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.

The Gulf of Aden Security Review will resume on Monday, November 29, 2021.

Yemen: STC reaches agreement with Saudi Arabia; Saudi airstrikes target Sana’a twice; Saudi forces dismantle al Houthi naval mines; leaked video shows possible IRGC and Lebanese Hezbollah advisors at Sana’a airport

Somalia: Ugandan police arrest Somali national with a detonator in Kampala; al Shabaab overruns base in southwestern Somalia; Somali security forces arrest al Shabaab militants smuggling explosive devices into Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

The Southern Transitional Council likely reached an agreement with Saudi Arabia to prioritize fighting the al Houthi movement.[i] The STC president met with the Saudi ambassador to Yemen in Riyadh on November 16.[ii] The agreement stipulates that STC-aligned forces will withdraw from Shoqra district in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen. STC-aligned forces deployed near Shoqra district to counter Islah influence on November 2.[iii]

Saudi forces conducted two sets of airstrikes on November 23 and 24. Saudi airstrikes targeted al Houthi missile sites near al Nihden and Dhahban neighborhoods in Sana’a on November 23.[iv] Saudi media claimed the November 24 strikes targeted drone factories in Thawra district, Sana’a.[v] Iranian media said the airstrikes targeted a plastics factory.[vi]

Saudi forces dismantled eleven al Houthi naval mines in the Red Sea between November 19 and November 24.[vii]

The Saudi-led coalition released a leaked video allegedly showing Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) or Lebanese Hezbollah advisors at Sana’a International Airport on November 22.[viii] The al Houthi Security and Intelligence Service began investigating the leak on November 24.[ix]

Somalia Security Brief

Ugandan police arrested a Somali national with a detonator in the Munyonyo area of Kampala, Uganda, on November 23.[x] Security forces discovered the device in the car of 25-year-old Abdul Kareem Mayowu. Muhammad Hassan, a 28-year-old Somali national, hired Mayowu to pick up his family from the Speke Resort Hotel. Police have also arrested close contacts of the pair, including at least two other Somali nationals.[xi] The Islamic State’s Central Africa Province has claimed multiple bombings in Kampala since early October.

Al Shabaab briefly seized a base used by federal and Southwest state forces about 15 miles south of Baidoa, the capital of Bay region in southwestern Somalia, on November 23.[xii] Heavily armed al Shabaab militants stormed the base for several hours and forced Somali soldiers to retreat.[xiii] Security forces returned and retook the base later the same day and claimed to kill 15 al Shabaab militants.[xiv]

Somali security forces arrested three suspected al Shabaab militants trying to smuggle improvised explosive devices into Mogadishu near Afgoi, about 17 miles from the capital, on November 23.[xv] Police claim to have been tracking the three suspects before the arrests.

[i] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “A new agreement between the legitimate government and the Southern Transitional Council…and the withdrawal of all forces from Abyan and Aden,” November 23, 2021,

[ii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The Transitional Council reveals the new agreement with Saudi Arabia,” November 16, 2021,

[iii] Al Masirah, “Failure of ‘Riyadh Agreement’, STC sends four military brigades to Abyan,” November 2, 2021,

[iv] Al Jazeera, “The coalition announces the implementation of airstrikes on targets in Sana’a,” November 23, 2021,; and Reuters, “Saudi-led alliance attacks sites in Yemen’s Sanaa,” November 23, 2021,

[v] Al Arabiya, “Arab coalition bombs drone sites in Yemen’s Sana’a: Report,” November 24, 2021,; and Reuters, “Saudi-led coalition bombs drone sites in Yemen’s Sana’a – state media,”

[vi] Al Alam, “4 Yemenis were killed and injured in a raid of the coalition of aggression on Sana’a,” November 24, 2021,

[vii] SMANews, “The Arab coalition destroys naval mines deployed by the Houthi militias in the Gulf waters,” November 24, 2021,

[viii] Muhammad al Dhabiyani, Twitter, November 22, 2021,

[ix] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “After a video clip of military actions was leaked, details of Houthi referral of Sana’a airport employees for investigation,” November 24, 2021,

[x] Garowe Online, “Uganda arrests Somali national with detonator in Kampala,” November 23, 2021,

[xi] Mohamed Adan, “Uganda arrests 4 Somalis linked to discovered detonator,” Somali Dispatch, November 23, 2021,

[xii] Abdirasak Tuuryare, “Somalia: Al-Shabab seizes military base after dawn attack,” Mareeg, November 23, 2021,

[xiii] Istar Cabdi Yuusuf, “Al-Shabaab announces takeover of Deynunay,” Caasimada, November 23, 2021,

[xiv] Goobjoog, “SNA reclaims base ‘overrun’ by Al-Shabaab in Bay region-military,” November 23, 2021,

[xv] Abdirasak Tuuryare, “Somali security forces arrest al Shabab suspects in operation,” Mareeg, November 23, 2021,

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