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: Islamic State claims attack on AQAP in western al Bayda; CENTCOM confirms eight airstrikes in Yemen against AQAP; AQAP attacks Saudi-backed security forces in Hadramawt; al Houthi forces deny UN access to grain stores in al Hudaydah city

Horn of Africa: Somali special forces capture al Shabaab-held village southwest of Mogadishu; Jubbaland security forces conduct operations in southern Somalia; Kenya accuses the UN of funding al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

The Islamic State in Yemen claimed to attack al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Dhi Kalib al Ala in the Qayfa area of western al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on April 1. The Islamic State claimed to wound or kill ten AQAP militants in the clash.[1]

United States Central Command (U.S. CENTCOM) confirmed eight airstrikes against AQAP in Yemen on April 1. CENTCOM conducted the airstrikes between January and April 2019. CENTCOM conducted multiple strikes on March 25 and March 30 in Sawma district in eastern al Bayda governorate.[2]

AQAP detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a vehicle of Saudi-backed Yemeni security forces in Sayun city in Hadramawt governorate in eastern Yemen on April 2. AQAP fighters also fired on the security forces, killing four soldiers and injuring multiple others.[3]

Al Houthi forces denied a UN and World Food Program technical team access to grain stores at the Red Sea Mills in al Hudaydah city in western Yemen on April 2. Al Houthi forces prevented the team from crossing from al Houthi-held territory to territory held by Saudi-led coalition-backed forces, where the mills are located. The Red Sea Mills are critical for the delivery of humanitarian assistance in western Yemen.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali Danab special forces captured the al Shabaab-controlled village of Sabiid 40 km southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu on April 1. Danab forces recovered an al Shabaab tanker truck filled with explosives. The explosive device may have been one of the largest bombs al Shabaab has ever created, according to local media. Somali police separately arrested an al Shabaab assassin in the Daynile district of Mogadishu on April 1 after the assassin killed a Somali National Army (SNA) soldier.[5]

Jubbaland security forces conducted operations against al Shabaab in the Gedo, Lower Jubba, and Middle Jubba regions of southern Somalia on April 1. Jubbaland forces received air support from foreign fighter jets during the operations. Jubbaland forces did not state whether they seized any territory.[6]

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau accused the UN of funding al Shabaab on March 30. Kamau claimed that the UN gives 10 percent of its humanitarian aid to Somalia to al Shabaab in order to gain safe passage for its aid to al Shabaab-controlled areas.[7]

View our Yemen, Kenya, and Somalia story streams.

[1] “IS claims killing and wounding 10 AQAP fighters in Yemen,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 2, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[2] “CENTCOM Yemen Strike Summary Jan.1 - Apr. 1, 2019,” CENTCOM, April 1, 2019,

[3] “URGENT An armed attack targeting a security patrol in Sayoun and the deaths and injuries,” al Mashad al Yemeni, April 2, 2019,; and “Several soldiers were killed and wounded in an attack in Sayoun,” Barakish, April 2, 2019,

[4] Aziz El Yaakoubi, Mohamed Ghobari, and Lisa Barrington, “Yemen’s Houthis deny U.N. access to Hudaydah mills for ‘safety reasons’: sources,” Reuters, April 2, 2019,

[5] “Somalia army seizes key base from Al Shabaab,” Mareeg, April 1, 2019,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 1, 2019,; and “Somalia: Al Shabaab assassin arrested in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, April 1, 2019,

[6] “Jubbaland and foreign forces carry out anti-al-Shabaab offensive,” Radio Shabelle, April 1, 2019,

[7] “Kenya accuses UN of funding Al Shabaab,” Mareeg, April 2, 2019,; and Amb. Macharia Kamau, Twitter, March 30, 2019,

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