile on the concentrations of mercenaries of the aggression in Nihm,” Al Masirah, May 7, 2018,
[2] “Government forces stormed al Barh city in Magbanah district, west of Taiz,” Al Masdar, May 8, 2018,; “Al Malaqah Brigade advance towards Al Barah, Yemen, amid collapse of Houthi militias,” WAM, May 8, 2018,; The Giants Brigade tightens its control over the al Waziyah and al Barah junctions,” Aden Lang, May 8, 2018,; and “Important announcement of the leadership of the forces of Tariq Mohammed Saleh in al Mokha,” Aden Tomorrow, May 8, 2018,  
[3] “Important statement from the Southern Transitional Council on the latest developments in the crisis on the island of Socotra,” STC Aden, May 6, 2018,
[4] “Uhuru, Ethiopian Premier Abiye Ahmed agree to foster trade, regional security,” The Star, May 7, 2018,; “Kenya, Ethiopia look at mega link projects afresh,” Daily Nation, May 8, 2018,; and “Kenya, Ethiopia vow to mobilise funding for Amisom,” Goobjoog, May 8, 2018,
[5] Al Shabaab attacks KDF vehicle in Kenya, May 8, 2018, Telegram.
[6] “7 Civilians Injured In Mogadishu Mortar Shelling,” Radio Dalsan, May 8, 2018,
[7] “Kenya arrests couple linked to al Shabaab,” Radio Shabelle, May 8, 2018,

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