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: Islamic State claims IED attack on AQAP in al Bayda; Martin Griffiths concludes visits to Sana’a, al Hudaydah, and Riyadh; Saudi-led coalition strikes al Houthi drone storage site in Sana’a; al Houthi forces fire Zilzal 1 ballistic missile at southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab seizes two locations from Islamic State in Puntland; AMISOM appoints new force commander

Yemen Security Brief

The Islamic State in Yemen claimed a January 30 IED attack on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in northwestern al Bayda governorate in central Yemen.[1]

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths concluded his visit to Sana’a and al Hudaydah cities in Yemen and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on January 31. Griffiths met with al Houthi movement leaders and members of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government during the trip. Griffiths expressed confidence that the parties are committed to upholding the Stockholm Agreement and are moving towards future peace consultations.[2]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted an airstrike targeting a storage site for al Houthi drones east of Sana’a city on January 31. A coalition spokesman stated that the attack is part of a campaign to destroy al Houthi drone capabilities. A Saudi-led coalition airstrike also killed al Houthi commander Abdullah Jahaf in Hajjah governorate on February 1.[3]

Al Houthi militants fired a Zilzal 1 ballistic missile at Saudi troops in Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on January 31, according to an al Houthi news agency.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab seized Mirale and Sheebab village from Islamic State fighters in Puntland, northeastern Somalia on January 31. Islamic State fighters retreated further into the highlands following the clashes. Both al Shabaab and Islamic State fighters have approached villagers in the region in an effort to earn their support in recent days. Several of the Islamic State fighters are foreigners, including a high-profile Sudanese militant, according to local media.[5]

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) appointed Ethiopian General Tigabu Yilma Wondimhunegen as its new Force Commander on January 31. General Wondimhunegen previously served on the Ethiopian National Defense Force’s Defense Council.[6]

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[1] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, January 31, 2019,

[2] “Griffiths concludes a regional visit to Sanaa and Riyadh, and remains encouraged by the political commitment of the parties to the Stockholm Agreement,” OSEGY, January 31, 2019,

[3] “Saudi-led coalition attacks drone storage site east of Sana’a,” Reuters, January 31, 2019,; “Coalition announces the destruction of a storage site for Houthi aircraft due east of Sana’a,” Al Jawza News, February 1, 2019,; and “Arab coalition raid kills Houthi commander in Yemen’s Hajjah,” Arab News, February 01, 2019,

[4] “An offensive operation in Asir and a Zilzal 1 on the gatherings of Saudi soldiers in Najran,” 26 September Net, January 31, 2019,

[5] Harun Maruf, “Al Shabaab battles IS in Northeastern Somalia,” VOA, February 1, 2019,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, January 31, 2019,

[6] “Ethiopian commander takes over AMISOM force in Somalia,” Mareeg, January 31, 2019,

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