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: Saudi-led coalition claims intercepting al Houthi explosive UAV and missiles launched toward Saudi Arabia; UN Special Envoy to Yemen meets with Hadi government officials in Riyadh; Hadi government forces clash with al Houthi militants in Ma’rib governorate; STC forces clash with al Houthi militants in Dhaleh governorate; Hadi government–aligned forces clash with STC-aligned forces in Abyan governorate

Horn of Africa: Galmudug State’s vice president announces campaign against al Shabaab after militants attack local militia base in central Somalia; Islamic State in Somalia claims attack on SNA checkpoint in Somali capital; Mozambican president visits northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province

Yemen Security Brief:

A spokesman for the Saud-led coalition announced that Saudi Arabia intercepted al Houthi explosive unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and ballistic missiles on August 13. Al Houthi militants reportedly launched the explosive UAVs and missiles toward Khamis Mushait city in southwestern Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition previously announced intercepting an al Houthi explosive UAV on August 6.[1]

The UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, met with senior officials of the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, on August 13. They reportedly discussed the UN-led cease-fire proposal between the al Houthi movement and Hadi’s government. They also discussed the need to inspect the abandoned FSO Safer oil tanker off of Yemen’s Red Sea coast. Griffiths previously met with President Hadi in Riyadh in late June.[2]

Hadi government forces reportedly clashed with al Houthi militants in multiple districts of Ma’rib governorate in northern Yemen on August 13 and 14. Hadi government forces previously clashed with al Houthi militants in Ma’rib governorate in late July.[3]

STC forces clashed with al Houthi militants in Qataba district in southern Yemen’s Dhaleh governorate on August 13. STC forces previously clashed with al Houthi militants in Dhaleh governorate in late July.[4]

Hadi government–aligned forces reportedly clashed with forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) in Zinjibar district in southern Yemen’s Abyan governorate on August 13. Hadi government–aligned forces previously clashed with STC-aligned forces in Abyan governorate on August 11.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Galmudug State Vice President Ali Dahir Idd declared on August 13 the start of a military campaign against al Shabaab in central Somalia’s Galgudud and Mudug regions. He said that war planes from Somalia’s international partners would support the campaign. Al Shabaab attacked a local militia base in Mudug region’s Ba’adweyne town after residents refused to pay taxes to the militants on August 12.[6]

The Islamic State in Somalia claimed on August 13 killing a Somali National Army soldier and wounding two other soldiers at a checkpoint in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on August 7. Islamic State in Somalia militants claimed attacking a Somali police station in Mogadishu in mid-May.[7]

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi traveled to Pemba city, the capital of northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, on August 14. He visited a nearby refugee camp occupied by civilians fleeing Islamic State–aligned militants in Cabo Delgado province. Nyusi’s interior minister refused to declare a “state of siege” in Cabo Delgado province on August 13 after Islamic State–aligned militants seized the port town of Mocimboa da Praia on August 11.[8]


[1] “Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Joint Coalition Forces Intercept, Destroy (1) Bomb-Laden UAV, (2) Ballistic Missiles Launched by Iran-Backed Terrorist Houthi Militia Toward the Kingdom,” Saudi Press Agency, August 13, 2020, https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2120363; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 7, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 7, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-07-2020.

[2] “At the conclusion of his visit to Riyadh, Griffith: The consultations touched upon a cease-fire,” 7adramout, August 14, 2020, https://www.7adramout.net/4MAY/7465375/%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%AE%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%B2%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AA%D9%87-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B6%D8%BA%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%81%D9%8A%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AA%D8%B7%D8%B1%D9%82%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%89-%D9%88%D9%82%D9%81-%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B1.html; and Matthew Eady and Zachary Jaynes, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 1, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 1, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-july-1-2020.

[3] “Yemen: Houthi rebels and military forces clash in Marib August 13-14,” GardaWorld, August 14, 2020, https://www.garda.com/crisis24/news-alerts/368916/yemen-houthi-rebels-and-military-forces-clash-in-marib-august-13-14; and Matthew Eady and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 24, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 24, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-july-24-2020.

[4] “Violent clashes broke out on the al Fakhir front, northwest of Dhaleh,” 7adramout, August 14, 2020, https://www.7adramout.net/4MAY/7465031/%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9-%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-%D8%A8%D8%AC%D8%A8%D9%87%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%B1-%D8%B4%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%BA%D8%B1%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9.html; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - July 31, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 31, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-july-31-2020.

[5] “Now, violent confrontations between the Southern Forces and the Brotherhood militia are occurring in Wadi Sale,” Adnlng, August 14, 2020, https://adnlng.info/news/152246/; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 12, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 12, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-12-2020.

