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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Yemen: Al Houthi movement claims two drone attacks on Saudi military base; STC forces clash with Hadi government-aligned forces in Aden; Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister meets with STC delegation in Jeddah

Horn of Africa: Rival parliaments elect different presidents in Jubbaland State; UN Special Representative for Somalia addresses UN Security Council

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement claimed to conduct two drone attacks targeting King Khaled Air Base near Khamis Mushayt city in southwestern Saudi Arabia on August 21. Saudi-led coalition spokesperson Turki al Maliki claimed that the coalition intercepted both drones.[1]

Forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist movement, fired upon Yemeni Presidential Protective Forces near the Ma’ashiq Presidential Palace in Aden, the de facto capital of Yemen, on the evening of August 21. Saudi forces reinforced the Presidential Protective Forces at the palace and clashed with STC-aligned forces for four hours. The STC seized Aden from the internationally recognized government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on August 10.[2]

Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled bin Salman met with an STC delegation led by STC President Aydarus al Zubaidi in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 21. Al Zubaidi arrived in Jeddah for talks with the Hadi government on August 21. Hadi government officials refused to meet with him, however, until STC-aligned forces withdraw from all military bases that they seized in Aden.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The parliament for Jubbaland State, a Federal Member State in southern Somalia, reelected incumbent Ahmed Madobe as regional president on August 22. The Somali Federal Government (SFG) had previously stated on August 17 that it would not recognize the results of the Jubbaland elections because the electoral process violated the national constitution. An unrecognized Jubbaland parliament backed by opposition presidential candidates separately elected Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig as Jubbaland State president. Hidig is a member of the SFG parliament and served as SFG Minister of Interior until 2015. Opposition candidates created a parallel electoral system in July after accusing the Jubbaland electoral committee of being biased towards Madobe.[4]

The UN Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, addressed the UN Security Council on August 21. Swan stated that al Shabaab remains a threat to regional security. He also expressed concern that the Jubbaland regional elections would produce a contested result and violence.[5]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia story streams. 


[1] “The Air Force targets King Khalid Air Base in Asir,” Al Masirah, August 22, 2019, https://almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=43885&cat_id=3 ; and “Forces of Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen intercept and shoot down two drones launched by Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist militia from Amran province towards the kingdom,” Saudi Press Agency, August 22, 2019, https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php?lang=en&newsid=1960719.

[2] “Gulf of Aden Security Review –August 12, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 12, 2019, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-12-2019 ; “Saudi reinforcements are a the presidential palace in Aden after clashes with STC forces,” Sahafatek, August 22, 2019, https://www.sahafatak.net/show1631015.html; “Breaking: Armed clashes erupt between Saudi forces and gunmen around palace Maasheq,” Aden Gad, August 22, 2019, http://www.adengd.net/news/404957/; “Urgent: Clashes between the transitional militia and Saudi forces in the vicinity of ‘Maasheq’ Palace in Aden,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, August 22, 2019, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/142267; “The Brigade forces support the Maasheq palace and clarify the truth of what happened,” Hadramout, August 22, 2019, https://www.7adramout.net/almandebnews/7132999/%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%86---%D9%82%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B3-%D8%AF%D8%B9%D9%85-%D9%88%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%A4%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%82%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%B4%D9%8A%D9%82-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%84-%D9%88%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B6%D8%AD-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%8A%D9%82%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%A7-%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%AB-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%86.html; “Breaking: Fierce armed clashes erupted near Aden palace in Aden ‘details’,” Aden Lang, August 22, 2019, https://adnlng.info/news/124785/, and “The 5th brigade provide support to Maasheq Palace and explain full truth of what happened,” SMA News, August 22, 2019, https://smanews.org/news/147047.

[3]  “Saudi Deputy Defense Minister receives transitional delegation in Jeddah,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, August 22, 2019, https://adnlng.info/news/124785/; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 21, 2019,” The Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 21, 2019, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review.

[4] “Somalia’s Jubaland parliament to elect new president,” Mareeg, August 22, 2019, https://mareeg.com/somalias-jubaland-parliament-to-elect-new-president/; “Jubbaland reelects Madobe as the new president of the state,” Goobjoog News, August 22, 2019, http://goobjoog.com/english/jubbaland-re-elects-madobe-as-the-new-president-of-the-state/; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 22, 2019, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1164485286346350592.

[5] “Somalia security remains a concern, head of UN Mission warns,” Garowe, August 22, 2019, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somalia-security-remains-a-concern-head-of-un-mission-warns-security-council; and “UN Envoy says Somalia security remains a concern,” Mareeg, August 22, 2019, https://mareeg.com/un-envoy-says-somalia-security-remains-a-concern/.

