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: IS in Yemen claims first attack in Dhaleh governorate; al Houthis clash with Hadi government forces in Ma’rib governorate; WFP to reduce humanitarian aid to al Houthi-controlled areas
Horn of Africa: AFRICOM conducts airstrikes in southern Somalia; al Shabaab detonates IED targeting AMISOM convoy in south-central Somalia; Mozambican government allegedly uses mercenaries to attack IS-affiliated militants in northern Mozambique
Yemen Security Brief:
The Islamic State (IS) in Yemen claimed its first attack in Dhaleh governorate in southern Yemen on April 9. IS militants detonated two improvised explosive devices targeting an al Houthi vehicle in Juban district in al Dhaleh governorate on April 4, killing three al Houthi militants. IS in Yemen has previously conducted attacks in Dhaleh’s neighboring governorates, al Bayda and Ibb. IS militants claimed an attack on al Houthi militants in Qayfa in al Bayda governorate in early March.
Al Houthi militants clashed with Saudi-backed forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on several fronts in Ma’rib governorate in northern Yemen on April 9 and 10, respectively. Al Houthi militants attacked Hadi government forces in an attempt to advance toward Ma’rib governorate, according to local sources. Hadi government forces reportedly inflicted several al Houthi militant casualties during the clashes. Saudi-backed Hadi government forces claimed attacking al Houthi militants in Sirwah district in Ma’rib governorate in late March.
The World Food Program (WFP) plans to reduce aid to al Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, citing funding shortages. Yemeni families will begin receiving aid every other month instead of monthly starting mid-April, according to WFP. The US Trump administration suspended humanitarian aid to Yemen in late March, citing the al Houthi movement’s corruption. Al Houthi militants seized WFP humanitarian supplies in early April, preventing aid distribution in Hajjah governorate in northern Yemen.
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted two airstrikes targeting al Shabaab in southern Somalia on April 9 and 10, respectively. The first airstrike killed nine al Shabaab militants during an attack on Somali Danab special forces and Jubbaland State security forces near Kobon in Middle Jubba region on April 9. The second airstrike killed one militant near Jilib in Middle Jubba region on April 10. AFRICOM conducted an airstrike killing five al Shabaab militants near Jilib on April 6.
Al Shabaab targeted an African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) convoy using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and firearms travelling between Somalia’s capital Mogadishu and Bal’ad in southern Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region on April 9. The assault injured at least two civilians and damaged an AMISOM vehicle. Al Shabaab detonated two IEDs targeting an AMISOM convoy between Mogadishu and Bal’ad on April 8.
The Mozambican government allegedly hired mercenaries to attack Islamic State-aligned Ahlu Sunna wa Jama’a (ASWJ) militants in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province. The mercenaries reportedly used attack helicopters to strafe ASWJ bases near Muede on April 8 and near Mbau and Muidumbe on April 9. Local media identified the mercenaries as either South African or Russian. The Islamic State’s Central Africa Province claimed on April 7 overrunning a Mozambican Army post in Muidumbe the day prior.
 “IS claims first attack in Yemen’s Dhale governorate, bombing houthi vehicle,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 9, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 27, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 27, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-27-2020.
 “Violent fighting broke out on various fronts between ma’rib between the army and the houthis,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, April 10, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/162716; and Jessica Kocan and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 31, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 31, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-31-2020.
 “World Food Programme to cut aid by half in houthi-controlled areas,” BBC, April 10, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-52239645; Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 2, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 2, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-2-2020; and Missy Ryan, “As coronavirus looms, U.S. proceeding with major reduction of aid to Yemen, Washington Post, March 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/as-coronavirus-looms-us-proceeds-with-dramatic-reduction-of-aid-to-yemen/2020/03/26/61c15a00-6f77-11ea-96a0-df4c5d9284af_story.html?utm_campaign=20200327&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sailthru.
 “Somali, U.S. forces engage insurgents in support of the Federal Government of Somalia,” AFRICOM, April 10, 2020, https://www.africom.mil/media-room/pressrelease/32667/somali-u-s-forces-engage-insurgents-in-support-of-the-federal-government-of-somalia; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 7, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 7, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-7-2020.
 Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 9, 2020, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1248258373226844163; and “Shabaab Claims Multiple Attacks Along Somalia-Kenya Border, 3 Consecutive Days of Ops on Ethiopian Forces,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 9, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com.
 Peter Fabricius, “‘SA private military contractors’ and Mozambican airforce conduct major air attacks on Islamist extremists,” Daily Maverick, April 9, 2020, https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-04-09-sa-private-military-contractors-and-mozambican-airforce-conduct-major-air-attacks-on-islamist-extremists/; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 9, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 9, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-9-2020.