[6] “Al Shabaab raids village, kills several civilians in Somalia,” Garowe, August 13, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/al-shabaab-raids-village-kills-several-civilians-in-somalia; “Somali pastoralists, army in fierce fight with Al-Shabaab militants,” Daily Nation, August 14, 2020, https://www.nation.co.ke/kenya/news/africa/somali-pastoralists-army-in-fierce-fight-with-al-shabaab-militants-1918390; “Somali state of Galmudug vows to drive Al-Shabaab out of central regions,” Somali Affairs, August 13, 2020, https://www.somaliaffairs.com/news/somali-state-of-galmudug-vows-to-drive-al-shabaab-out-of-central-regions/.

[7] “ISIS affiliate in Somalia takes responsibility for bomb attack in Mogadishu,” Garowe, August 13, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/isis-affiliate-in-somalia-takes-responsibility-for-bomb-attack-in-mogadishu; and Kalissa Azooz and Muhammad Ramadhito, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 15, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 15, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-may-15-2020.

[8] “Filipe Nyusi continues presidential visit and calls today Cabo Delgado,” O Pais, August 13, 2020, http://opais.sapo.mz/filipe-nyusi-prossegue-visita-presidencial-e-escala-hoje-cabo-delgado; “‘Out of the question the decree of a state of siege in C. Delgado’ - Minister of the Interior,” Radio Mocambique, August 13, 2020, https://www.rm.co.mz/rm.co.mz/index.php/component/k2/item/12492-fora-de-hipotese-a-decretacao-do-estado-de-sitio-em-c-delgado-ministro-do-interior.html; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 12, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 12, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-may-15-2020.

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Yemen: Al Houthi militants claim clearing AQAP militants from territory in al Bayda governorate; President Hadi travels to US for medical treatment; STC-aligned forces exchange artillery with Hadi government–aligned forces in Abyan governorate; Saudi-led coalition forces launch multiple airstrikes on al Houthi sites in several governorates; Hadi government forces clash with al Houthis in al Bayda governorate

Horn of Africa: Islamic State-aligned militants seize port city in northern Mozambique; SNA forces claim killing al Shabaab official in southern Somalia; Tanzanian army announces security patrols on southern border with Mozambique

Yemen Security Brief:

The al Houthi movement claimed clearing al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants from territory in Qayfa district in central Yemen's al Bayda governorate on August 10. AQAP claimed attacking al Houthi militants in al Bayda governorate on August 7.[1]

The president of the internationally recognized Yemeni government, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, reportedly traveled from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to the United States for medical treatment on August 12. He reportedly plans to return to Riyadh next week. President Hadi has visited the US for medical purposes in the past with his most recent trip having been in June 2019.[2]

Hadi government–aligned forces exchanged artillery with forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) in Zinjibar district in southern Yemen’s Abyan governorate on August 11. Hadi government–aligned forces previously clashed with STC-aligned forces in Abyan governorate on August 10.[3]

The Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes targeting al Houthi positions in Sa’ada governorate on August 12 and in al Jawf, al Bayda, and Ma’rib governorates on August 11. The Saudi-led coalition previously launched airstrikes on al Houthi positions in these governorates between late July and early August.[4]

Hadi government forces clashed with al Houthi militants in Qaniya front in al Bayda governorate on August 10. Hadi government forces previously clashed with al Houthi militants in al Bayda governorate on August 9.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Islamic State-aligned militants captured Mocimboa da Praia city in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province on August 11. Mozambican security forces and allied South African mercenaries fought the advancing militants for a week before withdrawing from the city after running out of ammunition. The Islamic State’s Central Africa Province released photos on August 11 displaying weapons and Mozambican soldiers killed during raids targeting two Mozambican military posts near Mocimboa da Praia on August 6.[6]

Somalia’s Chief of Military Staff announced on August 10 that Somali National Army (SNA) forces killed an al Shabaab regional commander in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. The SNA official said that the regional commander orchestrated attacks targeting security forces and governmental officials in the region. He said that the militant also oversaw al Shabaab’s tax collection in Lower Shabelle region. Unidentified militants killed a Somali district commissioner in Wanlaweyn town in Lower Shabelle region in early August.[7]

Tanzanian military officials announced operations intended to boost security in southern Tanzania’s Mbinga district on August 11. The patrols are in reaction to the presence of Islamic State-aligned militants in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, south of Tanzania’s border.[8]


[1] “Al-Qaeda Loses Strategic Sites to Yemeni Army, Popular Committees, in Al-Baidha,” Al Masirah, August 11, 2020, http://english.almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=14366&cat_id=1; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 7, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 7, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-07-2020.

[2] “Yemen president Hadi to head to U.S. for medical treatment, sources say,” Reuters, August 12, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-president/yemen-president-hadi-to-head-to-u-s-for-medical-treatment-sources-say-idUSKCN2572HS?il=0.

[3] “The intensification of confrontations between the National Army and the STC militia in Abyan…the latest developments, Mareb Press, August 11, 2020, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=166177; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 10, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 10, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-10-2020.

