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 forces advance in Dhaleh; unknown militants detonate IED in Hadramawt; UN Special Envoy arrives in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Somali police seize explosives and VBIED during operations in Lower Shabelle; al Shabaab raids police station in Mandera; SFG President travels to Puntland for conference with Federal Member States

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces advanced against forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Qataba district in northern al Dhaleh governorate between May 1 and May 3. Al Houthi forces claimed to capture Qataba city on May 3, but Hadi government-aligned forces denied this and claimed to be fighting west and north of the city. The Saudi-led coalition conducted multiple airstrikes in the district in support of Hadi government-aligned forces.[1]

Unknown militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in al Anin village in the Wadi Hadramawt area of Hadramawt governorate in eastern Yemen on May 4. The explosion killed seven people and injured multiple others.[2]

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived in the Yemeni capital Sana’a to meet with al Houthi representatives on May 5 to discuss the withdrawal of al Houthi forces from al Hudaydah city in western Yemen. The United Nations Security Council will meet on May 15 to review progress on the al Hudaydah withdrawals, which the al Houthi movement and Hadi government agreed to during a UN-led conference in Stockholm in December 2018.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants raided a police station Mandera town on the Kenyan-Somali border in northeastern Kenya on May 6. The al Shabaab militants, who numbered over 30, wounded two police officers in the attack.[4]

Somali police raided an al Shabaab weapons cache in Marka town 90 kilometers south of the Somali capital Mogadishu on May 5. Police recovered 12 IEDs in the raid. Somali police also intercepted and defused a vehicle-borne IED (VBIED) in Elasha Biyaha, an area 15 km outside of Mogadishu, on May 5.[5]

Somali Federal Government (SFG) President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo traveled to Garowe, the capital of Puntland region in northern Somalia, for a conference between the leaders of Somalia’s Federal Member States and the SFG on May 6. The purpose of the conference is to end the rift between the SFG and Federal Member States, according to Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni. Somalia’s five Federal Member States announced a suspension of ties with the SFG in September 2018.[6]

[1] “Dhala… Large casualties in the ranks of the Houthis and aircraft launch raids,” Aden Lng, May 6, 2019,; “Special details of the field, al Houthi militias are broken in al Jamaymah and lower Naqil al Shim in Qa’atabah with heavy losses,” Yafa News Net, May 6, 2019,; and “What is the truth of the fall of ‘Qa’atabah’ in the grip of the ‘Houthis’.. Field sources reveal pictures of the battle,” al Mashhad al Yemeni, May 3, 2019,

[2] “Two dead and four injured by IED in Hadramawt,” Bawabatii, May 3, 2019,; “Number of victims of explosion in Wadi Hadamawt rises,” Yemen Window, May 3, 2019,; and “Bashni: Terrorist elements will be tracked and punished,” al Mawqea Post, May 3, 2019,

[3] “Newspaper reveals the secret of Griffith’s sudden visit to Sana’a,” Mareb Press, May 6, 2019,; and “Griffiths visits Sana’a in the holy month of Ramadan,” Aden al Hadath, May 6, 2019,

[4] “Kenyan police on high alert after Mandera attack,” Goobjoog, May 6, 2019,

[5] “Somali forces seize cache of explosives after operation,” Mareeg, May 5, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, May 5, 2019,

[6] “Puntland pulls out the red carpet for Somali President,” Garowe Online, May 6, 2019,

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