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Yemen: Al Houthi movement claims to shoot down US drone; Hadi government officials refuse to meet with STC President for talks; STC accuses Hadi government of withholding fuel from southern governorates

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks SNA base in Lower Shabelle region; Somali special forces free 20 civilians detained by al Shabaab near Kismayo

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement claimed to shoot down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone with a surface-to-air missile in Dhamar governorate in central Yemen on August 20. Al Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarea claimed that the al Houthi movement would no longer tolerate “the forces of aggression” entering Yemeni airspace. US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that a US drone was shot down over Yemen and stated that it is investigating al Houthi involvement in the attack.[1]

Officials in President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government refused to meet with Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) President Aydarus al Zubaidi for negotiations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 21. Saudi Arabia has attempted to broker peace talks between the Hadi government and the STC, which is a southern Yemeni secessionist group, ever since the STC seized Aden, the de facto capital of Yemen, on August 10. President Zubaidi travelled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 21 for talks, but Hadi government officials refused to meet with him until the STC hands back control of Aden port. Anonymous officials in Hadi’s government told Reuters that they were considering restructuring the government as part of a deal with the STC and suggested that they might transfer Hadi’s presidential powers to a new Vice President.[2]

An STC spokesman claimed on August 21 that the Hadi government had cut fuel and power supplies to Aden, Lahij, and Abyan governorates in southern Yemen. The spokesperson stated that the STC will provide fuel to the governorates in response and claimed that the STC has sufficient reserves for one month.[3]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Qoryoley town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on August 20. One SNA soldier and four al Shabaab militants died in the attack.[4]

An SNA spokesperson announced on August 20 that Somali Danab special forces had freed 20 civilians from Yontoy village, which is located north of Kismayo port city in southern Somalia, in a recent operation. The spokesperson stated that al Shabaab had detained the civilians.[5]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia story streams.


[1] Lucia I. Suarez Sang, “US military drone shot down over Yemen, official confirms,” Fox News, August 21, 2019, https://www.foxnews.com/world/us-military-drone-shot-down-over-yemen-official-confirms; Idrees Ali, “U.S. drone shot down over Yemen: officials,” Reuters, August 21, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-usa-drone/u-s-military-drone-shot-down-over-yemen-officials-idUSKCN1VB180; “The air defenses shot down an American plane of the MQ-9 type in the skies of Dhamar governorate (Pictures),” 26 September News, August 21, 2019, https://26sep.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=161247; and “CENTCOM investigates reports of Houthi-claimed attack on UAS,” US Central Command, August 21, 2019, https://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/STATEMENTS/Statements-View/Article/1939864/.

[2] “Yemeni government says will not talk to separatists until standoff,” Reuters, August 21, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security/yemeni-government-says-will-not-talk-to-separatists-until-standoff-ends-idUSKCN1VB11W; “President al Zubaidi arrives to Jeddah to participate in dialogues called for by Saudi Arabia, Aden Lang, August 21, 2019, https://adnlng.info/news/124696/; “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 20, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 20, 2019, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review; and Mohammed Mukhsef, “Yemen’s pro-government coalition fractures as separatists grab control in Aden,” Reuters, August 10, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security/yemens-pro-government-coalition-fractures-as-separatists-grab-control-in-aden-idUSKCN1V007B?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29

[3] “Transitional spokesman confirms the breakthrough of the crisis of fuel stations and the local market,” STC Aden, August 21, 2019, https://stcaden.com/news/10133; “Transitional supplies power stations and fuel oil derivatives,” Hadramout, August 21, 2019, https://www.7adramout.net/aden-time/7131678/%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%85---%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A-%D9%8A%D8%B2%D9%88%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D9%82%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D9%81%D8%B7%D9%8A%D8%A9.html; and “Spokesman for the STC confirms the breakthrough for the fuel crisis in power stations and the local market,” Hadramout, August 21, 2019, https://www.7adramout.net/almandebnews/7131739/%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%86---%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%AB-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%B3%D9%85%D9%8A-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A-%D9%8A%D8%A4%D9%83%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AC-%D8%A3%D8%B2%D9%85%D8%A9-%D9%88%D9%82%D9%88%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9.html.

[4] “Al Shabab Attacks Somali Military Base in Qoryoley,” Radio Shabelle, August 21, 2019, https://www.radioshabelle.com/al-shabab-attacks-somali-military-base-in-qoryoley/; and “Al-Shabaab attack military base in Qoryooley town, Lower Shabelle,” Goobjoog News, August 21, 2019, http://goobjoog.com/english/al-shabaab-attack-military-base-in-qoryooley-townlower-shabelle/.

[5] Abdirisak M Tuuryare, “Somali Army rescue 20 people held by al Shabaab,” Mareeg, August 21, 2019, https://mareeg.com/somali-army-rescue-20-people-held-by-al-shabaab/; and “Special Forces free ‘hostages’ in daring Somalia operation,” Garowe, August 21, 2019, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/special-forces-free-hostages-in-daring-somalia-operation.

