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: Al Houthi movement rejects terms for implementing al Hudaydah agreement; UN Special Envoy to Yemen states that prisoner exchange lists will be finalized in three days; Islamic State in Yemen attacks al Houthi forces in al Bayda governorate; CNN report claims Saudi-led coalition transferred U.S.-made weapons to unauthorized groups in Yemen; al Houthi militants fire Zilzal 1 ballistic missile at southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab kills two senior SNA officers in Lower Shabelle region; SNA launches operation against al Shabaab in Lower Shabelle region; Sudanese defense minister appeals to youth protesters

Yemen Security Brief

UN monitoring team leader Patrick Cammaert ended talks on February 3 between representatives from the al Houthi movement and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government that focused on the al Hudaydah ceasefire and withdrawal of forces from al Hudaydah city. Cammaert aked all forces to withdraw from the ports, places of humanitarian interest, and at least 15 kilometers from their current positions, but the al Houthi movement rejected the request. These were Cammaert’s final negotiations in his position. His replacement, Michael Lollesgaard, arrived in Sana’a city on February 5.[1]

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths stated that prisoner exchange lists will be finalized at the end of three days of talks between the Hadi government and al Houthi movement in Amman, Jordan. Talks began on February 5.[2]

The Islamic State in Yemen claimed to attack al Houthi forces in Qayfa area in northwestern al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on February 4. The Islamic State claimed to kill two al Houthi fighters in the attack and seized al Houthi weapons.[3]

Saudi Arabia and the UAE transferred U.S.-made weapons to groups linked to al Qaeda and Salafi militias, according to a CNN investigation. The Pentagon stated that there is an ongoing investigation into whether Saudi Arabia and the UAE violated the terms of their arms deal with the U.S. The report alleges that Saudi-led coalition used the weapons as a form of currency to secure alliances with Yemeni tribes and militias and to bolster local fighting forces it favored. The report traced serial numbers of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles (MRAPs) captured by al Houthi forces to a U.S. arms sale to the UAE in 2014. Iranian intelligence personnel analyzed U.S.-produced MRAP’s captured by al Houthi forces, according to an al Houthi security official.[4]

Al Houthi militants fired three Zilzal 1 ballistic missiles at Saudi troops in al Sudais area in Najran region in southern Saudi Arabia on February 4, according to an al Houthi news agency.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants killed two senior Somali National Army (SNA) officers with an improvised explosive device (IED) near Dhanaane town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on February 5. The militants killed the deputy commander of the SNA 12th Battalion and the finance officer of the SNA 1st battalion. Al Shabaab militants killed the previous commander and deputy commander of the 12th battalion in the same location on December 6.[6]

The SNA conducted an operation against al Shabaab near Farsooley village, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on February 4. The SNA reported that it killed 40 militants.[7]

Sudanese Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf appealed to youth protesters on February 4, stating that they had “reasonable ambition.” Auf stated that the ongoing nationwide protests demonstrate the need to “reshape political entities, parties and armed movements of the political scene.” The minister also noted that the protests illustrate a generational divide in Sudan. Thousands of Sudanese have protested against the regime of President Omar al Bashir since December 2018.[8]

Visit our YemenSomalia, and Sudan Story Streams

[1] “Houthis fail Cammaert’s plan to install al Hudaydah truce,” Hadramawt net, February 4, 2019,; and “New head of UN observer mission lands in Yemen,” Daily Mail, February 5, 2019,

[2] OSEGY, Twitter, February 5, 2019,; Suleiman al Khalidi, “U.N. envoy says Yemen prisoner swap would help peace process,” Reuters,  February 5, 2019,

[3] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, February 4, 2019,

[4] Nima Elbagir, Salma Abdelaziz, Mohamed Abo El Gheit, and Laura Smith-Spark, “Sold to an ally, lost to an enemy,” CNN, February 5, 2019

[5] “Three zilzal 1 rockets traumatized the mercenaries in Najran,” 26 September Net, February 4, 2019,

[6] “Somalia’s al Shabaab says 2 colonels killed in explosion near Mogadishu,” Mareeg, February 5, 2019,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, February 5, 2019,

[7] “Somali security forces kill 40 militants in southern region,” Daily Nation, February 5, 2019,

[8] “Sudan Minister appeals to young as protests near 7th week,” Voice Of America, February 4, 2019,

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