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 movement agree on future steps for prisoner exchange; Islamic State in Yemen attacks AQAP militants; al Houthi chairman claims pro-Hadi forces attacked UN monitoring team

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab ambushes Ethiopian convoy in Bay region; Kenyan police arrest nine suspects in Nairobi hotel attack

Yemen Security Brief

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and the al Houthi movement concluded two days of talks over the recent prisoner exchange deal in Amman, Jordan on January 17. The parties exchanged lists of prisoners and provided responses to the lists. The parties also agreed on a timeline for future steps for the prisoner exchange.[1]

Islamic State in Yemen militants claimed to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Wald Rabia district, northwestern al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on January 17. The Islamic State in Yemen has conducted two attacks targeting AQAP in 2019 while AQAP has conducted eight against the Islamic State.[2]

The al Houthi Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al Houthi, claimed that pro-Hadi government forces were responsible for the attack on UN monitoring team leader Patrick Cammaert’s convoy in al Hudaydah city on January 17. Al Houthi claimed that the UN is not releasing information on the identities of the attackers in order to cover up Saudi culpability. Anti-al Houthi news sources reported al Houthi forces were responsible for the attack.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants ambushed an Ethiopian convoy near Burhakaba town, Bay region, southern Somalia on January 18. The militants destroyed two trucks with IEDs. Al Shabaab claimed to kill 57 troops in the ambush and seize their bodies. Al Shabaab also claimed to fire mortars on an Ethiopian base near Burhakaba where Ethiopian soldiers were preparing to support the ambushed troops. The number of casualties and the attack on the base have not been confirmed.[4]

Kenyan police arrested nine people for suspected involvement in the January 15 attack on a hotel complex in Nairobi. The police have arrested 11 people in total linked to the attack. Five suspects appeared in court in Nairobi on January 18.[5]


[1] “The supervisory follow up committee on implementing the prisoner exchange agreement concluded its meetings in Amman,” OSESGY, January 17, 2019,

[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter,

[3] “Yemen UN monitors biased toward Saudi Arabia Yemen’s Houthis,” Press TV, January 18, 2019,, and Mohammed Ali al Houthi, Twitter,

[4] “After deadly attack on Kenyan capital, al Shabaab claims killing 57 Ethiopian troops in ambush in Somalia,” Site Intelligence Group, January 18, 2019, English translation available by subscription at; and “Al-Shabaab Ambushes Ethiopian Troops’ Convoy in Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, January 18, 2019,

[5] “Five suspects in court over Nairobi hotel attack,” Agence France Presse, January 18, 2019,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, January 18, 2019,; and “Kenyan police arrested suspects in deadly hotel attack,” Associated Press, January 17, 2019,

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