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: Saudi officials admit coalition mistakes in Yemen airstrikes; Saudi king donates $200 million to Yemen’s Central Bank to stabilize currency; suspected cholera cases surge in al Hudaydah; al Houthi forces claim to fire ballistic missile at southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Over 70,000 people flee ethnic violence in Ethiopia; AFRICOM conducts airstrike near Kismayo; locals clash with al Shabaab militants in Middle Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi Ministry of Defense official Osaiker al Otaibi acknowledged that the Saudi-led coalition made mistakes in some of its operations when questioned about Saudi Arabia’s compliance with a treaty on children in armed conflict on October 1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Vice-Chair Clarence Nelson stated that there is no evidence that the coalition has held anyone accountable for airstrikes that have killed children in Yemen. President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission Bandar al Aiban emphasized that the August 9 airstrike that killed 40 children targeted a bus transporting al Houthi military officials but added that the airstrike did not follow the coalition’s rules of engagement. Coalition officials stated on September 1 that those responsible for the August 9 airstrike will be held accountable.[1]

The King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, announced that the kingdom will donate $200 million to Yemen’s Central Bank to stabilize the Yemeni economy and enhance the value of the currency. The unofficial exchange rate of the Yemeni riyal dropped to 700 riyals to the dollar in late September. The Yemeni riyal exchanged for 250 riyals to the dollar before the civil war. King Salman affirmed Saudi Arabia’s continued support for President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government to restore security and stability in Yemen.[2]

Save the Children warned on October 2 that suspected cases of cholera have tripled in  al Hudaydah between June and August. Health facilities supported by Save the Children recorded a 170 percent increase in the number of cases, from 497 in June to 1,342 in August. The rise in suspected cases follow an increase in fighting between Emirati-backed Yemeni forces and al Houthi forces in al Hudaydah. Around 30 percent of all suspected cases are children under the age of five, according to the World Health Organization.[3]

Al Houthi forces claimed to fire a Zilzal 2 ballistic missile and a number of artillery shells at Saudi forces gathered near the al Khadra border in Najran, southern Saudi Arabia on October 2. The attack killed and wounded dozens of Saudi troops, according to al Houthi media. The Saudi Ministry of Defense has not confirmed the missile strike.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Ethnic clashes killed at least 44 people and led more than 70,000 more to flee in Benishangul-Gumuz region, western  Ethiopia. Benishangul-Gumuz region officials were on an official visit to neighboring Oromia region when they were murdered by unknown gunmen, prompting the clashes in Benishangul-Gumuz, beginning on September 28. Mobs attacked ethnic Oromos living in Benishangul-Gumuz after news of the murders broke. Ethnic clashes have internally displaced more than one million Ethiopians in 2018. [5]

United States Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike in defense of Somali forces  40 km north of Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on October 1. The airstrike killed nine militants. The U.S. military has carried out 24 airstrikes, including drone strikes, against al Shabaab in 2018.[6]

Al Shabaab militants clashed with armed locals in Adan Yabal district, Middle Shabelle region, southern Somalia on October 2. The clashes killed six people on both sides. Somali National Army (SNA) forces backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops supported the locals during the fight.[7]


[1] “Saudi Arabia admits coalition mistakes in targeting in Yemen,” Reuters, October 1, 2018,

[2] “Custodian of the two holy mosques orders US $200 million grant to Central Bank of Yemen,” Saudi Press Agency, October 2, 2018,; “Saudi Arabia gives $200m to halt currency collapse,” Al Jazeera, October 2, 2018,; and “The natinoal currency contniues to collapse to 700 riyals against the U.S. dollar,” al Eshteraki, September 30, 2018,   

[3] “Yemen: surge in suspected cholera cases in al Hudaydah,” Relief Web, October 1, 2018,; “Disease spike in Yemen humanitarian crisis,” Save the Children, October 2, 2018,; and “Suspected Yemeni cholera cases almost triple after Saudi offensive on al Hudaydah region, says charity,” Independent, October 2, 2018,

[4] “Rocketry force fires Zilzal 2 at Saudi mercenaries off Najran,” Al Masirah, October 2, 2018,

[5] Aaron Maasho, “More than 70,000 flee ethnic violence in western Ethiopia: local government,” Reuters, October 2 2018,; Addis Getachew, “Clashes kill 20, displace thousands in western Ethiopia,” AA October 1 2018,; and “Ethiopian ethnic violence kills 44,” AFP, October 2 2018,

[6] “U.S. airstrike in Somalia kills 9 al-Shabab militants,” Radio Shabelle, October 2 2018,; and “U.S. Conducts Airstrike in Support of the Federal Government of Somalia,” AFRICOM, October 2 2018,

[7] “Six people killed in civilian clash with Al-Shabaab in Middle Shabelle,” Goobjoog, October 2 2018,; and “Locals clash with Al-Shabaab at Adan Yabal, Middle Shabelle Somalia,” Goobjoog, October 2 2018,

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