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 vice president meets with UK Ambassador to Yemen in Riyadh; U.S. secretary of state and secretary of defense defend U.S. support for Saudi-led coalition; AQAP resumes production of al Masra newspaper; commercial operations at al Hudaydah port decline by 50% in November

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab IED kills Djiboutian soldier in Hiraan region, central Somalia; likely AFRICOM airstrike hits al Shabaab camp near Harardhere, north-central Somalia; al Shabaab militants release two herders near Somali-Kenya border; SNA troops kill three al Shabaab militants in Hiraan region, central Somalia; Mozambican police arrest 200 suspected Islamist militants in Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique

Yemen Security Brief

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s vice president, Mohammed Ali Mohsen, met with UK ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron in Riyadh on November 28. Aron reiterated Britain's support to UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffith’s efforts in bringing both parties to consultations in December. Aron and Mohsen also discussed journalists being held in al Houthi prisons.[1]

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo argued for continued U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen in the wake of “Capitol Hill caterwauling” in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on November 27. Pompeo, responding to proposed legislation on ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition, asserted that a yes vote on the bill would hurt U.S. regional interests and leave Iran in a stronger position in Yemen. Pompeo and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis briefed the U.S. Senate in a classified setting on U.S. policy in Saudi Arabia and Yemen on November 28. Pompeo and Mattis urged the U.S. Senate not to end support for the Saudi-led coalition in the briefing.[2]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) resumed production of its al Masra newspaper on November 28. The newspaper covered Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, developments in Libya and Palestine, recent actions by al Qaeda in Syria, and a statement by al Qaeda’s media chief Hussam Abdul Rauf. The newspaper also confirmed AQAP’s responsibility for the killing of the deputy commander of al Hizam Security Forces in Abyan on November 18 and vowed that al Hizam Security Forces will lose the fight in Abyan governorate.[3]

Commercial operations at al Hudaydah port have dropped by almost 50 percent over the past two weeks, according to the United Nations. Shipping companies are deterred by insecurity due to continued clashes between al Houthi forces and Emirati-backed Yemeni forces.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

An al Shabaab improvised explosive device (IED) detonated killing a Djiboutian soldier at Bulo Burde Airport, Hiraan region, central Somalia on November 27. Two al Shabaab militants died in a separate incident on November 27 when their IED prematurely exploded while they were attempting to plant it at Bulo Burde Airport.[5]

A suspected United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) airstrike hit an al Shabaab camp in Godirlei area, near Harardhere, Mudug region, central Somalia on November 27. The strike killed several militants, including senior officials. AFRICOM has not confirmed the airstrike. AFRICOM reported five airstrikes in Mudug region between November 19 and 21.[6]

Al Shabaab militants released two herders on November 28 after five days of negotiations between clans. The militants had abducted the herders from Konton in Wajir County, eastern Kenya after the herders refused to pay taxes.[7]

Somali National Army troops killed three al Shabaab militants and wounded several others in Oronto, Hiraan region, central Somalia on November 27.[8]

Mozambican police arrested more than 200 suspected militants in Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique. Suspected Ahlu Sunnah Wa Jama militants killed at least 12 people in Cabo Delgado on November 25. The attack was the third in the province in November. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.[9]

[1] “Vice President Meets British Ambassador to Yemen,” Saba New, November 28, 2018,

[2] Michael R. Pompeo, “The U.S.-Saudi Partnership Is Vital,” U.S. Department of State, November 27, 2018,; David R. Sands, “Mike Pompeo warns Senate that Yemen vote could harm U.S. security, boost Iran,” The Washington Times, November 28, 2018,; and Mike Pompeo, “The U.S.-Saudi partnership is vital,” The Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2018,; Zachary Cohen, Phil Mattingly, and Jennifer Hansler, “Pompeo, Mattis defend Saudi ties amid Senate anger over Khashoggi murder,” CNN, November 28, 2018,

[3] AQAP releases al Masra newspaper, Telegram, November 28, 2018.

[4] “UN says operations at Yemen's lifeline Hodeidah port cut in half,” Al Jazeera, November 27, 2018,; and “UN: Shippers shun Hodeidah due to Yemen insecurity,” Middle East Monitor, November 27, 2018,; and “UN Sounds Alarm Over Falling Imports at Crucial Yemen Port,” The Jordan Times, November 27, 2018,

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 27, 2018,

[6] “Deadly strike hits Al Shabaab,” Mareeg, November 28, 2018,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review - November 26, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 26, 2018,

[7] “Al-Shabaab militants release 2 herders after 5 days in captivity,” Daily Nation, November 28, 2018,

[8] “Somali army kills 3 al-Shabab fighters in central region,” Hiiraan, November 28, 2018,; and “Somali National Army Kills 3 Al-Shabaab Terrorist Fighters in Oronto, Hiiraan Region,” Intelligence Briefs, November 28, 2018,

[9] “Police Hold 200 Suspects after Deadly Attack on Mozambique Village,” Eye Witness News, November 28, 2018,

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