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: U.S. CENTCOM reports two September airstrikes targeting AQAP in Yemen; Shabwani Elite Forces arrest AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen; AQAP landmines kill Yemeni soldiers in Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen; Emirati-backed Yemeni forces seize factories outside al Hudaydah city, western Yemen; Hadi government Prime Minister expresses support for peace talks

Horn of Africa: Southwest state President Aden resigns; Ethiopian troops intervene in clan clashes in Sool region, Somaliland; AMISOM launches investigation into civilian casualties in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) reported two September airstrikes targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in a press release on November 6. The two strikes include one that killed four AQAP militants in Ahwar district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on September 9, and another in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen, on September 18. This brings the total number of confirmed U.S. airstrikes against AQAP in Yemen in 2018 to 36.[1]

The Emirati-backed Shabwani Elite Forces arrested multiple AQAP militants in Khaurah district, Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen, on November 6.[2]

AQAP militants planted landmines that killed two Yemeni soldiers and injured two others tasked with defusing the landmines in Shibam district, Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen, according to pro-AQAP sources on November 5. Yemeni security forces arrested 20 men in Shibam district in response, according to local media.[3]

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces seized the Red Sea Mill and other factories in the vicinity of al Hudaydah city on November 6. The Red Sea Mill contains over 45,000 metric tons of food that previously belonged to the al Houthi movement. The spokesperson for Emirati-backed forces fighting in al Hudaydah, Colonel Maamoun al Mahjami, stated that the forces are surrounding the city in order to force the al Houthi fighters in the city center to surrender.[4]

President Abdu Rabbu Monsour Hadi’s Prime Minister, Maeen Abdul Malik, said that the Hadi government is ready to resume peace talks during a meeting with Sweden's Special Envoy to Yemen, Peter Simbi, in Aden city, southern Yemen, on November 6. Simbi also stressed Sweden’s commitment to supporting peace consultations for Yemen.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Southwest state President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden resigned on November 7 and revoked his candidacy for the upcoming election. Aden transferred power to the Speaker of Southwest Parliament, Abdulkadir Sharif Shekhuna Maye. Southwest state elders requested the postponement of elections on November 6 and alleged that the Somali Federal Government (SFG) had interfered in its elections. The SFG called for the elections to remain on schedule.[6] 

Ethiopian troops deployed in Dhumey and Qansaxdheere, Sool region, Somaliland to intervene in clan clashes on November 7. Approximately 40 people have died since clan clashes broke out on October 23. Somaliland President Musa Bihi Abdi announced that he will welcome anyone to mediate the clashes in Sool on October 28.[7]

Mogadishu residents accused African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops of killing four civilians in Heliwa district, Mogadishu on November 6. Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting AMISOM troops in Heliwa district on November 6. AMISOM forces fired on civilians following the explosion, according to residents. More than 100 demonstrators protested in Mogadishu calling for the SFG to investigate the incident on November 6. AMISOM announced that it launched a full investigation into the casualties following a request from Mogadishu mayor Abdurahman Omar Osman.[8]

[1] “CENTCOM updates counterterrorism strikes in Yemen,” U.S. Central Command, November 6, 2018,

[2] “The Shabwani Elite Forces raid on al Qaeda in Khaurah, west of Shabwah province,” 7adramout, November 6, 2018,

[3] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, November 7, 2018,

[4] Ali Mahmood, “Yemen’s pro-government forces recapture Red Sea mill from Houthis,” The National, November 7, 2018,, and “al Houthi fortifications fall apart in front of Yemeni forces’ siege on al Hudaydah,” 7adramout, November 7, 2018,

[5] Mina Aldroubi, “Yemen PM says government ready to resume peace talks,” The National, November 7, 2018,, and “Sweden wants to open an embassy in the capital Aden,” Yemen Window, November 6, 2018,

[6] Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 7, 2018,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 7, 2018,; and “Somalia: Govt calls for timely election in Southwest as electoral officials resign,” Garowe, November 7, 2018,

[7] “Ethiopian troops deploy in Sool amid deadly clashes,” Goobjoog, November 7, 2018,

[8] “AMISOM accused of killing civilians in Mogadishu,” Radio Kulmiye, November 7, 2018,; ‘Mogadishu mayor asks AMISOM to probe into civilian killings,’ Radio Shabelle, November 7, 2018,; and AMISOM, Twitter, November 7, 2018,

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