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: New UN monitoring team leader joins offshore talks; Islamic State in Yemen and AQAP claim attacks targeting each other

Horn of Africa: AFRICOM airstrike targets al Shabaab in Bay region; security guards strike at U.S. Embassy in Nairobi; Ethiopian security forces arrest 200 individuals in Benishangul Gumuz

Yemen Security 

New UN Monitoring Team Leader Michael Lollesgaard, who replaces Patrick Cammaert, joined talks between representatives from the al Houthi movement and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government aboard a UN ship off the coast of western Yemen on February 6. The talks on the ship began on February 3 and seek to reach an agreement on how to implement the al Hudaydah Agreement.[1]

The Islamic State in Yemen claimed on February 6 to have foiled an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) attack in Z’aj area in northwestern al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on the prior day. AQAP claimed to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an Islamic State vehicle in the upper Qayfa area in northwestern al Bayda governorate on February 6.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab militants near Leego town in southern Somalia’s Bay region on February 5. AFRICOM did not report the number of casualties from the strike but noted that no civilians were killed.[3]

Hundreds of security guards at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi began a strike following a labor dispute with their employer, the private Canadian security firm Aegis-KK Security, in late January. The embassy has reportedly brought in untrained guards to replace the forces.[4]

Ethiopian security forces arrested 200 individuals suspected to be undergoing military training near the Sudanese border in Benishangul Gumuz region, western Ethiopia on February 4. Security forces also seized weapons from the group.[5]

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[1] The meetings of the UN ship took place for the third day,” Hadramawt New, January 6, 2019,

[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, February 6, 2019,; and AQAP claims detonating an IED targeting the Islamic State in al Bayda governorate, Telegram, February 6, 2019.

[3] “Al Shabaab degraded by United States, Federal Government of Somalia,” U.S. Africa Command, February 6, 2019,

[4] Adam Zagorin and Neil Gordon, “Security breakdown at the U.S. Embassy echoes Benghazi,” The Daily Beast, February 6, 2019,

[5] “Ethiopia captures 200 taking military training,” New Business Ethiopia, February 2, 2019,

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