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

Horn of Africa: Somalia’s Lower House of Parliament votes to hold direct presidential elections by 2023; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM base in Middle Shabelle region; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM and SNA troops in Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab targets Bay region’s governor in suicide attack; SNA announces anti–al Shabaab operation in Galgudud region

Yemen Security Brief:

The al Houthi movement claimed to launch a large-scale attack targeting Saudi Arabia on April 12. The militants claimed to target Saudi Aramco oil refineries with 10 Samad-3 drones in Jeddah and Jubail cities located in the kingdom’s Hejaz and Eastern regions, respectively. Saudi Arabia has not yet confirmed the attack. The Saudi-led coalition claimed to intercept several al Houthi drones targeting Khamis Mushait and Jizan, respectively located in the kingdom’s southwestern Asir and Jizan regions on April 11.[i]

Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clashed along the Jabal Murad front of central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on April 10. The Saudi-led coalition reportedly launched airstrikes on Sirwah and Madghal districts of Ma’rib governorate the same day.[ii]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Somalia’s Lower House of Parliament voted on April 12 to hold direct presidential elections by 2023 and to extend the term of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” until the elections. President Farmajo’s presidential mandate expired on February 8, when the Somali Federal Government failed to hold presidential elections.[iii]

Al Shabaab attacked a Burundian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base in Burane area, near Mahaday town in central Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region on April 12. Al Shabaab attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base near Mahaday town on April 8.[iv]

Al Shabaab attacked a Kenyan AMISOM base in Kismayo city in southern Somalia’s Lower Jubba region on April 12. Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device targeting SNA troops in Afmadow in Lower Jubba region the same day.[v]

An al Shabaab militant detonated a suicide vest in Baidoa, the capital of southern Somalia’s Bay region, targeting the Bay region’s governor on April 10. Al Shabaab attacked a government checkpoint in Baidoa on April 3.[vi]

The SNA announced that its 21st division launched an operation targeting al Shabaab strongholds in central Somalia’s Galgudud region on April 9. Al Shabaab claimed ambushing a vehicle and killing the commander of the 21st division in Galgudud’s Dhusamareb city on April 3.[vii]

[i] “The Houthi terrorist group announces massive attacks on Saudi Arabia,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, April 12, 2021,

[ii] “15 Houthis were killed by army fire in the southern outskirts of Marib,” 26Sep News, April 10, 2021,; and “Aggression’s aviation launches nine raids on Marib and al Jawf,” Saba News, April 10, 2021,

[iii] Hassan Barise, “Somalia's parliament votes to extend president's mandate,” ABC News, April 12, 2021,; and “Somalia Lower House extends Farmajo's term amid pre-election stalemate,” Garowe, April 12, 2021,

[iv] Liibaan Jeexoow, “Attack on soldiers killed in Balad district and other news,” Somalimemo, April 12, 2021,;  and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 9, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 9, 2021,

[v] Liibaan Jeexoow, “Attack on soldiers killed in Balad district and other news,” Somalimemo, April 12, 2021,; and Liibaan Jeexoow, “Explosion in Afmadow district causes heavy casualties,” Somalimemo, April 12, 2021,

[vi] “Shabaab Claims Assassination Attempt via Suicide Bombing on Bay Regional Governor,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 10, 2021, available by subscription at; “Several dead as suicide bombing targets Somali regional governor,” Al Jazeera, April 10, 2021,; and Liibaan Jeexoow, “Soldiers killed in Baidoa and an envoy targeted in Belet Xaawo district,” Somalimemo, April 3, 2021,

[vii] “Somali army launches operation on al-Shabab strongholds,” Xinhua News, April 9, 2021,; and Liibaan Jeexoow, “Attack kills senior officer on outskirts of Dhusamareb, Somalimemo, April 3, 2021,

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