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: Hadi government forces and STC forces agree to forming joint security administration in Abyan governorate; al Houthis accuse Saudi-led coalition of launching airstrikes in Sana’a
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab executes alleged spies in southern Somalia; AFRICOM denies civilian casualty claims from pro-al Shabaab media; al Shabaab official celebrates coronavirus outbreak in the West
Yemen Security Brief:
Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)- backed Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) forces reportedly agreed to form a joint security administration in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on April 14. The governor of Abyan, military officials from both sides, and tribal dignitaries reached this agreement under Saudi supervision to end tensions in Abyan governorate, according to a Hadi military source. The Saudi-led coalition and UAE have not yet commented on this agreement. UAE-backed STC forces clashed with Saudi-backed Hadi government forces in Lahij governorate in southern Yemen on April 13.
Al Houthi militants accused Saudi-led coalition forces of launching airstrikes on Hamdan and Khawlan districts in the Yemeni capital Sana’a on April 16. Al Houthi militants previously accused Saudi-led coalition forces of launching airstrikes on several governorates in Yemen since the Saudi-led coalition announced a unilateral two-week cease-fire in Yemen that began on April 9.
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
Al Shabaab executed six men in Jamaame in southern Somalia’s Middle Jubba region on April 15. An al Shabaab judge accused the men of spying for the Somali, Jubbaland State, and South West State governments. Al Shabaab executed six alleged spies in Buale in Middle Jubba region in late March.
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) denied on April 15 a pro-al Shabaab media claim that an airstrike killed a civilian near Jamaame on April 10. Pro-al Shabaab media outlet Somalimemo reported that the airstrike killed an innocent local clan leader who had provided humanitarian assistance during recent flooding. AFRICOM said that the airstrike targeted and killed one al Shabaab militant after observing the militant publicly displaying Somali National Army troop corpses to intimidate villagers near Jamaame. US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced on March 31 that it would release quarterly investigative reports over civilian airstrike casualty allegations in Somalia.
Senior al Shabaab member Fuad Mohamed Qalaf, also known as Shongole, celebrated coronavirus deaths in the US and Europe during a speech at a mosque in southern Somalia on April 5. He said that the virus exposed the weakness of “those who claimed to be superpowers.” Shongole led al Shabaab’s celebrations during Eid al Fitr, the last day of Ramadan, in Saakow in Middle Jubba region in June 2019.
 “Hadi government, UAE-backed STC reach security agreement of Abyan,” Middle East Monitor, April 16, 2020, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200416-yemen-hadi-government-uae-backed-stc-reach-security-agreement-on-abyan/; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 14, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 14, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-14-2020.
 “Fresh airstrikes launched against Yemen despite Truce claims,” International Quran News Agency, April 16, 2020, https://iqna.ir/en/news/3471163/fresh-airstrikes-launched-against-yemen-despite-truce-claims; and “National delegation head: aggressive countries confirm that ceasefire is nothing but a maneuver,” Al Masirah, April 16, 2020, https://english.almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=12371&cat_id=1; 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.
 Liibaan Jeexoow, “Spy cell killed in Jamame district in Lower Juba,” Somalimemo, April 15, 2020, https://somalimemo.net/articles/12782/Koox-Jawaasiis-ah-oo-lagu-dilay-degmada-Jamaame-ee-Jubbada-Hoose; 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.
 “Al-Shabaab Releasing False Information Following April 10 Airstrike,” AFRICOM, April 15, 2020, https://www.africom.mil/media-room/pressrelease/32678/al-shabaab-releasing-false-information-following-april-10-airstrike; Liibaan Jeexoow, “US slaughters Shabaab suspect in Jubba region,” Somalimemo, April 10, 2020, https://somalimemo.net/articles/12749/Mareykanka-oo-duqeyn-ku-dilay-Suldaankii-Beesha-Jareerweyne-ee-Jubbooyinka; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 1, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 1, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-1-2020.
 Jason Burke, “Opportunity or threat? How Islamic extremists are reacting to coronavirus,” The Guardian, April 16, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/16/opportunity-or-threat-how-islamic-extremists-reacting-coronavirus; and Riley Mistrot and James Barnett, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - June 5, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, June 5, 2019, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-june-5-2019.