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.

The Gulf of Aden Security Review will resume in January 2020.

Yemen: President Hadi and Vice President Ali Mohsen call for unified Yemeni government; Saudi-led coalition-backed forces attack al Houthis in al Jawf

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims to destroy downed US drone in Hiraan region; al Shabaab claims SNA soldiers surrender in Gedo region; Kenya opens new airbase near Somali border

Yemen Security Brief

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar met with representatives of the National Alliance of Parties and Political Organizations December 12 to discuss the government’s goals for a unified Yemen. Hadi and Ali Mohsen called for all Yemeni parties to overcome political quarrels and expressed confidence in a recently signed power-sharing agreement with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern separatist group. Hadi government-aligned forces and STC-aligned forces recently clashed in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on December 5, a month after the agreement was signed.[1]

Saudi-led coalition backed Yemeni forces claimed to kill al Houthi commander Azan al Sharif and four of his associates in fighting near the Saudi border in northern Yemen’s al Jawf governorate on December 12. Al Houthi spokesman Yahya Sare’a accused the Saudi-led coalition of attacking al Houthi forces in al Jawf and conducting more than 30 airstrikes in the area over the course of 16 hours.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab claimed to destroy a US reconnaissance drone after it fell near Burweyne village in Hiraan region in central Somalia on December 12. Al Shabaab said its militants located and destroyed the drone before Djiboutian forces serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) were able to secure the wreckage. US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has not commented on the incident.[3]

Al Shabaab claimed that 21 Somali National Army troops surrendered to the group in Gedo region in southwestern Somalia on December 13.[4]

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta oversaw the opening ceremony of Modika Airbase in Garissa County in eastern Kenya on December 13. Construction on the airbase, which is Kenya’s largest, began in July 2017. The opening ceremony comes a week after al Shabaab militants killed 11 Kenyans in an attack in neighboring Wajir County.[5]

Visit our YemenSaudi Arabia, Somalia, and Kenya storystreams.

[1] “The President of the Republic meets leaders and representatives of the National Alliance of Political Parties and Organizations,” Official Website of the President of the Republic of Yemen, December 12, 2019,

[2] “By name… the national army announces the killing of a prominent Houthi leader in Al-Jawf governorate,” Al Mashad Al Yemeni, December 13, 2019,; Sare’a, Yahya, Twitter, December 12, 2019,

[3] “Shabaab Reports Surrender of 21 Somali Soldiers, Claims Destroying American UAV,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 13, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[4] Ibid; and Phelan, Kevin, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 12, 2019” Critical Threats Project, December 12, 2019,

[5] Mboga, Jael, “President Uhuru to open new Air Base in Garissa,” Standard, December 13, 2019,; and Cheruiyot, Kevin, “Security beefed up as Uhuru opens military barracks in Garissa,” The Star, December 13, 2019,

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