[4] “Coalition fighters bomb Houthi groups in Saada,” 7adramout, August 12, 2020, https://www.7adramout.net/almashhadalaraby/7463238/%D9%85%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81-%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%B5%D9%81-%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%B9-%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%AB%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B5%D8%B9%D8%AF%D8%A9.html; “Coalition fighters double the militia losses in the Saba region after carrying out 18 raids on the Houthis,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, August 12, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/175181; Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 7, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 7, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-07-2020; Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 10, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 10, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-10-2020; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 27, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 27, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-july-27-2020.

[5] “The Houthi militia suffers 30 deaths in Al-Bayda battles, and the National Army announces new victories,” Mareb Press, August 11, 2020, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=166179; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 10, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 10, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-10-2020.

[6] Adre Baptista, “Insurgents capture port of Mocímboa da Praia and Islamic State releases images,” Voice of America Portuguese, August 12, 2020, https://www.voaportugues.com/a/insurgentes-capturam-porto-de-moc%C3%ADmboa-da-praia-e-estado-isl%C3%A2mico-divulga-imagens/5540447.html; “ISCAP Documents Result of Clashes in Mocimboa da Praia, Shows Corpses and War Spoils,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 11, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; and Samuel Bloebaum and Matthew Eady, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 07, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 7, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-07-2020.

[7] “Somali troops kill senior Al-Shabaab commander in operation,” Garowe, August 10, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somali-troops-kill-senior-al-shabaab-commander-in-operation; and Samuel Bloebaum and Matthew Eady, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 3, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 3, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-07-2020.

[8] “TPDF to launch a manhunt along the border with Mozambique,” The Citizen, August 11, 2020, https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/news/TPDF-to-launch-a-manhunt-along-the-border-with-Mozambique/1840340-5607474-6wv92oz/index.html.

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Yemen: Saudi-led coalition forces launch airstrikes on al Houthis in al Bayda governorate; Hadi government–aligned forces exchange artillery with STC-aligned forces in Abyan governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militant detonates SVBIED targeting SNA base in Somali capital; unidentified militants attempt assassinating Somali intelligence official in central Somalia; US Department of State releases travel advisory for northern Mozambique

 Yemen Security Brief:

Saudi-led coalition forces launched airstrikes targeting al Houthi positions in Quraishyah district in central Yemen’s al Bayda governorate on August 10. Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi reportedly clashed with al Houthi militants in Qaniya front in al Bayda governorate on August 9.[1]

Hadi government–aligned forces exchanged artillery with forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) near Shaqra city in southern Yemen’s Abyan governorate on August 10. Hadi government–aligned forces previously clashed with STC-aligned forces in Abyan governorate on August 6.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

An al Shabaab militant detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Wardhigley district of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on August 8. The blast killed at least nine SNA soldiers and wounded about 20 more, according to local officials and witnesses. Al Shabaab claimed killing over 24 SNA soldiers and wounding 32 others. An al Shabaab militant detonated a suicide vest targeting SNA soldiers at a restaurant in Mogadishu’s Hamar Jajab district on August 3.[3]

Unidentified militants attempted to assassinate a senior Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) officer in Guriel town in central Somalia’s Galgadud region on August 7. The grenade attack targeting the NISA agent’s house caused no casualties. An al Shabaab grenade attack killed a Somali district commissioner in Wanlaweyn town in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on August 2.[4]

The US Department of State released a travel advisory for northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province on August 7. The release advised people against travelling to most of Cabo Delgado’s districts, including its capital, due to the presence of armed extremists. The Islamic State’s Central Africa Province claimed attacking two Mozambican military posts in Cabo Delgado province on August 6.[5]


[1] “The coalition targets Houthi militia gatherings and military vehicles in al Bayda,” 7adramout, August 10, 2020, https://www.7adramout.net/aden24/7461872/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81-%D9%8A%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%AF%D9%81-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%88%D8%A2%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%B9%D8%B3%D9%83%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%84%D9%85%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%B4%D9%8A%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%AB%D9%8A-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%A1.html.

[2] “Now there is an exchange of artillery shelling between the southern forces and the brotherhood militia in Shaqra,” Adnlng, August 10, 2020, http://adnlng.info/news/152008/; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 7, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 7, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-07-2020.

[3] Mohamed Olad Hassan, “Suicide Bombing on Somalia Military Base Kills Nine,” Voice of America, August 8, 2020, https://www.voanews.com/africa/suicide-bombing-somalia-military-base-kills-nine; “Shabaab Reports 56 Casualties as Initial Toll of Suicide Bombing at SNA Base in Mogadishu,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 8, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 3, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 3, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-3-2020.

[4] “Somali intelligence official survives bomb attack,” Garowe, August 9, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somali-intelligence-official-survives-bomb-attack; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 3, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 3, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-3-2020.

[5] “Mozambique Travel Advisory,” US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs, August 7, 2020, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/mozambique-travel-advisory.html; and Samuel Bloebaum and Matthew Eady, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 7, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 7, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-07-2020/

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