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-led coalition airstrikes target al Houthi airbase and missile sites at Sana’a International Airport; Saudi-led coalition intensifies airstrikes on al Hudaydah port city; al Houthi factions clash over drug shipment dispute in Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen; al Houthi forces fire Badr 1P ballistic missile at Najran, Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: SNA and AMISOM forces kill 12 al Shabaab militants in Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia; al Shabaab claims attack on Djiboutian AMISOM forces in Hiraan region, central Somalia; President Farmajo criticizes federal member states

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi-led coalition aircraft bombed Sana’a International Airport and adjoining air bases, which al Houthi forces were allegedly using to launch drone and ballistic missile attacks, on November 2. Saudi-led coalition spokesperson Turki al Maliki said that the airstrikes did not affect non-military aviation at the airport or international aid efforts.[1]

Saudi-led coalition aircraft intensified airstrikes on al Houthi forces in al Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen on November 1 and 2. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi gatherings around the Kilo 16 area, east of al Hudaydah city. Emirati-backed forces deployed 10,000 troops towards Aden port ahead of a new offensive on al Hudaydah port city on October 30.[2]

Fighting between al Houthi forces loyal to the group’s leader, Abdul Malik al Houthi, and forces loyal to al Houthi’s uncle, Mohammed Abdul Azim al Houthi, intensified and left at least 70 dead and wounded in recent days, according to Saudi media. Mohammed Abdul Azim’s forces stopped Abdul Malik’s forces from smuggling drugs in Majz district, Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen, prompting the clashes. The conflict between Abdul Malik and Mohammed Abdul Azim al Houthi reportedly began in 2004 due to disagreements over Abdul Malik’s relationship with Iran.[3]

Al Houthi forces claimed to fire a Badr 1P ballistic missile at a Saudi military camp in Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on November 2. Al Houthi Armed Forces official spokesperson Yehya Sarii unveiled a guided version of its Badr 1 ballistic missile, the Badr 1P, on October 27.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces killed 12 al Shabaab militants in Jamaame district, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on November 2. SNA and AMISOM troops launched a joint offensive against al Shabaab in the district in October.[5] 

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a likely improvised explosive device (IED) explosion targeting Djiboutian AMISOM forces in Bulo Burde, Hiraan region, central Somalia on November 2. The attack has not been confirmed.[6]

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo criticized Somalia’s federal member states for escalating political tensions in a public address in Juba, South Sudan on October 31. Farmajo claimed that the schism between the Somali Federal Government (SFG) and the federal member states is due to the member states’ lack of understanding of the federal system as well as the states’ interference in Somalia’s foreign policy. Five federal member states suspended ties with the SFG on September 8.[7] 


[1] “More than 20 airstrikes on Sana’a in conjunction with calls for a ceasefire,” Balqees, November 2, 2018,; and “Saudi-UAE alliance attack airbase, missile sites in Yemen capital,” Al Jazeera, November 2, 2018,

[2] “Developments on the liberation of al Hudaydah port city,” News Yemen, November 2, 2018,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review - October 30, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at The American Enterprise Institute, October 30, 2018,

[3] “Disagreements between Abdul al Malik al Houthi and his cousin escalates and leaves 70 dead and wounded,” Sabaq, November 1, 2018,

[4] “Badr 1P ballistic missile strike a military camp of invaders and mercenaries around Najran,” Al Masirah, November 2, 2018,

[5] “Al-Shabaab members killed in Lower Juba,” Radio Kulmiye, November 2, 2018,; and “Families displaced by fighting in Jamaame face food crisis in Kismayu,” Radio Ergu, November 1, 2018,

[6] “Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for Bulo Burde district bomber with AMISOM troops,” Radio Kulmiye, November 2, 2018,

[7] “Somalia: President lambasts Federal States over foreign policy,” Garowe, November 1, 2018,; and “Farmajo blames Regional Leaders for Lacking Principles of Freedom,” Radio Shabelle, November 1, 2018,; and “Somali Regional States Suspend Ties with Federal Government,” VOA, September 8, 2018,

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