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.{{authorBox.message}}



Yemen: Al Houthi movement offers prisoner exchange; UN Special Envoy for Yemen working on ceasefire proposal

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab detonates IED targeting Djiboutian soldiers in Hiraan region; al Shabaab claims multiple attacks in and around Mogadishu; al Shabaab attempts to flood highway in Middle Shabelle region; Ethiopian Prime Minister receives Nobel Peace Prize

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement offered President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government a prisoner exchange involving 2,000 detainees on October 10. The announcement follows the al Houthi movement’s unilateral release of 290 prisoners on September 30. The head of the al Houthi movement’s Prisoner Affairs Committee, Abdul Qader al Murtada, stated on October 10 that the exchange could be the first phase of a larger deal. The Hadi government has not responded to the offer.[1]

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths is working on a comprehensive settlement between Saudi Arabia and the al Houthi movement following an al Houthi ceasefire offer, according to Al Jazeera. Griffiths’ plan will call for militia withdrawals overseen by the UN, an end to cross-border attacks, and an end to threats to maritime navigation in international waters. The UN has not commented on the alleged proposal.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab detonated a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Djiboutian troops serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Jalalaqsi town in Hiraan region in central Somalia on October 10. The explosion killed two Djiboutian soldiers and injured two civilians.[3]

Al Shabaab claimed multiple attacks on Somali security forces in and around Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on October 9 and 10. Al Shabaab claimed to separately detonate IEDs targeting Somali National Army (SNA) and Somali police forces in Daynile district, Hodan district, and Heliwa district in Mogadishu, as well as near Barire town, located approximately 25 miles southwest of the capital. Militants also claimed to assassinate a Somali Federal Government official in Hodan district.[4]

Al Shabaab destroyed a water gate in an attempt to flood the highway between Jowhar and Balad towns in Middle Shabelle region in central Somalia on October 11. Al Shabaab militants ambushed SNA troops when they attempted to close the gate.[5]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize on October 11 for his 2018 peace agreement with neighboring Eritrea. Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1991 after three decades of conflict. The two countries went to war in 1998 over a border dispute.[6]

Visit our YemenSomaliaSaudi Arabia, and Ethiopia storystreams.

[1] “Yemen’s Houthis Offer Saudi-backed Government New Prisoner Swap Deal”, Reuters, October 10, 2019,

[2] “A Comprehensive Political Settlement in Yemen Sought by Saudi Arabia… What are its Features”, Al Jazeera, October 10, 2019,السعودية-اليمن-تسوية-الحرب-الحوثيون-الحكومة-الشرعية.

[3] Tuuryare, Abdirisak, “Two AU Soldiers Injured In Somalia Explosion,” Mareeg, October 10, 2019,

[4] “Shabaab Claims Bombing Military Vehicle in Kenya's Garissa County, Killing 7 Somali Special Police in IED Blast in Mogadishu,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 10, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, October 11, 2019,

[6] Stevis-Gridneff, Matina, “Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Awarded Nobel Peace Prize,” The New York Times, October 11, 2019,; and Corey-Boulet, Robbie, “Abiy Ahmed: Meteoric rise of the man trying to remould Ethiopia,” Agence France Presse, October 11, 2019,

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Yemen: President Trump confirms 2017 death of AQAP bomb maker in Yemen; Saudi forces deploy to Shabwah governorate; UAE-backed forces claim to control most of northern Dhaleh governorate

Horn of Africa: SFG President appoints new military commanders; SNA releases video of al Shabaab defectors in Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief

President Trump confirmed the death of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s chief bomb maker, Ibrahim al Asiri, in a 2017 US counterterrorism operation in Yemen on October 10. Al Asiri was behind multiple plots to attack the US homeland. He designed an “underwear bomb” that a terrorist attempted to detonate on a Detroit-bound flight in 2009.[1]

Saudi forces deployed to Shabwah governorate in southern Yemen on October 10. Yemeni media have reported in recent days that Saudi Arabia plans to establish a joint force with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist organization, in Shabwah governorate. The force would be part of a Saudi-brokered deal to end a conflict between the STC and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government.[2]

