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: U.S. House of Representatives to prioritize voting on War Powers Resolution on Yemen; UN envoy arrives in al Hudaydah city; AQAP detonates IED and raises flags in Shibam city in Hadramawt governorate; AQAP publishes fourth video in series

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab detonates VBIED in downtown Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacks Puntland security forces' barracks near Boosaaso; suspected al Shabaab militants attack checkpoint near Jowhar, the capital of Middle Shabelle region; Somali Prime Minister travels to Nairobi, Kenya to meet with Kenyan president; Somaliland government calls for greater scrutiny on arms sales to Somali Federal Government

Yemen Security Brief

U.S. Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) stated on January 28 that the House of Representatives will prioritize a vote on enacting the War Powers Resolution on Yemen. The Senate voted in favor of enacting the War Powers Resolution in December 2018. The U.S. Department of Defense has stated previously that the War Powers Resolution does not apply to the Yemen conflict because U.S. forces are not engaged in combat. Members of the House blocked the previous Congress from voting on the resolution in December.[1]

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths and UN monitoring team leader Patrick Cammaert arrived in al Hudaydah city on Yemen's western coast to tour al Hudaydah Port and meet with al Houthi military leaders on January 29. Griffiths and Cammaert met with al Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi in Sana’a to discuss the al Hudaydah ceasefire and redeployments from the city the day before.[2]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) and raised flags in Shibam city in central Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen on January 27. Yemeni security forces from the First Military District clashed with the AQAP militants in Shibam, who then withdrew from the area.[3]

AQAP published a fourth video in its series, “God Testifies That They Are Liars,” on January 26, detailing the graphic deaths of several Yemenis from armed clashes.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Bondere district in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, on January 29. The explosion killed two civilians and injured five others. Al Shabaab claimed to kill seven Somali government officials in the attack, but this has not been confirmed.[5]

Al Shabaab militants attacked Puntland security forces' barracks with a grenade near Boosaaso, a port city in Puntland in northern Somalia, on January 28. Security forces detained several suspects in connection with attack.[6]

Suspected al Shabaab militants attacked a security checkpoint with a grenade near Jowhar, the capital of Middle Shabelle region, in central Somalia on January 28. The number of casualties is unknown.[7]

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire traveled to Kenya for a meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on January 29. The leaders discussed strengthening bilateral ties and their ongoing counterterrorism partnership following al Shabaab’s assault on a hotel complex in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, on January 15.[8]

The breakaway Somaliland government called for greater scrutiny on the sale and donation of military equipment to the Somali Federal Government (SFG) in a letter to the United Nations Security Council on January 24. This statement follows Kenyan police reports that the al Shabaab militants who attacked the Nairobi hotel complex used guns that were originally purchased by the SFG. A UN embargo on arms sales to Somalia has existed since 1992.[9]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, and Kenya storystreams.


[1] Andrew Desiderio and John Bresnahan, “House Democrats to challenge Trump again on Yemen,” Politico, January 29, 2019,

[2] “UN envoy arrives in al Hudaydah for the second time since fighting broke out in the city,” Aden Gad, January 29, 2019,; “Griffiths in al Hudaydah on his first visit since the signing of the Stockholm Agreement,” Aden Lng, January 29, 2019,; and Mohamed Abdulsalam, Facebook, January 28, 2019,

[3] Yemen Observer, Twitter, January 28, 2019,; “One soldier killed and 3 injured in violent clashes in Shibam Hadramawt,” Aden Lang, January 27, 2919,; and “Suspected Bomb in Plastic Bag in Shibam,” 7adramout, January 27, 2019,

[4] “And God Testifies That They Are Liars,” Jihadology, January 26, 2019,

[5]“Shabaab claims car bombing in Mogadishu, reports 7 casualties,” Site Intelligence Group, January 29, 2019,  English translation available by subscription at; “Two dead, five wounded in car bomb blast in Mogadishu,” Radio Shabelle, January 29, 2019,; “Somalia: Two killed in suicide car bomb in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, January 29, 2019,

[6] “Shabaab shows war spoils captured in two operations, claims 16 casualties among Djiboutian forces,” Site Intelligence Group,  English translation available by subscription at; “Two grenade attacks reported in HirShabelle and Puntland states,” Radio Shabelle, January 29, 2019

[7] “Two grenade attacks reported in HirShabelle and Puntland states,” Radio Shabelle, January 29, 2019

[8] “Somali PM visits Kenya after Nairobi hotel attack Somalia,” Garowe, January 29, 2019,

[9] “UN asked to scrutinize sale, donation of military equipment to Somalia,” Radio Kulmiye, January 28, 2019,

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