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 announces release of al Houthi prisoners and eases restrictions on Yemeni airspace; al Houthi movement accuses UN aid workers of spying

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks SNA and Ugandan bases in Lower Shabelle region; UN Security Council calls for cooperation ahead of 2020 elections in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al Maliki announced the release of 200 al Houthi prisoners for humanitarian reasons on November 26. Maliki also stated that the Saudi-led coalition would ease restrictions on Yemeni airspace in order to allow medical evacuations out of the al Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital, Sana’a. Saudi Arabia has been holding informal talks with the al Houthis since September to discuss a partial cease-fire in Yemen.[1]

The al Houthi movement claimed to have detained multiple UN humanitarian workers accused of spying on November 25. Al Houthi official Abdel Mohsen Tawoos accused the UN of conspiring with foreign intelligence services to thwart the al Houthis. Tawoos was responding to recent UN accusations that the al Houthi movement had diverted humanitarian aid.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab claimed two attacks on military bases in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on November 24. Al Shabaab claimed to attack a Somali National Army base in El Salin town and a base manned by Ugandan forces serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Bulo Marer town.[3]

The UN Security Council released a statement on November 25 calling for cooperation between the Somali Federal Government (SFG) and Somalia’s Federal Member States to ensure fair and inclusive elections in 2020. The Security Council also welcomed recent progress in reforming the Somali security forces and called on the SFG to accelerate its assumption of security responsibilities from AMISOM.[4]

[1] “Arab Coalition says it has released 200 Houthi prisoners”, Al Arabiya, November 26, 2019,; and “Saudi-led coalition says it has freed 200 Houthi prisoners,” Reuters, November 26, 2019,

[2] “Yemen’s Rebels Say They Have Detained UN Workers”, AP, November 25, 2019,

[3] “Shabaab Claims Killing 9 ‘Turkish-trained’ Somali Troops, Bombings and Raid on the AMISOM Forces in Central and Southern Somalia,” SITE Intelligence Group, English translation available by subscription at

[4] “Security Council Press Statement on Somalia,” UN Assistance Mission in Somalia, November 25, 2019,

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