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Yemen: STC-aligned forces seize military bases in Abyan; Hadi government meets in Riyadh to discuss response to STC seizure of Aden; Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes in Sana’a and Sa’ada

Horn of Africa: AFRICOM conducts airstrike targeting al Shabaab in Middle Jubba region; al Shabaab conducts attacks in Middle Shabelle region and northeastern Kenya; Jubbaland and KDF forces block Ethiopian plane from landing in Kismayo

Yemen Security Brief

Al Hizam Security Forces, a southern Yemeni counterterrorism force, seized two military bases from forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on August 20. Al Hizam forces seized bases in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, which is located approximately 60 kilometers east of Aden city. Al Hizam forces and other forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist group, seized Aden from the Hadi government on August 10 after days of clashes. STC-aligned forces have withdrawn from some government buildings in Aden but continue to occupy military bases throughout the city.[1]

President Hadi met with senior members of his government in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on August 19 to discuss responses to the STC’s seizure of Aden. Anti-Emirati media claimed that the Hadi government is considering taking action against the UAE, which is a member of the Saudi-led coalition and a historical sponsor of the STC.[2]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes against al Houthi command centers and munition depots in Sana'a and Sa'ada governorates in northern Yemen on August 19. Saudi-led coalition spokesman Turki al Maliki claimed that the strikes targeted stores of ballistic missiles, drones, and other weaponry.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab near Qunyo Barrow town in Middle Jubba region in southern Somalia on August 20. The strike killed one al Shabaab militant.[4]

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base near Jowhar town in Middle Shabelle region in central Somalia on August 20. The attack caused casualties on both sides. Al Shabaab militants separately attacked Lafey town near the Somali border in Mandera County in northeastern Kenya on August 20. Al Shabaab militants clashed with Kenyan police and destroyed a telecommunications pole during the attack.[5]

Jubbaland Security Forces and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) prevented an Ethiopian plane from landing at the airport in Kismayo, a port city and the capital of Jubbaland State in southern Somalia, on August 19. A local civil aviation officer stated that an Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) unit operating in Kismayo had attempted to disrupt operations at the airport in order to allow the plane to land. Airport staff stated that the plane was not cleared to land because its crew did not provide advance notice of its arrival. Jubbaland officials reportedly feared that the plane carried ENDF troops.[6]

Visit our Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia story streams. 


[1] “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 19, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 19, 2019, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-19-2019 ; “Clashes hit Yemen's south, Saudi-led forces strike capital,” Reuters, August 19, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-sanaa/clashes-hit-yemens-south-saudi-led-forces-strike-capital-idUSKCN1V91UG?il=0 ; Farouk El Akhbary, Twitter, August 20, 2019, https://twitter.com/farog20136/status/1163783745981374464 ; “Yemen: Southerners continue attack on Aden as government meets in Riyadh to discuss ways to restore its headquarters,” France 24, August 20, 2019, https://www.france24.com/ar/20190820-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%86-%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%88%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B6-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%81%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%87%D8%AC%D9%88%D9%85-%D8%A3%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86 ; and “Yemen separatists surround two govt camps in south,” France 24, August 20, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20190820-yemen-separatists-surround-two-govt-camps-in-south

[2] “Hadi meets his government leaders to follow up on Saudi promises to end Aden coup,” Al Jazeera, August 19, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2019/8/19/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF-%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%87-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B1-%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B6-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%A9.

[3] “Clashes hit Yemen's south, Saudi-led forces strike capital,” Reuters, August 19, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-sanaa/saudi-led-coalition-attacks-military-targets-in-houthi-controlled-sanaa-saudi-tv-idUSKCN1V91UG?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29 ; “15 Air Raids on Sana’a.. And the coalition announces the beginning of a ‘quality’ military operation against the Houthis,” al Mashhad al Yemeni, August 20, 2019, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/142096 ; “Arab Coalition destroy Houthi targets in Sana'a,” Emirates News Agency, August 20, 2019, http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302780728 ; and “#Sa’ada.. The destruction of military operations rooms and the bombing of #Houthi militia gatherings in air raids in Kitaf,” Aden Lang, August 20, 2019, https://adnlng.info/news/124634/

[4] “US, Federal Government of Somalia target al Shabaab with airstrike,” United States Africa Command, August 20, 2019, https://www.africom.mil/media-room/pressrelease/32129/u-s-federal-government-of-somalia-target-al-shabaab-with-airstrike.

[5] “Al Shabaab attack military base in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle,” Goobjoog News, August 20, 2019, http://goobjoog.com/english/al-shabaab-attack-military-base-in-jowhar-middle-shabelle/; and “Suspected Shabaab militants destroy phone mast in Mandera,” Daily Nation, August 20, 2019, https://www.nation.co.ke/counties/mandera/One-shot-in-Mandera-Shabaab-attack/1183298-5242252-9w13ljz/index.html.

[6] “Kismayo airport deny Ethiopian plane to land,” Goobjoog News, August 20, 2019, http://goobjoog.com/english/kismayo-airport-rejects-ethiopian-plane-to-land/; “Kenyan-Ethiopian forces near clash in Kismayo as Jubbaland polls rope in neighbours,” Hiraan, August 19, 2019, https://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2019/Aug/165241/kenyan_ethiopian_forces_near_clash_in_kismayu_as_jubbaland_polls_rope_in_neighbours.aspx; “Kenya, Ethiopian proxy War Glares Ugly Face Ahead of Jubbaland Elections,” Radio Dalsan, August 19, 2019, https://www.radiodalsan.com/en/2019/08/19/kenya-ethiopian-proxy-war-glares-ugly-face-ahead-of-jubaland-elections/; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 20, 2019, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1163531582428332034.

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