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: ISIS Wilayat al Bayda attacks AQAP and al Houthi positions in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; Emirati-backed forces continue advances into al Hudaydah port city; Hadi government approves economic reforms; inter-al Houthi clashes escalate in Hajjah governorate, northern Yemen; Russian Deputy Foreign Minister discusses Yemen crisis with Iranian Foreign Ministry official in Tehran

Horn of Africa: Southwest state electoral committee resigns; al Shabaab detonates IEDs targeting AMISOM convoys near Mogadishu; AMISOM forces repel al Shabaab attack on market and military base in Mirtiqo, Somalia; UNHCR reports increased IDPs in Lower Shabelle region; Jubbaland administration announces focus on joint operations with SNA and AMISOM

Yemen Security Brief

ISIS Wilayat al Bayda claimed to attack an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) position in Dhi Kalib al Asfal village in al Qurayshiyah district, western al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on November 4. ISIS Wilayat al Bayda also claimed to attack an al Houthi motorcycle in al Jawf village, al Qurayshiyah district on November 4. ISIS claimed four attacks on AQAP in al Bayda in October 2018. AQAP has not claimed an attack on ISIS since the two groups clashed in al Bayda in July 2018.[1]

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces advanced north along the eastern outskirts of al Hudaydah city as well as along the coastal road in western al Hudaydah city on November 5. Emirati-backed Yemeni forces isolated al Hudaydah port city from the south, south west and east on November 6. Emirati-backed forces stated that they are five kilometers from the al Hudaydah port on November 6. The President of the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), Aydarus al Zubaidi, congratulated the leadership of the Emirati-backed Yemeni forces on their advances against the al Houthi forces in al Hudaydah governorate on November 6.[2]

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government approved measures to reform the economy and support the national currency on November 4. The measures include the formation of the Supreme Committee for the State Budget and Technical Committee, which will draft the framework of the state budget for 2019. The government also approved a decision on improving the collection of customs revenues and taxes from imported oil derivatives.[3]

Inter-al Houthi clashes escalated after some al Houthi forces withdrew from Haradh district, Hajjah governorate, northern Yemen on November 6, according to Saudi and Emirati news sources. Strikes by Saudi-led coalition aircraft ended the clashes.[4]

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin discussed Yemen and Syria with Iranian Foreign Ministry Senior Advisor Hossein Jaberi Ansari in Tehran, Iran on November 5.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

All 15 members of the Southwest state electoral committee resigned on November 5, prompting Southwest state elders to postpone the state presidential elections that had been scheduled for November 17. The resignations come after the committee cleared former deputy al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Robow to run in the upcoming state presidential elections. Local media accused Southwest President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden of forfeiting the race in order to let Robow win. The Somali Federal Government (SFG) ordered Southwest state to CorrectionA previous edition of the Security Review stated that the SFG had ordered Southwest state to postpone elections. The SFG actually ordered Southwest state to hold the elections as scheduled.hold the elections as scheduled and noted that the current administration's mandate expires in November.[6]

Al Shabaab militants planted improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeting African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoys in Mogadishu on November 6. The first explosion damaged an AMISOM vehicle and injured the driver in Heliwa district. The second IED exploded prematurely, causing no damage or injuries.[7]

AMISOM forces repelled an al Shabaab attack on an AMISOM forward operating base in Mirtiqo, Somalia on November 5. Eight al Shabaab militants disguised in Somali National Army (SNA) uniforms aboard two technical vehicles infiltrated the Mirtiqo market and opened fire on civilians as they approached the AMISOM base. SNA and AMISOM troops responded to the attack and repelled the militants from the area.[8]

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that more than 34,000 people have fled Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia since August 2018. Residents fled due to insecurity, especially in the villages along the Afgoi-Qoryoley corridor. Approximately 2.6 million people remain displaced in Somalia.[9]

The Jubbaland administration announced a renewed focus on joint operations with SNA and AMISOM forces against al Shabaab in Jubbaland on November 6. Jubbaland security officials emphasized that the elimination of al Shabaab remains the administration’s priority.[10]

[1] “IS division in Yemen claims attacks on AQAP and houthi fighters in the same district,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 5, 2018, English translation available by subscription at

[2] “Legitimate forces increase its offensive on al Houthi forces in al Hudaydah,” Al Arabiya, November 6, 2018,; and “The President of the Transitional Political Council for the South congratulates the Emirati-backed forces on their advancements in al Hudaydah”, Shafahnet, November 6, 2018,

[3] “Yemen government meets to discuss security situation and measures to reform the economy,” Saba Net, November 5, 2018,

[4] “Inter-al Houthi clashes and accusations in betrayal leads to armed confrontations between al Houthi forces,” Al Montasaf, November 6, 2018,

[5] “The latest developments in Syria and Yemen; the focus of talks between Iranian and Russian delegations,” IRNA, November 5, 2018,

[6] “Southwest election commission members resign head of the polls,” Radio Shabelle, November 6, 2018,; “Interior Minister urged Southwest leaders to hold on-time election,” Radio Shabelle, November 6, 2018,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 6, 2018,

[7] “Mogadishu: Al-Shabab claimed killing AU soldiers, as AMISOM forces kill 4 Civilians,” Mustaqbal Radio, November 6, 2018,; AMISOM, Twitter, November 6, 2018,

[8] AMISOM, Twitter, November 6, 2018,

[9] “Somalia: Upsurge in violence triggers new wave of displacement,” OCHA, November 5, 2018,

[10] “Jubbaland administration to restore operations against Al-Shabaab in the region,” Goobjoog, November 6, 2018,

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