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 Qaeda Central eulogizes former AQAP leader and approves his successor; Saudi plane carrying newly trained Hadi government forces arrives in Aden city; al Houthis claim intercepting Saudi-led coalition planes
Horn of Africa: AFRICOM conducts airstrike killing al Shabaab militants in south-central Somalia; al Shabaab claims overrunning Jubbaland State security forces base in southwestern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
Al Qaeda Central eulogized former al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Qasim al Raymi and approved his successor, Khaled Batarfi, on March 30. The eulogy mentioned Raymi’s time training in Afghanistan before returning to Yemen and praised Batarfi’s leadership and experience. Batarfi pledged allegiance to al Qaeda Central leader Ayman al Zawahiri in a video released in mid-March.
A Saudi military plane carrying Saudi-backed forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi reportedly arrived in Aden city in southern Yemen from Saudi Arabia on April 2. A Saudi committee responsible for implementing the November 2019 Riyadh Agreement reportedly trained the troops to be responsible for securing government buildings previously controlled by the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces in Aden. The Riyadh Agreement called for a power-sharing agreement between the Hadi government and the UAE-backed STC forces in southern Yemen.
Al Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea released a statement on April 2 claiming that the al Houthi air defense system intercepted Saudi-led coalition warplanes flying over al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen. Sarea claimed that the al Houthi militants intercepted a Saudi-led coalition fighter jet in al Jawf governorate in mid-March.
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
US Africa Command conducted an airstrike killing three al Shabaab militants near Bush Madina in south-central Somalia’s Bay region on April 2. AFRICOM conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab near Buulo Fuulay in the Bay region on March 27.
Al Shabaab claimed overrunning a Jubbaland State security forces base near Dhobley in southwestern Somalia’s Lower Jubba region on March 31. Jubbaland State security forces have not yet commented on this attack. Locals reportedly heard gunfire exchanged between the militants and Jubbaland State security forces. The African Union Mission to Somalia established a new military base for the Somali National Army near Dhobley in late March.
 “Al-Qaeda central mourns former AQAP leader Qassim al-rimi, blessed successor,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 1, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 23, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 23, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-23-2020.
 “Military forces arrive in Aden International airport on a Saudi plane,” al Mashhad al Yemeni, April 3, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/161998; and James Barnett, “Yemen File – November 7, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 8, 2019, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/yemen-file/yemen-file-november-7-2019.
 “Yemen’s houthi air defences intercept Saudi warplanes over jawf,” Middle East monitor, April 3, 2020, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200403-yemens-houthi-air-defences-intercept-saudi-warplanes-over-jawf/; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 16, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 16, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-16-2020.
 “Federal Government of Somalia, AFRICOM target al-Shabaab,” AFRICOM, April 3, 2020, https://www.africom.mil/media-room/pressrelease/32659/federal-government-of-somalia-africom-target-al-shabaab; and Jessica Kocan and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 30, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 30, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review.
 “Al-Shabaab Took Over Areas in Lower Jubba,” Radio Dalsan, April 2, 2020, https://www.radiodalsan.com/en/2020/04/02/al-shabaab-took-over-areas-in-lower-jubba/; “Shabaab Claims Multiple Assassinations, Bombings in 2nd Consecutive Week of Frequent Military Activity,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 2, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 24, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 24, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-24-2020.