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: Saudi-led coalition airstrike kills at least 19 civilians in al Hudaydah governorate; Pakistan offers to mediate Yemen conflict; UN Secretary-General denounces Hezbollah’s involvement in Yemen; Qatar encourages cross-interest talks between the al Houthi movement and the al Islah party

Horn of Africa: AMISOM forces kill senior al Shabaab financial officer in Barire, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia; Somali intelligence agents arrest al Shabaab bomb expert in Mogadishu; four Somali federal member states announce plans to build parallel army and intelligence service

Yemen Security Brief

A Saudi-led coalition airstrike killed at least 19 civilians, including two children, in a vegetable market in Bayt al Faqih district, southern al Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen on October 24, according to al Houthi sources. The death toll is expected to increase. The Saudi-led coalition said it is investigating the airstrike.[1]

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on October 24 that Islamabad is ready to mediate between the al Houthi movement and the Saudi-led coalition to end the war in Yemen. Khan made the announcement after securing $6 billion in financial assistance from Saudi Arabia.[2]

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syria and Yemen wars. Guterres called on Iran to encourage Hezbollah’s transformation into a non-militant political party, according to the Saudi newspaper al Sharq al Awsat.[3]                                  

Qatar is facilitating reconciliation talks between the al Houthi movement and al Islah party assisted by the Turkish government, according to an anti-al Houthi news source. The parties sent letters on social media sites to assess reactions to an alliance between the two parties from their respective supporters.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces killed a senior al Shabaab financial controller in Barire, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on October 22. The commander was the head of tax collection in the Lower Shabelle region, according to AMISOM officials. AMISOM forces killed seven al Shabaab militants and destroyed a vehicle during a failed al Shabaab attack on an AMISOM forward operating base at Kilometer 50 in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on October 21.[5]

Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency officers arrested an al Shabaab bomb expert in a covert operation in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 25. NISA officials linked the explosive specialist to several car bombs and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in Mogadishu and neighboring areas, including an October 2017 truck bomb in Mogadishu that killed nearly 600 people.[6]

The presidents of Puntland, Jubbaland, Galmudug, and Southwest states announced their plans to create a joint military and intelligence network to combat al Shabaab on October 25. The regional presidents stated that they cannot rely on the Somali Federal Government (SFG) to secure the country. Each state pledged to contribute 1,000 soldiers to the force in the coming months. The regional presidents stated that the force will integrate with the SFG “when a federal government with genuine Somali vision and clear orientation on security is realized.” Somalia’s five federal member states suspended ties with the SFG on September 8.[7]

[1] “Increase in the death toll of martyrs in Bayt al Faqih crime to 20 people and 10 wounded,” Al Masirah, October 24, 2018,; “24 martyr and 17 wounded in new crimes by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes,” Saba Net, October 25, 2018,; and “Saudi-UAE coalition probes into market attack,” Al Jazeera, October 25, 2018,

[2] “Pakistan seeks to mediate in Yemen,” RT, October 25, 2018,

[3] “Guterres condemns Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria and Yemen,” Asharq Al Awsat, October 25, 2018,

[4]“Qatar sponsors reform reconciliation - Houthi,” 7adramout, October 24, 2018,; and “Yemen - Qatar moves to reconcile al Houthis and al Islah party,” 7adramout, October 24, 2018,

[5] “AU force says key al-Shabaab commander killed,” Associated Press, October 25, 2018,; AMISOM, Twitter, October 25, 2018,

[6] “Somali Security Forces Arrest Al-Shabaab IED Expert,” Hiiraan, October 24, 2018,; “Somali Intelligence Officers Arrest Al Shabaab Bomb Expert in Mogadishu,” Strategic Intelligence, October 25, 2018,; and “Mogadishu bombings: Man executed on Somalia blast anniversary,” BBC, October 14, 2018,

[7] “Farmaajo further isolated as state leaders opt for parallel army,” Goobjoog, October 25, 2018,; and Mohamed Olad Hassan, “Somali regional states suspend ties with federal government,” Voice of America, September 8, 2018,

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