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 official criticizes UAE for supporting al Hizam Security Forces

Horn of Africa: AFRICOM conducts airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Puntland; al Shabaab militants attack SNA positions in Barire town; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting AMISOM convoy near Baledogle airbase; Jubbaland Security Forces clash with bodyguards of state presidential candidate

Yemen Security Brief:

The Information Attaché of the Yemeni Embassy in Riyadh, Aref Abuhatem, accused Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces on May 9 of attacking Presidential Protection Forces in Dhaleh governorate in south-central Yemen the day prior. Abuhatem criticized the UAE for its support of al Hizam Security Forces and also accused the UAE of transporting al Hizam troops to Socotra, an island off the Yemeni coast.[1]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

United States Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting an Islamic State camp in the Golis Mountains in the semi-autonomous Puntland region in northern Somalia on May 8. The strike killed 13 militants. AFRICOM conducted another airstrike against Islamic State militants in the Golis Mountains on May 9, killing four militants.[2]

Al Shabaab raided Somali National Army (SNA) positions in Barire town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on May 9. This is the second al Shabaab attack on Barire since SNA forces captured the town, which is located 60 kilometers southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on May 1.[3] 

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy between the towns of Afgoi and Wanlaweyn in Lower Shabelle region on May 10. The AMISOM convoy was traveling to Baledogle airbase, which houses U.S. troops, when it hit the IED.[4]

Jubbaland Security Forces clashed with the bodyguards of Jubbaland politician Abdinasir Serar in Kismayo, the capital of Jubbaland state in southern Somalia, on May 9. Serar is challenging Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe in an election scheduled for August 2019. Madobe blamed the Somali Federal Government for instigating the clashes.[5]

[1] Aref Abuhatem, Twitter, May 10, 2019,; and “Yemeni attache in Riyadh comments on confrontations of al Hizam and Protection forces and attacks a state in the coalition,” al Mashhad al Yemeni, May 10, 2019,

[2] “Somali Forces & U.S. Africa Command Conduct Airstrike Targeting ISIS-Somalia,” United State Africa Command, May 9, 2019,; and “ISIS-Somalia Degraded by Precision Airstrike,” United States Africa Command, May 10, 2019,

[3] Harun Maruf, Twitter, May 9, 2019,

[4] “African Union Troops Hit By Explosion in Somalia,” Mareeg, May 10, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, May 10, 2019,

[5]  “Somalia: Garowe talks on the brink of collapse,” Garowe Online, May 10, 2019,

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