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 conclude negotiations in Amman without agreement; Saudi-led coalition shoots down UAVs in al Mahrah; Hadi government-aligned forces claim to advance in Dhaleh governorate

Horn of Africa: UN investigators find al Shabaab producing more home-made explosives; al Shabaab raids Jubbaland Security Forces base near Kenyan border; SFG President announces he will not seek term extension

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government concluded a round of UN-sponsored negotiations in Amman, Jordan without agreeing on further steps to demilitarize three Yemeni Red Sea ports on May 16. Representatives of both parties convened on May 14 to discuss payment of public-sector wages and the distribution of revenues from the al Hudaydah, Ras Issa, and Salif ports in al Hudaydah governorate. Al Houthi forces completed unilateral withdrawals from the ports on May 14 as part of the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement.[1]

Saudi-led coalition forces shot down two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) near the al Mahrah airport in al Mahrah governorate in eastern Yemen on May 17. The Saudi-led coalition has a headquarters at the airport.[2]

Hadi government-aligned forces claimed to secure Qatabah town and surrounding areas in northern Dhaleh governorate in central Yemen on May 17. Emirati-backed al Hizam Security forces separately clashed with al Houthi forces near Maris in northeastern Qatabah district in northern Dhaleh governorate on May 17.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

UN investigators have determined that al Shabaab increasingly uses home-made explosives rather than military-grade explosives. Investigators linked the increase in home-made explosives to an uptick in major attacks in Mogadishu since 2018.[4]

Al Shabaab militants raided a Jubbaland Security Forces base in Dif village near the Kenyan border in Somalia’s Lower Jubba region on May 17. Jubbaland forces repulsed the attack.[5]

Somali Federal Government President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo denied rumors that he would seek to extend his term beyond the federally mandated four years during a speech in the Somali capital Mogadishu on May 15. Farmajo also replaced his Chief of Staff on May 15 for the fourth time since he took office in 2017.[6]

[1] “Griffith describes the Amman meetings positively and the government accuses him and the Houthis of failing,” Barakish, May 17, 2019,; “Al Amrani: the UN envoy is behind the failure of the Amman meetings,” al Yaman al Araby, May 17, 2019,; and Margaret Besheer, “UN confirms Yemen’s Houthi rebels redeploy away from critical port,” Voice of America, May 16, 2019,

[2] “Anti-aircraft attack an unmanned aircraft over a headquarters of the Arab Coalition forces in al Mahra,” Aden Gd, May 17, 2019,; and “Coalition defenses fell two aircraft at al Mahra airport,” Huna Aden, May 17, 2019,

[3] “Southern forces completely cleansed Qatabah and control al Fakhir amid a complete collapse of al Houthi militias,” Aden Lng, May 17, 2019,; and “The Army controls new areas in Dhaleh, full details,” al Yaman al Araby, May 17, 2019,

[4] “U.N. says Somali militants using home-made explosives to step up attacks,” Reuters, May 17, 2019,

[5] “Somali militants raid on military base near border town,” Mareeg, May 17, 2019,

[6] “Somalia: President denies he’s seeking term extension, replaces chief of staff,” Garowe Online, May 16, 2019,

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