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 releases 128 al Houthi prisoners; al Houthis claim to shoot down Saudi helicopter; unidentified gunmen kill Aden security official; Saudi crown prince meets Abu Dhabi crown prince

Horn of Africa: SNA seizes two villages from al Shabaab in Gedo region; AFRICOM launches airstrike in Middle Jubba region; SNA soldier kills general in Mogadishu; al Shabaab releases video documenting attack in Bay region

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi Arabia released 128 al Houthi prisoners of war in late November. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helped repatriate the prisoners to the al Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on November 28. Saudi Arabia had pledged to release 200 al Houthi prisoners on November 26.[1]

Al Houthi spokesman Yahya Sare’a claimed on November 29 that the al Houthi movement had shot down a Saudi Apache helicopter near the Saudi-Yemeni border. Sare’a claimed that two pilots were killed in the attack. Saudi Arabia has not commented on the claim.[2]

Unidentified gunmen shot and killed the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department in Yemen’s de facto capital, Aden, on December 1. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[3]

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Dubai on November 27 to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi as well as bin Zayed’s national security advisor, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed. The three discussed the Yemeni civil war and tensions with Iran.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali National Army (SNA) forces seized two villages from al Shabaab on the outskirts of Bardhere town in Gedo region in southwestern Somalia on December 1. The SNA recaptured Raydab and Baar Maalim villages and killed ten al Shabaab militants. Al Shabaab claimed to resist the attack and maintain control of the villages, however.[5]

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab militants near Jilib town in Middle Jubba region in southern Somalia on November 30. AFRICOM is currently assessing the results of the strike.[6]

An SNA soldier killed SNA General Yusuf Ali Qassay in the general’s home in Hodan district in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on November 30. The killing allegedly resulted from a land dispute. The soldier surrendered to Somali police following Qassay’s death.[7]

Al Shabaab released a video on November 27 documenting an attack on an SNA outpost in Daynunay village in Bay region in southern Somalia. The last reported al Shabaab attack in Daynunay occurred on August 17, 2019, according to SITE Intelligence Group.[8]

Visit our YemenSaudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates, Iran, and Somalia storystreams.

[1] “Yemen civil war: 128 detainees sent home from Saudi Arabia,” BBC, November 28, 2019,

[2] “Yemen’s Houthis say they shot down Saudi helicopter, pilots killed: spokesman,” Reuters, November 29, 2019,

[3] “Gunmen kill Yemeni security official in Aden,” Xinhua, December 1, 2019,

[4] “Saudi crown prince visits Abu Dhabi as Yemen war rages,” Associated Press, November 27, 2019,; and “Saudi Crown Prince Moahmmed bin Salman meets Dubai ruler,” Arab News, November 28, 2019,

[5] “Somali forces killed 10 militants in Gedo, AFRICOM hits Shabaab base in Jilib,” Hiiraan, December 1, 2019,; “SNA seize areas in Bardhere under Al-Shabaab rule,” Goobjoog, December 2, 2019,; and “Al-Shabaab recaptures village from Somali military,” Radio Shabelle, December 1, 2019,

[6] “Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. conduct airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists,” AFRICOM, November 30, 2019,

[7] “Somali Army general killed in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog, December 1, 2019,

[8] “Shabaab Video Documents Attack on SNA Position in Daynunay,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 27, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

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