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: Al Houthi movement begins withdrawals from al Hudaydah ports; AQAP claims to kill Islamic State militant in al Bayda; unidentified militants detonate IEDs in Taiz city

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab kills Turkish engineer in Mogadishu; al Shabaab assassinates local security force commander in Galkayo; al Shabaab’s intelligence chief releases video; Islamic State in Somalia detonates IED targeting judge in Boosaaso

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces began unilaterally withdrawing from the al Hudaydah, Ras Issa, and Salif ports in western Yemen on May 11. The United Nations stated that the al Houthi movement had agreed to complete the initial redeployments by May 14 as part of the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Minister of Information Muammar al Eryani claimed that the redeployments were a deception and accused the al Houthi movement of handing control of the ports to al Houthi-backed security forces. Representatives from the al Houthi movement and Hadi government also met for UN-brokered talks in Amman, Jordan to discuss humanitarian issues and the division of revenue from the ports on May 13.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to kill an Islamic State in Yemen militant in al ‘Awja in the Qayfa area of al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on May 10. AQAP claimed that its snipers had killed multiple Islamic State militants in the region in recent days. AQAP also denied the Islamic State’s recent claims that AQAP is collaborating with the Yemeni Army.[2]

Unidentified militants detonated two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Taiz city in western Yemen on May 13. The explosions wounded at least eight people, including an officer of the Special Security Forces.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants killed a Turkish engineer with a car bomb near the K-4 Junction in the Somali capital Mogadishu on May 12. Al Shabaab has previously targeted Turkish nationals in Mogadishu and condemned Turkey for supporting the Somali Federal Government.[4]

Al Shabaab militants killed a commander of the joint Puntland-Galmudug security force in Galkayo city in north-central Somalia on May 11. Galkayo is divided between Puntland and Galmudug states.[5]

Al Shabaab released a video featuring a Somali-language speech by the group’s intelligence chief, Abdirahman Mohamed Warsame AKA Mahad Karate, on May 12. Karate discussed the necessity of avoiding civilian casualties when conducting suicide operations. Karate also warned Somali civilians to avoid sites frequented by enemy forces.[6]

The Islamic State in Somalia detonated an IED targeting a senior judge outside the courthouse in Boosaaso, a port city and Puntland’s commercial capital, on May 10. The attack wounded at least 10 people but did not harm the judge.[7]

[1] “Note to Correspondents: Statement from UN Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement,” UNMHA, May 10, 2019,; Muammar al Eryani, Twitter, May 11, 2019,; and Mohamed Ghobari and Aziz El Yaakoubi, “Yemen warring parties hold fresh talks as Houthis withdraw from Hodeidah,” Reuters, May 13, 2019,

[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, May 9, 2019,; Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, May 13, 2019,; and “AQAP claims sniping IS fighters and denies cooperating with Yemeni Army, memorializes slain,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 13, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[3] “Taiz… casualties in the explosion of the second explosive device in Bi’r Pasha hours after the explosion of Jamal Street,” Yafa’a News, May 13, 2019,

[4] “Car bomb kills Turkish engineer in Somalia,” Garowe, May 13, 2019,

[5] “Al-Shabab Claims Responsibility for Targeted Blast,” VOA News, May 12, 2019,

[6] "Shabaab intelligence official cautions fighters against harming civilians, likewise urges people avoid enemy sites,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 12, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[7] “Somalia: Bomb blast outside Bosaso courthouse injures 10,” Garowe, May 11, 2019,

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