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 Special Envoy to Yemen meets with Saudi Deputy Defense Minister in Jeddah; al Houthi movement claims clashes with AQAP in al Bayda governorate; UN RCC Chairman Michael Lollesgaard hosts meeting on implementing the Stockholm Agreement; al Houthi and Hadi government-aligned forces clash in Dhaleh governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab seizes hotel in Kismayo for 14 hours; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED in Dhusamareb; IS in Somalia clashes with Puntland security forces in Boosaaso; ONLF opens political office in Addis Ababa

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths met with Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 15. The two leaders discussed Saudi Arabia’s role in the Yemeni peace process and the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) attacked al Houthi forces on the Qayfa front in al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on July 14. A pro-Houthi media outlet stated that al Houthi forces repelled the attack.[2]

Chairman of the UN’s Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) Michael Lollesgaard hosted a meeting with representatives from the al Houthi movement and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government on a ship on the Red Sea on July 15. The representatives discussed next steps for implementing the Stockholm agreement. This is the first meeting since February 2019 after which Houthi forces withdrew unilaterally from al Hudaydah. The Hadi government considered this move to be in violation of the UN-brokered agreement and has called for a monitored withdrawal of al Houthi forces.[3]

Hadi government-aligned forces clashed with al Houthi forces in al Dhaleh governorate in central Yemen on July 14. The official news agency for the Hadi government’s armed forces claimed that Hadi government-aligned forces killed 13 al Houthi fighters, including one leader. [4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants seized the Asasey hotel for 14 hours in Kismayo, the capital of Somalia’s southern Lower Jubba region, on July 12. Militants stormed the hotel after detonating a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) outside the entrance. The attack injured 56 people and killed 26 others, including two Americans and one Briton. The attack also killed Somali-Canadian citizen Hodan Nalayeh, a prominent local TV journalist. Jubbaland security forces cleared the hotel early on July 13 and have arrested several suspects in connection to the attack. The attack may have targeted a meeting between Jubbaland officials and local elders to discuss the upcoming regional elections scheduled for August 2019. Al Shabaab released a statement on July 14 threatening tribal leaders involved in selecting Jubbaland regional MPs. The group gave the leaders 45 days to recognize al Shabaab’s leadership.[5]

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an IED in a tea house in Dhusamareb, the capital of Somalia’s central Galmudug region, on July 14. The explosion killed five individuals, including a Galmudug parliamentarian.[6]

Islamic State (IS) in Somalia militants clashed with Puntland security forces outside the Safa hotel in Boosaaso, the capital of Somalia’s northern Puntland region, on July 12.[7]

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) opened its political office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, on July 14. The ONLF reached a peace agreement with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration in October 2018.[8]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia story streams.

[1]Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Twitter, July 15, 2019,; “Martin Griffiths holds talks with Prince Khalid bin Salman on Yemen,” Arab News, July 15, 2019,

[2] Al Masirah TV, Twitter, July 14, 2019,

[3] UN Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Twitter, July 14, 2019,; “Yemen rivals meet on board vessel for talks on Hodeidah pullback,” Al Jazeera, July 15, 2019,; “Yemen’s warring sides meet over flashpoint port city,” Washington Post, July 15, 2019,

[4] “13 Houthi militants incl. field leader killed in Al-Dhale,” July 14, 2019, Yemen National Military Web,

[5] Hussein Mohamed and Anemona Hartocollis, “At least 26 dead in Somalia Hotel Attack Claimed by Shabab,” New York Times, July 13, 2019,; “Two Americans among 26 killed in Al Shabaab hotel siege in Somalia,” Garowe, July 15, 2019,; “Jubbaland forces arrested suspects over recently hotel attack in Kismayo,” Mustaqbal Radio, July 15, 2019,; and “Shabaab Threatens Somali Tribal Elders for Facilitating Democracy, Gives 45 days to repent,” SITE Intelligence Group, English translation is available by subscription at

[6] “Bomb blast hits central Somali town,” Garowe, July 15, 2019,

[7] Caleb Weiss, “Kismayo hotel raided by Shabaab,” Long War Journal, July 12, 2019,

[8] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 14, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 22, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 22, 2018,

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