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 and STC representatives meet in Riyadh to sign power-sharing deal; al Houthi militants destroy bridge on road connecting Sana’a and Aden; al Houthi militants dig defensive trenches in al Hudaydah

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab Emir calls for attacks on US interests; suspected US drone strike targets al Shabaab in Mudug region; Islamic State’s Central Africa Province claims attack on Congolese soldiers in eastern DRC; Salafi-jihadi militants attack civilians in northern Mozambique

Yemen Security Brief

Representatives from President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) convened on November 4 in Riyadh to sign a power-sharing deal, which will be overseen by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The agreement stipulates equal representation between northern and southern Yemenis in the government, places STC-aligned security forces under the government’s defense and interior ministries, and ends the standoff over control of the de facto capital, Aden. STC-aligned forces seized Aden in August and have since clashed with Hadi government-aligned forces in multiple locations in southern Yemen.[1]

The al Houthi movement bombed a bridge in Dhaleh governorate in southern Yemen on November 3 along a road connecting the al Houthi controlled-capital, Sana’a, and Aden. Al Houthi militants previously attempted to destroy a bridge in Zayla village in Dhaleh government a week ago in order to block Hadi government-aligned forces’ advances into the area.[2]

Al Houthi militants have started digging defensive trenches in al Hudaydah port city, according to Hadi government-aligned forces. Pro-Hadi government media have recently accused the al Houthi movement of violating the 2018 UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement, which calls for the demilitarization of parts of al Hudaydah governorate. The UN established checkpoints in al Hudaydah on October 19 in an effort to uphold the agreement.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab’s al Kata’ib Media Foundation released a video on November 5 which featured al Shabaab’s Emir, Ahmad Umar AKA Abu Ubaidah, alongside militants involved in an attack on a US airbase in southern Somalia on September 30. Umar denounced US “atrocities” in the Muslim world and called for Muslims to prioritize attacking US interests globally. Al Shabaab made a similar statement on October 16 in which the group promised to continue targeting US and Western interests in Somalia.[4]

A suspected US drone strike targeted al Shabaab militants near Haradhere town in Mudug region in central Somalia on November 5. The Commander of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), General Stephen J. Townsend, separately visited Somalia on November 5 to meet with the Somali Federal Government President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.[5]

The Islamic State’s Central Africa Province claimed to kill multiple members of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and capture another soldier outside of Beni town in North Kivu province in the country’s east on November 3. The FARDC launched operations against militias in the region on October 31 after nearly doubling troop deployments in the area.[6]

Salafi-jihadi militants ambushed a civilian truck near Mumu village in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique on November 2. Militants killed four civilians and injured several others. Salafi-jihadi militants separately ambushed a truck near Mbau village in the same province on October 31. The attack killed ten civilians.[7]

Visit our YemenSaudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Somalia storystreams.

[1] “Yemen power-sharing agreement to be signed in Riyadh,” The National, November 5, 2019,

[2] “al Houthi militias blow up vital bridge on road between Sana’a and Aden,” al Arabiya, November 4, 2019,

[3] “Yemen’s Houthi rebels jeopardize Hodeidah ceasefire by fortifying positions,” The National, November 4, 2019,

[4] “In Video Featuring Executors of Baledogle Airfield Raid, Shabaab Leader Calls To Target American Interests Worldwide,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 5, 2019, English translation available by subscription at; “Referencing Recent Attacks on Western ‘Crusaders,’ Shabaab Declares Operations Will Escalate Until Somalia ‘liberated’,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 16, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[5] Tuuryare, Abdirisak, “Somalia: Suspected US Strike Hits Al Shabaab,” November 5, 2019,; “U.S. Africa Command Commander Visits Somalia, Meets with Somali President,” US AFRICOM, November 5, 2019,

[6] “ISCAP Claims Taking POW, Inflicting Multiple Casualties in Congolese Army Ranks in Beni,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 4, 2019, English translation available by subscription at; Kelly, Fergus, “DR Congo army launches ‘large-scale operations’ against militias in Beni territory,” The Defense Post, October 31, 2019,

[7] “Terrorists Kill Four In Mozambique,” Channels TV, November 3, 2019,; “Ten killed in Mozambique jihadist attack,” Daily Nation, November 3, 2019,

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