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: Saudi Arabia calls emergency security summits in Mecca; Saudi air defenses intercept two ballistic missiles in Mecca region; STC announces operation targeting Hadi government-aligned forces in Hadramawt

Horn of Africa: Suspected US drone strikes kill 20 al Shabaab militants in Middle Jubba region; al Shabaab commander defects in Kismayo; al Shabaab militants detonate car bomb in Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants detonate IED near Baidoa

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi Arabia called for two emergency summits in Mecca to discuss escalating tensions with Iran and recent al Houthi attacks against Saudi interests on May 19. King Salman invited member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Arab League to attend the summits, which are scheduled for May 30. The UAE and Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government will send representatives.[1]

Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted two ballistic missiles near Jeddah and al Taif cities in Mecca region in western Saudi Arabia on May 20. The al Houthi movement denied launching the missiles, which Saudi media claimed were directed at Mecca. Al Houthi movement spokesman Yahya Sarea previously announced on May 19 that al Houthi forces were beginning operations against 300 military targets in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen.[2]

President of the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) Aydarus al Zubaidi announced an operation to “liberate” Wadi Hadramawt in Hadramawt governorate in eastern Yemen on May 19. The STC, an Emirati-backed southern secessionist group, seeks to expel Hadi government-aligned forces in Wadi Hadramawt. Zubaidi also announced the creation of a unified operations room for all southern security forces.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Suspected U.S. drone strikes killed 20 al Shabaab militants in Buale and Jilib towns in Middle Jubba region in southern Somalia on May 18. United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) has not confirmed the strikes.[4]

Al Shabaab commander Sidow Abdi Gedi defected to Jubbaland state authorities in Kismayo, a port city in southwestern Somalia and the Jubbaland capital, on May 19. Gedi fought for al Shabaab for seven years.[5]

Al Shabaab militants detonated a car bomb in the Hamar Weyne district of the Somali capital Mogadishu on May 19. The attack did not kill anyone. Suspected al Shabaab gunmen also killed a Mogadishu city employee in Mogadishu’s Karan district on May 18.[6]

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting South West State security forces in Berdale district near the South West State capital Baidoa on May 18. The attack killed two soldiers and wounded multiple others.[7]

Visit our Yemen and Somalia story streams.

[1] “Saudi Arabia calls urgent summit with Gulf and Arab League leaders,” France 24, May 19, 2019,; and “Yemen welcomes King Salman’s call to hold an extraordinary summit in Makkah,” Emirates News Agency, May 20, 2019,

[2] “Saudi Arabia: We have intercepted two Houthi missiles… and the Movement denies launching them,” al Bawaba, May 20, 2019,; “Saudi intercepts 2 ballistic missiles from Yemen,” Anadolu Agency, May 19, 2019,; “Yemen’s Houthi group says will target UAE, Saudi vital military facilities,” Reuters, May 19, 2019,; and “The Saudi oil pipeline is the first of 300 of a bank of targets,” al Jazeera, May 19, 2019,الحوثي-أهداف-السعودية-الإمارات-منشآت-نفطية-حيوية

[3] “An Emirati-backed southern council establishes combat axes to expel Yemeni government forces,” al Jazeera, May 19, 2019,اليمن-المجلس-الانتقالي-الجنوبي-الإمارات-القوات-التابعة-الحكومة-اليمنية-حضرموت.

[4] “UPDATE: 20 Al Shabaab killed by strike in Somalia,” Mareeg, May 18, 2019,

[5] “Senior Al-Shabab commander surrenders in Somalia,” Garowe, May 20, 2019,; and “Senior al-Shabab leader surrenders to Somali government,” Hiraan, May 19, 2019,

[6] “Somalia: Al Shabaab claims car bomb in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, May 19, 2019,; “No casualties as Car Bomb hits Somali capital,” Radio Shabelle, May 20, 2019,; and “Gunmen kill an employee with Mogadishu’s local government,” Radio Shabelle, May 18, 2019,

[7] “Two soldiers killed, others injured in IED attack in Bay region,” Goobjoog, May 18, 2019,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Jun '19
May '19
Apr '19