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: Emirati-backed Yemeni forces resume offensive on outskirts of al Hudaydah city; Saudi Arabia and Kuwait lobby against UK’s UN resolution on Yemen; Hadi government deputy foreign minister for political affairs meets with Chinese ambassador; al Houthi forces fire ballistic missile at Hadi government forces in Nihm district, Sana’a governorate

Horn of Africa: Likely al Shabaab IED targets Somali MP in Mogadishu; AFRICOM airstrikes kill 37 al Shabaab militants in central Somalia; Kenyan security forces kill four al Shabaab operatives near Boni forest; SNA kills 13 al Shabaab militants in Marka town, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab claims attack in Boosaaso, Puntland

Yemen Security Brief

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces resumed an offensive on the outskirts of al Hudaydah city, western Yemen, on November 18. The Southern Giants Brigades, under the command of General Commander of the West Coast Front Abu Zaraa al Mahrami, attempted to seize al Saleh town on the eastern outskirts of al Hudaydah city on November 18 and 19. Giants Brigades deployed additional reinforcements in preparation for the offensive on November 16.[1]

Saudi Arabia, backed by Kuwait, is lobbying against a new UK proposed UN resolution on Yemen. The UK submitted the new draft resolution on November 20 to the UN. Kuwaiti Ambassador to the UN Mansour al Atibi said on November 20 that Kuwait will propose amendments to the resolution. Al Atibi criticized the draft resolution and asserted that it does not include language from UN Security Council Resolution 2201, which requires al Houthi forces to withdraw from seized institutions. Al Houthi Chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee Mohammed Ali al Houthi criticized the draft resolution as biased in favor of the Saudi-led coalition.[2]

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Mansour Baggash, met with Chinese Ambassador to Yemen Kang Yong in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on November 20. Baggash and Yong discussed the crisis in Yemen and the Hadi government’s participation in planned UN-led consultations in Sweden. Yong reiterated China’s support to the Hadi government.[3]

Al Houthi forces fired a Badr 1P ballistic missile at Hadi government forces in Nihm district, northeast of Sana’a city according to al Houthi-run media on November 20.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A likely al Shabaab improvised explosive device (IED) detonated at Makka al Mukarama road in Mogadishu on November 20. The IED targeted the vehicle of Somali parliamentarian Dahir Amin Jesow. Jesow was not in the vehicle when the explosion occurred. The attack injured two people.[5]

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted two airstrikes targeting al Shabaab vehicles in multiple locations on November 19. One strike occurred in Galgudud region, central Somalia and the second strike occurred near Adalet village, Harardhere, central Somalia. AFRICOM assessed the strikes killed 37 militants.[6]

Officers from the Rapid Border Patrol Unit (RBPU) in Kenya killed four al Shabaab operatives and recovered six AK-47 rifles in Ijara, on the border of Lamu and Garissa counties, on November 19. The RBPU officers are part of Operation Linda Boni, which aims to remove al Shabaab militants from the Boni forest.[7]

The Somali National Army (SNA) killed 13 al Shabaab militants in Marka town, Lower Shabelle, southern Somalia on November 20.[8]

Al Shabaab claimed an attack on a military vehicle near Jaljla, Boosaaso, Puntland on November 20. The attack killed three Puntland soldiers.[9]

[1] “ Yemen: fighting returns to Hodeidah despite UN ceasefire calls,” Guardian News, November 20, 2018,; and Twitter, November 20, 2018,

[2] “Time running out for war-torn Yemen as Saudis delay peace process,” CBS News, November 20, 2018; and “Kuwait reveals the most dangerous aspect of the UN resolution in favor of al Houthi,” Al Mashhad News, November 20, 2018

[3] “Under-secretary of state meets Chinese ambassador to our country,” Saba News, November 20, 2018,

[4] “The Badr 1P rocket targets groups of invaders and mercenaries in Nihm,” Saba News, November 20, 2018,

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 20, 2018,

[6] AFRICOM, Twitter, November 20, 2018,

[7] “Kenya: Four Al-Shabaab Militants Killed in Linda Boni Operation,” All Africa, November 20, 2018,

[8] Live from Mogadishu, Twitter, November 20, 2018,

[9] Somalia Live Update, Twitter, November 20, 2018,; TRAC terrorism, Twitter, November 20, 2018,

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