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 Arabia pressures UN aid agency for good publicity; AQAP kills security official in al Bayda governorate; Emirati-backed Yemeni forces send 10,000 troops ahead of offensive on al Hudaydah port city; Yemeni PM meets with U.S., French, and Dutch ambassadors in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; al Houthi forces fire ballistic missiles and artillery at Saudi military positions in western Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Oromo Liberation Front militiamen clash with Ethiopian security forces in western Oromia region, western Ethiopia; Wanlaweyn administration calls for end to clan clashes in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia; Jubbaland president accepts President Farmajo’s invitation for talks; Puntland army chief of staff announces candidacy for Puntland presidency; Southwest state MPs warn SFG against electoral interference in upcoming elections

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi Arabia demanded that aid agencies operating in Yemen provide favorable publicity to the Saudi-led coalition in return for $930 million of humanitarian aid, according to a leaked UN document published on October 30. Saudi Arabia and the UAE pressured the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to provide favorable publicity in return for grants. The document also reveals that the Saudi government pushed OCHA to seek support for the Saudi humanitarian effort in Yemen in newspapers like The New York Times and The Guardian.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to ambush and kill a security official in Haddah region, al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on October 28. The group claimed to seize important documents from the official. [2]

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces sent 10,000 new troops towards Aden port ahead of a new offensive on al Hudaydah port city, western Yemen, on October 30, according to government officials.[3]

The Prime Minister of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government, Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed, met separately with U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tueller, French Ambassador to Yemen Christian Testot, and Dutch Ambassador to Yemen Irma van Dueren on October 29 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. President Hadi appointed Saeed on October 15.[4]

Al Houthi forces claimed to fire a Zilzal 1 ballistic missile at Saudi-led coalition troops in Nihm district, eastern Sana’a governorate on October 29. Al Houthi forces also claimed to shell Saudi military positions in Najran and Jizan regions, southern Saudi Arabia on October 29.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Ethiopian federal security forces clashed with members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a former rebel group, in Kelem Wellega zone, Oromia region, southwestern Ethiopia between October 27 and October 30. Armed OLF militiamen prevented OLF leader Dawud Ibsa from leaving the region on October 27 because they suspected that his trip was part of the government’s efforts to disarm the OLF. Ibsa and thousands of OLF members recently returned from Eritrea to pursue their agenda within   Ethiopia’s political system following a peace agreement with the government on August 7.[6]

The Wanlaweyn district administration called for an end to the clan conflict in Lower Shabelle region on October 30. Local officials claimed that they are pursuing measures to ease tensions in the region. The recent clan conflict arose over grazing rights.[7]

The head of the Galmudug state cabinet, Sheikh Mohamed Shaakir, welcomed Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s invitation to the federal member states to meet in Mogadishu and discuss ways to end the conflict between the federal member states and the Somali Federal Government (SFG). The president of Jubbaland, Ahmed Madobe, also welcomed the invitation on October 30.[8]

The Puntland army chief of staff, General Saeed Mohamed Hersi, announced his candidacy for the upcoming Puntland presidential election in January 2019. Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali appointed a new army chief to succeed General Hersi following his announcement.[9]

Southwest state officials warned the SFG against interfering in the upcoming Southwest state presidential election, which will be held on November 17. Members of parliament accused the SFG of supporting certain candidates and financially contributing to their campaigns to unseat the current Southwest president, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.[10]


[1] “Saudis demanded good publicity over Yemen, leaked UN document shows,” The Guardian, October 30, 2018,

[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, October 29, 2018,

[3] “Saudi-led coalition sends thousands of troops towards Yemen port,” France 24, October 30, 2018,

[4] “Abdul Malik begins first diplomatic move and holds high level meetings,” Mareb Press, October 29, 2018,

[5] “Zilzal 1 targets Saudi-led mercenaries troops in Nihm,” Saba Net, October 29, 2018,; and “Army targets gathering of Saudi-paid mercenaries in Jizan, Najran,” Saba Net, October 29, 2018,

[6] “Ethiopia security forces clash with ex-Oromo rebel group,” Africa News, October 30, 2018,; “Tensions high in Western Oromia Following Clashes between OLF Militia, Security Forces, Addis Standard, October 29, 2018,; and Aaron Maasho, “Ethiopian government signs deal with Oromo rebels to end hostilities,” Reuters, August 7, 2018,

[7] “Wanlaweyn administration intervene to end conflict in Lower Shabelle,” Goobjoog, October 30, 2018,

[8] “Galmudug cabinet head welcomes Farmajo’s call for talks,” Radio Shabelle, October 30, 2018,; and “Jubbaland president accepts Farmajo’s call for talks,” Radio Shabelle, October 30, 2018,

[9] “Puntland’s army chief to run in next year’s presidential election,” Hiiraan, October 29, 2018,

[10]“Somali state accuses central government of meddling in upcoming elections,” Hiiraan, October 30, 2018,

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