UAE-backed Southern Joint Forces claimed to seize the al Fakher area in northern Dhaleh governorate in southwestern Yemen on October 8 and October 9. The Yemeni forces claimed to kill 115 al Houthi soldiers in the operation. The forces claimed to be in control of 80% of northern Dhaleh and announced that they will push into neighboring Ibb governorate.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali Federal Government (SFG) President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo promoted two Somali National Army (SNA) generals to key leadership positions on October 10. Farmajo appointed Brigadier General Mohamed Ali Barise as the new Chief of Staff of the Army and Brigadier General Abdihamid Mohamed Dirir as the new Commander of Land Forces.[4]

The SNA released a video showing two al Shabaab defectors in Garbaharey town in Gedo region in southwestern Somalia on October 10. The defectors recently turned themselves into local authorities, according to SNA media.[5]

Visit our YemenSomaliaSaudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates storystreams.

[1] “Trump Conforms Dead of Chief al Qaeda Bombmaker in Yemen Operation”, Washington Examiner, October 10, 2019,

[2] “Saudi Reinforcements Arrive in Shabwa in Preparation for the Return of the Government to Aden”, al Mashad al Yemeni, October 10, 2019

[3] Dozens of Rebels Killed as Southern Forces Make Gains on Yemen Front”, The National, October 9, 2019,

[4] Harun Maruf, Twitter, October 10, 2019,

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, October 10, 2019,

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Yemen: UAE withdraws 200 troops from Aden; Hadi government-aligned forces intercept al Houthi drone in al Jawf; Hadi government-aligned forces repel al Houthi attack in Hudaydah governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants detonate IED outside Mogadishu; Somali security forces arrest 60 suspected al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu; Mozambican security forces raid Salafi-jihadi militants’ base in Cabo Delgado province


Yemen Security Brief 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) withdrew 200 of its soldiers from Aden port city, Yemen’s de facto capital, on October 8. The Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a UAE-backed southern separatist group that has controlled Aden since August, is close to reaching a deal with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government that would end the Aden standoff and have Saudi forces take temporary control of the city.[1]

Hadi government-aligned forces intercepted an al Houthi drone in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen on October 8. The drone was targeting Hadi government-aligned forces’ positions in the area. Hadi government-aligned forces previously claimed to intercept an Iranian-made al Houthi drone in Hajjah governorate in northwestern Yemen on October 5.[2]

Hadi government-aligned forces claimed to have thwarted an al Houthi offensive in southern al Hudaydah governorate on October 8. Pro-Hadi government media accused the al Houthi movement of violating the 2018 UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement, which calls for the demilitarization of parts of al Hudaydah governorate.[3]


Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab detonated a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Turkish-trained Somali National Army (SNA) troops on the outskirts of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on October 8. The explosion killed four soldiers and injured five others.[4]

SNA troops and Somali police arrested at least 60 suspected al Shabaab militants in raids in Bulla Hubey area in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district on October 9. Security forces interrogated the suspects for information on an IED blast that had occurred the previous night.[5]

Mozambican security forces raided a base belonging to Salafi-jihadi militants in Mitope village in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province on October 5. Security forces killed nine militants. One local official reported that a Russian national fighting alongside government forces died in the operation. A Kremlin spokesman denied any Russian military presence in Mozambique.[6]

Visit our Yemen and Somalia  story streams.

[1] “UAE pulls some forces from Yemen’s Aden as deal nears to end standoff,” Reuters, October 8, 2019,

[2] “The army downs a drone in al Jawf and controls new areas in Saada,” al Mashhad al Yemeni, October 9, 2019,

[3] “Joint forces thwart al Houthi attack in Hodeidah,” al Bawaba, October 9, 2019,

[4] “Somalia blast targeting Turkish-trained soldiers kills 4,” Garowe, October 9, 2019,

[5] “Dozens arrested in Somalia following car bombing,” Garowe, October 9, 2019,

[6] “Mozambique says army killed 9 jihadists in restive north,” Nehanda Radio, October 9, 2019,

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