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: STC-aligned forces attack local government headquarters in Socotra; UAE announces withdrawal from Aden while Sudan draws down in Yemen; IED kills al Houthi official in al Bayda

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims to destroy Kenyan military base in Gedo region; al Shabaab attacks SNA and Jubbaland forces near Kismayo; Islamic State-linked militants kill Russian military contractors in northern Mozambique

Yemen Security Brief

Gunmen aligned with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist group, attacked government headquarters and demanded the dismissal of Governor Ramzi Mahrous in the Socotra archipelago in the Gulf of Aden on October 30. Mahrus had recently declared that visas were required for foreign visitors, which sparked the attack, according to anti-STC media.[1]

The UAE announced on October 30 that it has withdrawn its troops from Yemen’s de facto capital, Aden, and handed over security responsibility there to Saudi Arabia and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government. The UAE promised to continue its counterterrorism mission in Yemen with the help of Yemeni partner forces. Sudan has also recently drawn down its forces in southern Yemen. Qatari media reported that as many as 10,000 Sudanese soldiers have left the country and returned to Sudan in recent months.[2]

Unidentified militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting the al Houthi head of general security in al Bayda governorate in southern Yemen on October 30. The attack killed the official, Ahmed al Humaygani. No group has claimed responsibility.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab claimed to seize and destroy a Kenyan military base in the Dhija Bula area on the outskirts of Dhobley town in Somalia’s southwestern Gedo region on October 30. Al Shabaab separately claimed to assassinate a Somali National Army (SNA) soldier in Dharkenley district in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on October 30.[4]

Al Shabaab attacked SNA troops and Jubbaland Security Forces in Bar Sanguni, a village near Kismayo port city in Lower Jubba region in southern Somalia, on October 31. SNA and Jubbaland Security Forces repulsed the attack.[5]

Islamic State-linked militants killed seven Russian private military contractors in separate attacks in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province in October, according to Russian media. Militants killed two members of the Wagner Group during an attack in Macomia district on October 10. Militants killed and then beheaded five Russian contractors and 20 Mozambican soldiers in another attack on October 27.[6]

Visit our Yemen and Somalia storystreams.

[1] “Socotra... Gunmen attack the headquarters of the local authority and demand the dismissal of the governor,” Al Jazeera, October 30, 2019,

[2] “UAE troops return after successful liberation, stabilization of Aden,” Emirates New Agency, October 30, 2019,; “Sudan withdraws 10,000 Sundanese soldiers from Yemen,” Middle East Monitor, October 31, 2019,; and Magdy, Samy “Sudan drawing down troops in Yemen in recent months,” Associated Press, October 30, 2019,

[3] “Senior Houthi official killed in roadside bombing in southeastern Yemen,” Xinhua, October 30, 2019,

[4] “Shabaab Claims Destroying Kenyan Military Post Outside Border Town, 38 Casualties Among Somali Forces Across 8 Attacks,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 30, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[5] “SNA, Jubbaland forces hold off Shabaab attack in outskirts of Kismayu,” Goobjoog, October 31, 2019,

[6] Sauer, Pjotr, “7 Kremlin-Linked Mercenaries Killed in Mozambique in October — Sources,” The Moscow Times, October 31, 2019,; “Five Russian mercenaries killed in Mozambique ambush – media,” Unian, October 31, 2019,


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