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 resume on Monday, November 30.

Yemen: Al Houthi militants reportedly send reinforcements to al Bayda governorate; al Houthis allegedly attack Hadi government–aligned forces in Ma’rib governorate; Saudi-led coalition forces claim to intercept al Houthi drone launched toward kingdom

Horn of Africa: Mozambican forces reportedly recapture town from IS-linked militants in Cabo Delgado province; suspected al Shabaab improvised explosive device causes several casualties near Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief:

Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi claimed on November 20 that al Houthi reinforcements arrived at Qaniya front in central Yemen’s al Bayda governorate. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed attacking al Houthi militants in al Bayda governorate in mid-October.[1]

Al Houthi militants allegedly attacked Hadi government–aligned forces in al Abdiyah district in northern Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on November 20. Hadi government–aligned forces claimed halting an al Houthi advance toward Ma’rib governorate’s al Makhdara front in early November.[2]

The Saudi-led coalition announced on November 18 that it intercepted an al Houthi drone launched toward an unspecified area in Saudi Arabia. Coalition forces previously claimed intercepting an al Houthi drone targeting the kingdom in mid-November.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Mozambican troops reportedly recaptured Muidumbe village in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province from Islamic State–linked militants on November 19. A police officer claimed troops killed sixteen insurgents and destroyed some of their weapons. Islamic State–linked militants claimed capturing Muidumbe in late October.[4]

Al Shabaab militants detonated a roadside improvised explosive device at a security checkpoint in Lafole town outside of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on November 19. The blast killed at least three soldiers and injured several others, including civilians. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide vest attack that targeted a police academy in Mogadishu’s Hamar Jajab district on November 17.[5]


[1] “After the arrival of large reinforcements, the Houthi militia launched a suicide attack on army positions south of Marib,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, November 20, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/185742; and Sarah Gordon and Hannah Kuperman, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 19, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, October 19, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-october-19-2020.

[2] “After the arrival of large reinforcements, the Houthi militia launched a suicide attack on army positions south of Marib,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, November 20, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/185742; and Hannah Kuperman and Luc Sasseville, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 9, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, November 9, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-9-2020.

[3] “The coalition announces the destruction of a drone launched by the Houthis towards Saudi Arabia,” 7adramout, November 18, 2020, https://www.7adramout.net/aden24/7528727/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81-%D9%8A%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%86-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%AF%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A3%D8%B7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%AB%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%A9.html; and Hannah Kuperman and Luc Sasseville, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 13, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, November 13, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-13-2020.

[4] “Mozambique Police Say Northern Village, Site of Reported Beheadings, Retaken from Insurgents,” Reuters, November 20, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mozambique-insurgency/mozambique-police-say-northern-village-site-of-reported-beheadings-retaken-from-insurgents-idUSKBN2800UD; “ISCAP Claims Killing 21 Christian ‘Militiamen’ and Burning Church in Butembo (DR Congo), Capturing Muidumbe (Mozambique),” SITE Intelligence Group, November 1, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; and Hannah Kuperman and Luc Sasseville, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 2, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 2, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-2-2020.

[5] “3 Soldiers Dead, Several People Hurt in Somalia Blast,” Anadolu Agency, November 18, 2020, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/3-soldiers-dead-several-people-hurt-in-somalia-blast/2049064; and Hannah Kuperman and Luc Sasseville, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 18, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 18, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-18-2020.

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Yemen: Saudi Arabia expresses willingness to sign nationwide ceasefire in Yemen; Saudi-coalition claims to conduct airstrikes on al Houthi militants in al Jawf governorate

Horn of Africa: Unidentified militants kill several people in northern DRC; al Shabaab claims suicide attack in Mogadishu; SNA forces reportedly capture al Shabaab officials in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief:

The Saudi government reportedly expressed its willingness to sign a UN-proposed nationwide ceasefire. The kingdom is reportedly willing to ease the air and sea blockade it implemented in Yemen in exchange for the al Houthi movement’s acceptance of a buffer zone along Yemen’s northern border with Saudi Arabia.[1]

The Saudi-led coalition claimed conducting several airstrikes on al Houthi militants in the Amhour area of Bart al Anan district in northern Yemen’s al Jawf governorate on November 18. The Saudi-led coalition previously claimed conducting airstrikes on al Houthi militants in al Dhahra front in al Jawf governorate on November 16.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

A Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) official claimed on November 17 that militants killed at least twenty-nine civilians in Virunga National Park in eastern DRC’s North Kivu province. The victims were possibly escapees from the Islamic State Central Africa Province’s (ISCA) claimed prison raid in mid-October, according to local sources.[3]

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that targeted a police academy in Hamar Jajab district in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on November 17. The attack killed six people and injured at least ten others. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that targeted a military base in Mogadishu in early August.[4]

