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.{{authorBox.message}}

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The Gulf of Aden Security Review will be temporarily paused after April 23. We welcome your feedback on CTP’s products and product lines. Please contact us at [email protected] with any comments or questions. 

Yemen: Al Houthis launch drones toward Saudi Arabia; al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clash in Ma’rib governorate

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants kill district official in Mogadishu; African Union condemns Somali president’s extended mandate

Yemen Security Brief:

The al Houthi movement claimed to launch two Qasef-2K drones at King Khalid airbase in Khamis Mushait city in southern Saudi Arabia’s Asir region on April 23. Al Houthi militants also claimed to launch a Samad-3 drone at Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Jizan city in southern Saudi Arabia’s Jizan region the same day. The Saudi-led coalition claimed to intercept the two al Houthi drones targeting Khamis Mushait city but did not comment on the alleged al Houthi attack on Jizan city.[i]

The al Houthi movement claimed the Saudi-led coalition launched 16 airstrikes on al Houthi positions along al Masjah front in Sirwah district in central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on April 23. Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces previously clashed along al Masjah front on April 22.[ii]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Suspected al Shabaab militants killed a district council member in Karan district in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on April 22. Al Shabaab killed Daynile district’s commissioner in Mogadishu on April 20.[iii]

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council released a statement condemning the Somali Lower House of Parliament’s extension of the presidential mandate for Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” on April 22. The statement also expressed concern for the unity of Somali security forces over political divisions. Somalia’s Minister of Information accused Kenya and Djibouti of convincing the African Union to reject President Farmajo’s extended term.[iv] 


[i] “The battles of Sirwah and the coalition intercepts 3 drones launched by the Houthis on southern Saudi Arabia,” Al Jazeera, April 23, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2021/4/23/%d9%85%d8%b9%d8%a7%d8%b1%d9%83-%d8%a8%d8%b5%d8%b1%d9%88%d8%a7%d8%ad-%d9%88%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%aa%d8%ad%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%81-%d9%8a%d8%b9%d8%aa%d8%b1%d8%b6-%d8%ab%d9%84%d8%a7%d8%ab.

[ii] “The battles of Sirwah and the coalition intercepts 3 drones launched by the Houthis on southern Saudi Arabia,” Al Jazeera, April 23, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2021/4/23/%d9%85%d8%b9%d8%a7%d8%b1%d9%83-%d8%a8%d8%b5%d8%b1%d9%88%d8%a7%d8%ad-%d9%88%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%aa%d8%ad%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%81-%d9%8a%d8%b9%d8%aa%d8%b1%d8%b6-%d8%ab%d9%84%d8%a7%d8%ab; and “Dozens of Houthis were killed and wounded in violent battles in Marib,” Al Bawaba, April 22, 2021, https://www.albawaba.com/ar/%D8%A3%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%B9%D8%B4%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%AA%D9%84%D9%89-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D8%B1%D8%AD%D9%89-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%AB%D9%8A%D9%8A%D9%86-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%83-%D8%B9%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%81%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D9%85%D8%A3%D8%B1%D8%A8-1423909.

[iii] Liibaan Jeexoow, “Soldiers and lawmakers killed in Mogadishu,” Somalimemo, April 22, 2021, https://somalimemo.info/articles/14566/Faah-Faahin-Askar-iyo-xildhibaan-deegaan-oo-Muqdisho-lagu-dilay; and Amelia Frederking and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 21, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 21, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-21-2021.

[iv] “Communique of the 993rd meeting of the PSC held on 22 April 2021, on the political and security situation in Somalia,” African Union Peace and Security Council, April 22, 2021, http://peaceau.org/en/article/communique-of-the-993rd-meeting-of-the-psc-held-on-22-april-2021-on-the-political-and-security-situation-in-somalia; and “Somali government issues stern warning to Kenya, Djibouti,” Radio Dalsan, April 22, 2021, https://www.radiodalsan.com/dowladda-soomaaliya-oo-digniin-culus-u.

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Yemen: Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clash in Ma’rib governorate; UN warns of possible displacement of 100,000 Yemenis in Ma’rib governorate by September

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab launches mortar toward presidential palace in Mogadishu; al Shabaab kills district commissioner in Mogadishu; UN Security Council urges SFG to resume electoral negotiations

The Gulf of Aden Security Review will be temporarily paused after April 23. We welcome your feedback on CTP’s products and product lines. Please contact us at [email protected] with any comments or questions.

Yemen Security Brief:

Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clashed along the Kassara front in central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on April 21, reportedly killing at least four al Houthi militants. The two sides clashed along the Kassara front on April 15.[i]

The spokesman for the UN Secretary-General said on April 20 that ongoing fighting between al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces will displace more than 100,000 people in Ma’rib governorate by September if the fighting does not stop. The escalated fighting in Ma’rib governorate has displaced roughly 20,000 people from February 8 to April 10.[ii]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Al Shabaab fired mortars toward the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on April 21. Al Shabaab previously fired mortars targeting an electoral negotiation meeting at Halane base camp in Mogadishu in late March.[iii]

Al Shabaab planted an improvised explosive device in Mogadishu on April 20, killing Daynile district’s deputy commissioner. Suspected al Shabaab militants killed a district official in Mogadishu’s Warta Nabada district on April 15.[iv]

The UN Security Council convened an informal meeting to discuss Somali presidential elections on April 20. Several UN member states condemned Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo’s extended presidential term and urged the Somali Federal Government and Somali member states to resume electoral negotiations immediately. The Somali Union of Presidential Candidates and Jubbaland and Puntland State Presidents appealed to the UN Security Council to reject President Farmajo’s extended mandate on April 19.[v]


