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: Hadi government and al Houthi representatives discuss al Hudaydah ceasefire on UN ship off coast of western Yemen; supervisory committee of the prisoner exchange agreement to meet in Amman; President Hadi’s deputy chief of staff of the army dies of wounds from al Houthi drone attack; Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs discusses Yemen with UN officials

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab detonates VBIED in Mogadishu; al Shabaab assassinates DP World port manager in Boosaaso; U.S. Embassy in Nairobi issues security alert for Nairobi and three other Kenyan regions; U.S.-backed SNA forces kill two foreign al Shabaab officials in Buale; AFRICOM conducts airstrike in Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

UN monitoring team leader Patrick Cammaert chaired a meeting between representatives from President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and the al Houthi movement on a UN chartered ship off the western coast of Yemen on February 3. The representatives discussed the al Hudaydah ceasefire and the withdrawal of forces from the city. The delegations will continue discussions on February 4.[1]

The office of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen announced on February 4 that the Supervisory Committee on the Implementation of the Prisoner Exchange Agreement will meet on February 5 in Amman, Jordan. The committee includes representatives from President Hadi’s government, the al Houthi movement, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths is also scheduled to attend the meeting. The Hadi government and al Houthi movement agreed to exchange thousands of prisoners in December.[2]

President Hadi’s Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army Major General Saleh al Zindani died on February 3 of wounds sustained from the al Houthi drone attack on al Anad airbase in Lahij governorate on January 10. The attack on al Anad airbase also killed President Hadi’s Head of Military Intelligence Brigadier General Saleh Tamah.[3]

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash re-affirmed the UAE’s commitment to political negotiations on Yemen during meetings with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, and the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on January 31 and February 1. Gargash stated that the Saudi-led coalition is prepared to use military action to pressure the al Houthi movement to stop obstructing humanitarian aid delivery and resume the political process.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in the Hamar Weyne Market in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital on February 4. The explosion killed nine civilians and injured several others. Al Shabaab claimed that the attack targeted a meeting of government security officials.[5]

An al Shabaab militant assassinated an Italian port manager for the Emirati company DP World, in Boosaaso, on February 4. Local security forces killed the assassin at the scene. DP World won a 30-year contract in 2017 to manage and develop Boosaaso port. Many Boosaaso residents protested the decision at the time.[6]

The U.S. embassy in Nairobi issued a terror alert for U.S. citizens in certain parts of Kenya on February 4. The embassy said that it has credible information that extremists may attempt to target Westerners in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, as well as in coastal areas and Naivasha and Nanyuki towns in central Kenya.[7]

U.S.-backed Somali National Army (SNA) forces killed two foreign al Shabaab officials in a joint military operation near Buale, the capital of Middle Jubba region in southern Somalia. The al Shabaab officials were involved in external relations and training suicide bombers. The SNA reported that it killed 22 militants in the raid.[8]

United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab near Gandershe village, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on February 1. The strike killed 13 militants and no civilians. Al Shabaab has previously used Gandarshe as a staging area for attacks involving VBIEDs.[9]

Visit our YemenSomalia, and Kenya Story Streams

[1] “Yemen government, Houthi rebels meet on UN ship to discuss truce,” al Jazeera, February 3, 2019,

[2] “The Supervisory committee on the implementation of the prisoner exchange agreement reconvenes in Amman on 5 February,” OSESGY, February 4, 2019,; and “Jordan to host Yemen talks focusing on prisoner swap deal,” al Arabiya, February 2, 2019,

[3] “The President of the Republic commends the martyrdom of Major General Saleh al Zindani,” Official Website of the President of the Republic of Yemen, February 3, 2019,

[4] “Gargash meets senior UN officials in New York,” WAM, February 2, 2019,

[5] “Nine killed in Somali market car bombing, say police,” Daily Nation, February 4, 2019,; “Al Shabaab claims responsibility for car bomb attack in Mogadishu,” Radio Shabelle, February 4, 2019,

[6] “Dubai Port Official Shot Dead in Somalia, Police Say,” Horseed Media, February 4, 2019,; “Somalia port boss killed as al Shabaab car bomb kills 9,” Daily Nation, February 2, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, February 3, 2019,

[7] “Security alert for U.S. citizens,” U.S. Embassy Nairobi, February 4, 2019,

[8] “Somalia, US troops kill high-profile foreign jihadists in operation,” Mareeg, February 3, 2019,

[9] “Al Shabaab Degraded by U.S., Federal Government of Somalia,” AFRICOM, February 2, 2019,; and “US army says it killed 13 al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia,” Al Jazeera, February 3, 2019,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Mar '19
Feb '19
Jan '19