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 foreign minister meets with UK and U.S. ambassadors to discuss peace talks; UN special envoy meets with Hadi government officials in Riyadh; al Houthi forces launch ballistic missiles against Saudi troops in southern Saudi Arabia and western Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab clashes with SNA forces in Hiraan region, central Somalia; likely al Shabaab militants kill two school principals near Mogadishu; SFG to deploy peacekeepers to South Sudan; AU representative Madeira meets with Somali leaders in Southwest state; Ethiopian PM Abiy meets with opposition leaders in Addis Ababa

Yemen Security Brief:

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s foreign minister, Khalid al Yamani, met with UK Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron and U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tueller separately in Riyadh on November 27. Aron and al Yamani discussed UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths’ efforts to bring both parties to peace consultations in Sweden by the end of 2018.[1]

Martin Griffiths met President Hadi’s Vice President, Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, as well as Foreign Minister al Yamani in Riyadh to discuss peace talks on November 27.[2]

Al Houthi forces fired Zilzal 1 ballistic missiles at Saudi military bases in Asir and Jizan regions, southern Saudi Arabia on November 27. Al Houthi forces also fired a Zilzal 1 ballistic missile at anti-al Houthi forces in al Dhaleh governorate, southern Yemen on November 27.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants clashed with Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers outside Beledweyne, Hiraan region, central Somalia on November 27. SNA forces killed 65 al Shabaab fighters, according to Somali security officials.[4]

Likely al Shabaab militants killed two school principals near Mogadishu on November 25. Militants attacked a school in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu and a school in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region.[5] 

The Somali Federal Government (SFG) announced that it will deploy 99 peacekeepers to South Sudan. Three other countries from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan, will each send soldiers to South Sudan as part of a joint peace force. Djibouti will also send a smaller contingent of peacekeepers.[6]

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, arrived in Bay region, southern Somalia for talks with President Farmajo on November 27. Ambassador Madeira will also meet with the President of Southwest state and the state election commission to discuss political and security issues. Southwest state recently postponed its presidential elections until December 5 and approved former al Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow’s candidacy.[7]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with 81 members of opposition groups to discuss ways to reform the electoral process in Addis Ababa on November 27. Abiy appointed former opposition politician Birtukan Mideksa as the head of the national election commission on November 22.[8]  

[1] “Al-Yamani discusses with British ambassador efforts of UN envoy for peace,” Saba News, November 27, 2018,

[2] “UN envoy Martin Griffiths meets Yemeni officials in Riyadh,” APN News, November 27, 2018

[3] “Launch of zilzal 1 ballistic missile in Jizan and Asir,” Saba News, November 27, 2018,; and “Target of a rally of mercenaries by zilzal 1 ballistic missile in Dhaleh,” 26 Sep News, November 27, 2018

[4] “Somalia’s al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group on the outskirts of Beledweyne,” Radio Kulmiye, November 27, 2018,

[5] Mogadishu Update, Twitter, November 26, 2018,

[6] “Somalia: Government readies peacekeeping troops for South Sudan Mission,” Garowe, November 25, 2018,; and “IGAD military leaders decide to deploy over 1600 troops in South Sudan,” Sudan Tribune, November 23, 2018,

[7] “Ambassador Francisco Madeira speaks out about the election of South West leaders,” Radio Kulmiye, November 27, 2018,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review - November 26, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 26, 2018,

[8] George Obulutsa, “Ethiopia PM meets opposition parties, promises fair elections,” Reuters, November 27, 2018,; and “Ethiopia’s Birtukan Mideksa appointed election boss,” CNN, November 22, 2018,


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