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: Russian foreign minister reiterates Moscow’s commitment to supporting UN-led Yemen peace process; Emirati-backed Yemeni forces destroy al Houthi drone in Taiz; al Houthi forces fire Badr 1 ballistic missile at Saudi Arabia; Emirati-backed forces repel al Houthi counterattack on al Hudaydah-Sana’a road; tropical cyclone Luban kills six people in al Mahrah governorate

Horn of Africa: U.S. officials state that October 12 airstrike targeted al Shabaab camp; al Shabaab claims attacks in northeastern Kenya and Puntland; Ethiopian prime minister claims that protesting soldiers wanted to end government reforms

Yemen Security Brief

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced on October 18 that Russia is committed to supporting UN-led efforts to find a political solution to the Yemen crisis. Lavrov added that Russia will help bring all parties of the conflict to negotiations without preconditions. He also that stated Russia has coordinated with the Saudi-led coalition to deliver humanitarian aid to Yemen and confirmed that aid will continue.[1]

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces intercepted and destroyed an al Houthi unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Taiz governorate, southwestern Yemen on October 18.[2]

Al Houthi forces claimed to fire a Badr 1 ballistic missile at a Saudi military base in Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on October 18. The Saudi Ministry of Defense has not confirmed the missile strike. Al Houthi forces also claimed to fire two Badr 1 ballistic missiles in Ma’rib governorate, northern Yemen on October 16.[3]

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces repelled an al Houthi counterattack in the Kilo 10 area along the road linking al Hudaydah and Sana’a on October 18, according to Saudi news. Emirati-backed forces seized the Kilo 16 and Kilo 10 areas from al Houthi forces, east of al Hudaydah city on September 12.[4]

Tropical cyclone Luban killed six people in al Mahrah governorate, eastern Yemen on October 18. The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief center delivered humanitarian aid to al Ghaydah airport in al Mahrah governorate on October 17.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief   

U.S. officials stated that the U.S. airstrike that killed dozens of al Shabaab militants on October 12 targeted an al Shabaab training camp near Harardhere in Mudug region, central Somalia, according to the Associate Press. The death toll from the strike now exceeds 75 militants. Original media reports stated that the airstrikes had not targeted camps.[6]

Al Shabaab claimed to detonate two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeting Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) troops near Fino area, Mandera County, northeastern Kenya on October 16. Al Shabaab claimed to kill all the soldiers in each vehicle. Al Shabaab claimed to kill multiple members of the Puntland Security Forces in an attack in Af Urur, Puntland on October 18. Neither attack is confirmed.[7]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated on October 18 that the soldiers who had marched on his palace on October 10 were demanding an end to Ethiopia’s political and economic reforms. Ethiopian media had initially reported that the soldiers were demanding pay raises. Ethiopian authorities arrested multiple army officers accused of instigating the soldiers’ protests on October 14. Abiy told parliament that the situation has been defused.  Abiy initiated an ambitious agenda of political and economic reforms when he came to office in April following months of popular protests against the previous government.[8] 

[1] “Moscow sees priority in Yemen to stop fighting and start a political settlement,” RT, October 18, 2018,; and “Russia wants to help the UN to resolve the conflict in Yemen,” Sputnik News, October 18, 2018,  

[2] “Emirati-backed Yemeni forces intercepted an al Houthi Unmanned Aerial vehicle,” Sky News Arabia, October 18, 2018,

[3] “Badr 1 ballistic missile hits gatherings of mercenaries in Najran, Al Masirah, October 18, 2018,

[4] “Yemeni army, Arab coalition block al Houthi attempt to open Sana’a, al Hudaydah route,” Al Arabiya, October 18, 2018,

[5] “Tropical cyclone Luban kills six and cause 3,800 families to migrate,” Al Qabas, October 18, 2018,

[6] Abdi Guled, “U.S. Airstrike Wiped Out Al-Shabab Camp, Intel Officials Say,” Associated Press, October 17, 2018,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 16, 2018,  

[7] “Shabaab claims bombing 2 Kenyan military vehicles in Mandera, attacks on AMISOM, PSF, and SNA forces in Somalia,” SITE Intelligence Group, English translation available by subscription at

[8] “Ethiopia soldiers who marched on palace wanted to abort reforms-PM,” Reuters, October 18, 2018,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review: October 16, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 16, 2018,

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