Somali National Army (SNA) forces reportedly captured three senior al Shabaab officials and destroyed a militant training base in central Somalia’s Hiraan region. SNA and African Union Mission in Somalia forces claimed to kill an al Shabaab official in Jalalaqsi town in Hiraan region in January 2019.[5]


[1] “Saudi Arabia stipulates a buffer zone with Yemen to stop the war,” 7adramout, November 18, 2020, https://www.7adramout.net/yafa-news/7528197/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D8%B4%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%B7-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B7%D9%82%D8%A9-%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%B2%D9%84%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%84%D9%88%D9%82%D9%81-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B1%D8%A8.html ; and Aziz el Yaakoubi, “Saudis seek buffer zone with Yemen in return for ceasefire – sources,” Reuters, November 17, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN27X20B.

[2] “The coalition aviation targets reinforcements for Houthi militias in Al-Jawf,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, November 18, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/185560; and Luc Sasseville and Hannah Kuperman, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 16, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, November 16, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-16-2020.

[3] “Dozens Killed in Eastern DRC in Latest Attacks Blamed on ADF,” Al Jazeera, November 17, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/17/dozens-killed-in-eastern-dr-congo-adf-militia-blamed; and Hannah Kuperman and Luc Sasseville, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 2, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 2, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-2-2020; and Hannah Kuperman and Sarah Gordon, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 21, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 21, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-october-21-2020.

[4] “Shabaab Claims Suicide Bombing at Somali Police HQ in Mogadishu, Reports 26 Casualties,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 17, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; “At least Six Dead After Suicide Bomber Attacks Restaurant in Somali Capital,” Hiiraan, November 17, 2020, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2020/Nov/180745/at_least_six_dead_after_suicide_bomber_attacks_restaurant_in_somali_capital.aspx; and Jessica Kocan and Rahma Bayrakdar, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 2, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 2, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-october-2-2020.

[5] “Somali Army Captures Three Al Shabaab Leaders in Hiiraan Region,” Hiiraan, November 17, 2020, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2020/Nov/180743/somali_army_captures_three_al_shabaab_leaders_in_hiiraan_region.aspx; “Somali, AU Troops Carry Out a Joint Operation in Central Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, January 28, 2019, http://radioshabelle.com/somali-au-troops-carry-out-a-joint-operation-in-central-somalia/.

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Yemen: Saudi-led coalition claims killing al Houthi officials in airstrikes in northern Yemen

Horn of Africa: SNA forces claim killing suspected al Shabaab leader in southern Somalia; IS-linked militants threaten attack in Mozambique’s Mueda district

Yemen Security Brief:

The Saudi-led coalition claimed to kill several al Houthi officials in an airstrike in al Dhahra front in northern Yemen’s al Jawf governorate on November 16. Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government claimed surrounding al Jawf governorate’s capital in early November.[1]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Somali National Army forces claimed to kill a suspected al Shabaab leader following operations in southern Somalia’s Middle and Lower Shabelle regions on November 15. Somalia’s Danab special forces allegedly killed a top al Shabaab commander in Afgoi town in Lower Shabelle in late October.[2]

Islamic State–linked militants threatened to attack Mueda district in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province. The insurgents urged Mueda residents to flee the district by November 20. Islamic State–linked militants reportedly attacked several villages and beheaded more than fifty civilians in Cabo Delgado’s Muidumbe and Macomia districts in early November.[3]


[1] “The commander of the eastern sector of Saada and the deputy of the border guards ... a valuable catch for the Arab coalition aircraft in Al-Jawf,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, November 16, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/185323; and Sarah Gordon and Hannah Kuperman, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 2, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, November 2, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-2-2020.  

[2] “Al-Shabaab Head of Radicalisation Killed in Operation–Somali Army,” Hiiraan, November 16, 2020, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2020/Nov/180727/al_shabaab_head_of_radicalisation_killed_in_operation_somali_army.aspx; and Hannah Kuperman and Sarah Gordon, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 26, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 26, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-october-26-2020.

[3] “Insurgents Threaten to Attack Mueda in 7 Days,” Pinnacle News, November 15, 2020, http://pinnaclenews.net/cabo-delgado-insurgentes-ameacam-atacar-mueda/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cabo-delgado-insurgentes-ameacam-atacar-mueda; “Mozambique Tension in Mueda for Fear of Approaching the Insurgency,” E-global, November 15, 2020, https://e-global.pt/noticias/lusofonia/mocambique/mocambique-tensao-em-mueda-pelo-medo-de-aproximacao-da-insurgencia/; and “Militant Islamists ‘Behead More Than 50’ in Mozambique,” BBC, November 10, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54877202?ref=mwat.

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