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 ministers return to Aden; al Houthi movement threatens strikes against Saudi Arabia and UAE; al Houthis and UAE-backed forces clash in al Hudaydah

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims to seize town in Somaliland; al Shabaab official surrenders in Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab militants attack SNA troops in Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Prime Minister, Mu’ayyan Abdul Malik Sa’id, and several other ministers returned to Yemen’s de facto capital, Aden, on November 18. The ministers returned as part of a recent power-sharing agreement with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern separatist group that seized Aden in August. The ministers were scheduled to return to Aden on November 12 but claim that the STC delayed handing over government facilities in the city.[1]

Al Houthi movement spokesman Yahya Sare’a accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE on November 15 of carrying out more than a dozen airstrikes on al Houthi territory near the Saudi-Yemeni border. Sare’a threatened retaliation if the aggression continued.[2]

Al Houthi forces clashed with UAE-backed Giants Brigade forces in al Hudaydah port city in western Yemen on November 17. A Giants Brigade spokesman claimed that the al Houthis launched an attack with medium and heavy weapons in the Tahita area in southern al Hudaydah.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab claimed to seize Ja’n Marudi town in Sanaag region in northern Somalia on November 17 after Somaliland security forces withdrew. This is al Shabaab’s first claimed operation in Sanaag, a disputed region claimed by both the self-declared Republic of Somaliland and the semi-autonomous Puntland State.[4]

An al Shabaab militant surrendered to Jubbaland Security Forces in Lower Jubba region in southern Somalia on November 18. Security forces later released the militant, identified as Rayaan Sheikh Nuur AKA Abu Hamzah, who was reportedly al Shabaab’s head of transportation in the region.[5]

Al Shabaab militants separately attacked Somali National Army troops in El Salin area and Awdheegle town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on November 16.[6]

Visit our YemenSaudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Somalia storystreams.

[1] “Yemeni government back in Aden under deal with separatists”, AP, November 18, 2019

[2] “They accused the coalition of launching raids and escalation on the fronts… Houthis threaten to strike Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates”, al Jazeera, November 16, 2019,

[3] “Clashes erupt between Yemeni warring sides in Hudaydah”, Xinhua, November 18, 2019,

[4] “Shabaab Claims Capturing Town in its 1st Attack in Sanaag Region in the Somali North,” Site Intelligence Group, November 17, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[5] “Al-Shabaab member surrender to Jubaland forces,” Goobjoog, November 18, 2019,

[6] “Somali military engage in clashes with Al-Shabaab militants,” Radio Shabelle, November 16, 2019,

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