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: UN envoy meets with al Houthi representatives in Sana’a city; Saudi-led coalition conducts airdrop to support tribal uprising in Hajjah governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab bombs hotel complex in Mogadishu; al Shabaab raids AMISOM base in Lower Shabelle region; Burundi continues drawdown of AMISOM forces

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths met with representatives from the al Houthi movement in Yemen’s capital Sana’a on February 26 and 27 to discuss the first phase of the al Houthi withdrawal from ports in al Hudaydah governorate on Yemen’s western coast. Al Houthi forces are set to undertake a phased withdrawal from multiple ports in al Hudaydah governorate as part of the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement. The al Houthi movement presented new conditions for the withdrawals during the meetings with Griffiths, including the reopening of Sana’a’s airport and the payment of government salaries in al Houthi-controlled areas. Griffiths separately congratulated President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government for paying the salaries of civil servants in al Hudaydah on February 27.[1]

The Saudi led-coalition conducted its fourth airdrop of supplies and weapons to the Hajour tribe in Kushar district in Hajjah governorate in northwestern Yemen on February 28. The Hajour began an uprising against the al Houthi movement on January 24, 2019.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device at a hotel and business complex on the busy Makka al Mukarama road in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, on February 28. Al Shabaab claimed the attack, which killed at least five people and injured more than 20.[3]  

Al Shabaab militants raided an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base near Qoryoley town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on February 27. The militants exchanged fire with heavy weapons and small arms and injured at least three Somali National Army (SNA) troops.[4]

Burundi continued the withdrawal of 1,000 of its AMISOM troops from Somalia on February 28. Two hundred Burundian troops withdrew from the Jaalle Siyaad military academy in the Somali capital Mogadishu on February 21. AMISOM requested in December 2018 that Burundi withdraw 1,000 of its 5,400 troops in Somalia by February 28, 2019. The Burundian government has opposed the withdrawals and threatened to withdraw the entirety of its AMISOM contingent earlier in February in response.[5]

[1] “Today’s press manipulation: new conditions for the Houthis in the meeting with Griffiths,” Hadramawt Net, February 28, 2019,; and OSE Yemen, Twitter, February 27, 2019,

[2] “The fourth airdrop in support of the tribes of Hajour,” 7adramout, February 28, 2019,

[3] “Huge blast rocks Somali capital, killing at least five: police,” Reuters, February 28, 2019,; “Shabaab claims credit for suicide raid at hotel in downtown Mogadishu,” SITE Intelligence Group, English translation available by subscription at; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, February 28, 2019,

[4] “Al-Shabaab Raids AU Military Base In Southern Somalia; Casualties Reported,” Radio Shabelle, February 28, 2019,

[5] “AMISOM troops started vacating military base in Mogadishu,” Allgalgaduud, February 28, 2019,; “1,000 African Union troops to begin withdrawal from Somalia,” Foreign Brief, February 28, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 22, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 22, 2019,; Fred Oluoch, “Burundi in threat to quit Somalia mission,” The East African, February 25, 2019,

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