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: Al Houthi leader meets with UN envoy to discuss negotiations; al Houthi official announces postponement of major strikes against Saudi Arabia; al Houthi movement spokesman releases details of claimed offensive in southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack SNA troops near Marka port city; AFRICOM conducts airstrike targeting al Shabaab militant in Middle Jubba region

 Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi met with the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths in the al Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on October 1 to discuss the possibility of negotiations between warring parties in Yemen. Abdul Malik al Houthi stated that the al Houthi movement’s release of 290 prisoners of war on September 30 was an effort to move towards de-escalation in Yemen.[1]

Chairman of the al Houthi movement’s Supreme Political Council Mahdi al Mashat stated on October 2 that the al Houthi movement has postponed major strikes against Saudi Arabia in the hope that Saudi Arabia will pursue a peace initiative, according to Iranian media. Mashat stated that the al Houthi movement will refrain from conducting strikes of the same magnitude as a September 14 strike on Saudi Aramco facilities in Abqaiq in eastern Saudi Arabia. The al Houthi movement claimed the strikes, but US officials assessed that the strikes originated in Iran. Mashat threatened that attacks on Saudi Arabia would resume if Saudi Arabia refused to negotiate.[2]

Al Houthi movement spokesman Yahya Sare’a announced a second phase of the group’s “Victory from God” Operation against Saudi Arabia on October 1. The al Houthi movement announced the offensive, which it claimed took place in Najran region in southern Saudi Arabia, on September 28 and claimed to have captured over 2,000 Saudi troops. Saudi Arabia and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government have denied that any such cross-border operation took place. Sare’a claimed in his October 1 announcement that the al Houthi movement conducted six rocket attacks, thwarted 40 Saudi helicopter attacks, and killed or injured 200 Saudi-led coalition troops as part of the second phase of the offensive.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base with mortars in El Salin, a village located near Marka port city in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, on October 2. Al Shabaab claimed to kill seven SNA troops in the attack. In a separate incident, al Shabaab claimed to detonate a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an SNA convoy in the El Salin area. The explosion killed five soldiers.[4]

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting an al Shabaab militant near Qunyo Barrow town in Middle Jubba region in southern Somalia on September 30, killing the militant.[5]

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[1] “Yemen Rebel Leader Meets UN Envoy in Efforts to Revive Talks”, The Washington Post, October 1, 2019,

[2] “Mashat: We Wanted to Raise the Voice of Peace and if They Did Not Hear We Have Painful Blows for Them”, Al Alam TV, October 1, 2019المشاط-اردنا-ان-نعلي-صوت-السلام-وإذا-لم-يسمعوا-فلدينا-ضربات-موجعة-لهم; and Courtney Kube, Ken Dilanian, and Carol Lee, “Attack on a major Saudi oil facility originated from Iran, U.S. intelligence indicates,” NBC News

[3] “In the Second Phase of their of Their Major Operation… Houthis Reveal Their Gains in Najran”, Al Jazeera, October 1, 2019,جماعة-الحوثي-السعودية-مارتن-غريفيث-صنعاء-اليمن .

[4] Tuuryare, Abdirisak, “Deadly Assault Kills 12 In Somalia – Al Shabaab,” Mareeg, October 2, 2019,

[5] “Al-Shabaab Terrorist targeted in U.S. Airstrike, Baledogle attack update,” US AFRICOM, October 1, 2019,

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