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: Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son reportedly vows vengeance on al Houthi movement; al Houthi leader warns military escalation against al Houthi movement is probable; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes intensify as ground clashes end in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab car bomb targets SNA general in Mogadishu, Somalia; SNA arrests al Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia; al Shabaab militants attempt to raid military base in Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

The office of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son, Ahmed Ali, released a statement in which Ahmed Ali mourned his father’s passing and promised to confront Yemen’s enemies on December 5. Saudi-owned TV station also reported that Ahmed Ali called for revenge against the Iranian-backed al Houthi movement. Ahmed reportedly arrived in Saudi Arabia on December 4. Al Houthi-aligned forces killed former President Saleh on the outskirts of Sana’a city on December 4 after three days of intense fighting between the fractured al Houthi-Saleh bloc.[1]

President of the al Houthi Supreme Political Council Saleh al Samad warned supporters that a military escalation against the al Houthi movement is probable during a rally in Sana’a city on December 5. Leader of the al Houthi movement Abdul Malik al Houthi reassured Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party on December 4, stating he holds only certain militias and individuals responsible for the collapse of the al Houthi-Saleh partnership.[2] 

Twenty-five Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit Sana’a overnight on December 4, according to the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen. The International Committee on the Red Cross stated on December 5 that the death toll in Sana’a reached 234 killed and 400 wounded since clashes broke out on November 29. Ground clashes in Sana’a reportedly ended soon after Saleh’s death on December 4.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated a car bomb targeting Somali National Army (SNA) General Abdiweli outside Villa Baidoa, Wadajir district, Mogadishu on December 4. The vehicle exploded after the general left the car. Villa Baidoa is the SNA headquarters located near the KM 5 junction, the site of the October 14 Mogadishu bombing that killed over 500 civilians. Somali President Mohamed Farmajo began a security conference with international and Somali leaders near Villa Baidoa in the African Mission Union in Somalia (AMISOM) base at Halane on December 4. Conference participants discussed the new counter-al Shabaab offensive and reviewed the goals set by the May 2017 London Conference on Somalia.[4] 

SNA forces detained several al Shabaab militants during a raid in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on December 5. SNA forces conducted the raid after a suspected al Shabaab militants shot a prominent town elder. Al Shabaab has conducted three attacks in Afgoi since November 28.[5]  

Al Shabaab militants attempted to raid a Jubbaland State military base in Dhoobley, Lower Jubba, southern Somalia on December 5. Al Shabaab has attacked Kenyan and Somali forces stationed in Dhoobley three times since November 23. Dhoobley is located less than 20 miles from the Kenyan-Somali border and serves as a converging point for Somali refugees fleeing to Kenya.[6] 

[1] “Exiled son of slain Yemen ex-leader calls for revenge: Saudi-owned TV,” Reuters, December 4, 2017,; Al Mnatiq, Twitter, December 5, 2017,; “Al Akhbariya: Son of Ali Abdullah Saleh calls for revenge for his father,” Aden Tomorrow, December 5, 2017,; and “Important and urgent statement from Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh,” Aden Tomorrow, December 5, 2017,
[2] “President of the Supreme Revolutionary: the Yemeni people won for security and stability and did not win a party or sect or sect,” Al Masirah, December 5, 2017,; “Massive crowds swarm to the Airport Square to participate in the process of thanking God for suppressing sedition,” Al Masirah, December 5, 2017,; and “Praising the responsible positions of leaders and the GPC,” Al Masirah, December 4, 2017,
[3] “U.N. says fighting stops in Sanaa, Saleh funeral expected,” Reuters, December 5, 2017,; “Toll in Sanaa fighting rises to 234 killed, 400 wounded: ICRC,” Reuters, December 5, 2017,; and “A series of intensive raids in Sanaa and the coalition bombed the presidential palace for the first time,” Al Masdar, December 5, 2017,
[4] “Somalia: SNA commander survives car bombing in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, December 4, 2017,
[5] “Somali Govt Forces Carry Out A Security Operation In Afgoye,” Radio Shabelle, December 5, 2017,
[6] “Al Shabaab Attacks Jubbaland Army Base Near Kenyan Border,” Radio Shabelle, December 5, 2017,

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