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: Southern Movement announces plans for October 14 rally after STC cancels demonstration; Austria offers to host Yemen consultations; al Houthi forces fire missiles and rockets into southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab executes five alleged spies in Saakow, Middle Jubba region, southern Somalia; al Shabaab raids SNA base in Mahaday, Middle Shabelle region, southern Somalia; Italian PM Giuseppe Conte meets with Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa; U.S. Senate confirms Donald Yamomoto as ambassador to Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

The Southern Movement (also known as Hirak) announced it will hold a rally on October 14 to celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of South Yemen’s revolution against the British Mandate. The Southern Movement announced the rally after the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) canceled its demonstration. The STC announced on October 11 that it will not hold an event on the anniversary due to the current economic crisis and will instead devote resources to relief activities in southern governorates. Southern Movement leader Fouad Rashid expressed surprise at the STC’s decision to cancel, but told news sources that the Southern Movement will hold demonstrations.[1]

The Austrian government offered to host the next round of UN-led consultations in Vienna on October 12. UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths announced on October 11 that he is planning to hold a new round of consultations next month. Griffiths met with lead al Houthi negotiator Mohamed Abdul Salam, Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi, and Hadi government Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar between October 10 and 11.[2]

Al Houthi forces claimed to fire a Zilzal 1 ballistic missile, a Katyusha rocket, and a number of artillery shells at Asir region, southern Saudi Arabia on October 11. They also claimed to fire artillery shells at neighboring Jizan and Najran regions on October 11. Al Houthi news sources claimed that the missile and artillery was in response to Saudi-led coalition offensives in northwest Yemen.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab executed five alleged spies in Saakow, Middle Jubba region, southern Somalia on October 11.  Al Shabaab claimed the victims were agents of the Somali and Kenyan intelligence services. Al Shabaab also executed five suspected spies, including an alleged British spy, in Jilib town, Middle Jubba, southern Somalia on October 9.

Al Shabaab claimed to raid a military base and kill two soldiers in Mahaday, Middle Shabelle region, southern Somalia on October 11.[4]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hosted Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Addis Ababa from October 10 to 12. Conte called on Italian businesses to invest in the Horn of Africa. He commended Abiy for his reforms and the recent peace agreement with Eritrea. The two countries also signed economic agreements worth 25 million U.S. dollars. Conte will travel to Eritrea to meet with President Isaias Afwerki on October 12.[5]

The U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nomination for U.S. ambassador to Somalia, Donald Yamomoto, on October 11. Yamomoto has served in the Foreign Service for thirty-eight years, much of which he spent specializing in East Africa.[6] 

[1] “The Southern Movement says it has gone on to set up a mass event commemorating the October 14 revolution,” Aden Gad, October 12 2018,; and “Due to economic conditions, the Southern Transitional Council will not organize central event,” STC Aden, October 11 2018,

[2] “Austria offers to host Yemen talks as Griffiths seeks to renew negotiations,” Al Arabiya, October 12, 2018,

[3] “Breakup of the crawling and firing a Zilzal 1 missile and targeting mercenaries gatherings on border front lines,” Al Masirah, October 11, 2018,

[4] “Shabaab Claims Executing Another Five Spies in Middle Juba,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 11, 2018, English translation available by subscription at; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review: October 10, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 10, 2018,

[5]  “Italy PM urges investment in ‘peaceful’ Ethiopia, Horn of Africa,” Africa News, October 12, 2018,

[6] Senate Cloakroom, Twitter, October 11, 2018,; and Donald Yamamoto, “Statement of Donald Y. Yamamoto: Nominee to be Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Somalia,” United States Committee on Foreign Relations, August 23, 2018,

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