[i] “Battles intensified on the Ma’rib fronts, and 4 senior militia leaders were killed,” Mareb Press, April 21, 2021, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=173619&lang=arabic; and Amelia Frederking and Lauren Detter, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 16, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 16, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-16-2021/

[ii] “The UN warns of the displacement of a hundred thousand Yemenis from Ma’rib,” Al Jazeera, April 21, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/humanrights/2021/4/21/%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a3%d9%85%d9%85-%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%85%d8%aa%d8%ad%d8%af%d8%a9-%d8%aa%d8%ad%d8%b0%d8%b1-%d9%85%d9%86-%d9%86%d8%b2%d9%88%d8%ad-100-%d8%a3%d9%84%d9%81-%d9%8a%d9%85%d9%86%d9%8a-%d9%85%d9%86; and “Highlights of the Noon Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres,” United Nations, April 20, 2021, https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/noon-briefing-highlight/.

[iii] “Shabaab Claims Shelling Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, Successfully Assassinating Former Hirshabelle Commander After Failed Attempt,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 21, 2021, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 26, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 26, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-26-2021.

[iv] “Daynile deputy DC killed in IED attack,” Goobjoog, April 20, 2021, https://goobjoog.com/english/daynile-deputy-dc-killed-in-ied-attack/; Liibaan Jeexoow, “Al Shabaab claims responsibility for Daynile deputy governor’s death,” Somalimemo, April 20, 2021, https://somalimemo.info/articles/14555/Al-Shabaab-oo-sheegatay-Masuuliyadda-qarax-lagu-dilay-guddoomiye-ku-xigeenkii-Dayniile; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 16, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 16, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-16-2021.

[v] “UN Security Council expresses concern over situation in Somalia,” Horseed Media, April 21, 2021, https://horseedmedia.net/2021/04/21/golaha-amaanka-ee-qm-oo-walaac-ka-muujiyey-xaaladda-soomaaliya/; and “The National Security Council sends a letter to the Security Council regarding the extension,” Horseed Media, April 20, 2021, https://horseedmedia.net/2021/04/20/madasha-badbaado-qaran-oo-qoraal-ku-saabsan-muddo-kordhinta-u-dirtay-golaha-amaanka/.

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Yemen: Al Houthis claim to launch drone toward Saudi Arabia; al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clash in Ma’rib governorate

Horn of Africa: SNA and AMISOM forces arrest al Shabaab militants in Middle Shabelle region; al Shabaab claims to seize control of town in Mudug region; Somali security forces clash in Mogadishu

The Gulf of Aden Security Review will be temporarily paused after April 23. We welcome your feedback on CTP’s products and product lines. Please contact us at [email protected] with any comments or questions. 

Yemen Security Brief:

The al Houthi movement claimed to launch an explosive-laden drone toward King Khalid airbase in Khamis Mushait city in southern Saudi Arabia’s Asir region on April 17. Saudi Arabia did not confirm the attack. The Saudi-led coalition previously claimed to intercept al Houthi explosive-laden drones targeting Asir region on April 14.[i]

Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clashed along al Masjah front in Sirwah district in central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on April 18. Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces previously clashed along al Masjah front on April 15.[ii]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces arrested al Shabaab militants near Balad district in central Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region on April 19. Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device targeting an SNA commander near Balad on April 17.[iii]

Al Shabaab claimed to seize control of Ba’adweyne town in central Somalia’s Mudug region on April 15. SNA troops withdrew from Ba’adweyne town the day prior on April 14.[iv]

SNA troops exchanged gunfire with security forces loyal to Mogadishu’s former police chief on April 16 in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The Somali Federal Government fired the police chief for attempting to prevent the Lower House of Parliament from voting to extend the Somali president’s mandate on April 11.[v]


[i][i] “Yemen’s Houthis say they have hit Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid air base,” Reuters, April 17, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/yemens-houthis-say-they-have-hit-saudi-arabias-king-khalid-air-base-2021-04-17/; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 14, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 14, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-14-2021.

[ii] “Violent clashes in Marib and a large displacement of civilians due to the battles between the National Army and the Houthis,” Al Jazeera, April 19, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2021/4/19/%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%8a%d9%85%d9%86-%d8%a7%d8%b4%d8%aa%d8%a8%d8%a7%d9%83%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d8%b9%d9%86%d9%8a%d9%81%d8%a9-%d9%81%d9%8a-%d9%85%d8%a3%d8%b1%d8%a8-%d8%a8%d9%8a%d9%86-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ac%d9%8a%d8%b4; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 16, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 16, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-16-2021.

[iii] “Al-Shabaab members arrested in Mogadishu,” Radio Dalsan, April 19, 2021, https://www.radiodalsan.com/ciidamo-fuliyay-howlgal-lagu-qabtay-xubno-ka-tirsan-al-shabaab/; and “Roadside blast in Somalia kills top military commander,” Hiiraan, April 19, 2021, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2021/Apr/182343/roadside_blast_in_somalia_kills_top_military_commander.aspx.

[iv] “Somali government troops face off with forces loyal to sacked police boss,” Reuters, April 18, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/somali-government-troops-face-off-with-forces-loyal-sacked-police-boss-2021-04-17/; “Somalia: Al-Shabaab takes control of Ba’adweyne,” Somali Affairs, April 17, 2021, https://www.somaliaffairs.com/news/somalia-al-shabaab-takes-control-of-key-central-town/; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 15, 2021, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1383058174631153665.

[v] “Somali government troops face off with forces loyal to sacked police boss,” Reuters, April 18, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/somali-government-troops-face-off-with-forces-loyal-sacked-police-boss-2021-04-17/.

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