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: AQAP claims attacking al Houthis in al Bayda governorate; Saudi-led coalition forces and al Houthis accuse each other of attacking oil pumping station in Ma’rib governorate; al Houthis shell prisoner in Taiz governorate; Saudi-led coalition forces claim recapturing al Houthi-held territory in al Bayda governorate
Horn of Africa: AFRICOM conducts airstrikes targeting al Shabaab in southern Somalia; al Shabaab detonates IED targeting Hirshabelle State administrators in central Somalia; al Shabaab ambushes Ethiopian troops in southwestern Somalia; NISA announces investigation into prominent Somali journalist over contact with al Shabaab
Yemen Security Brief:
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed attacks targeting al Houthi militants in Tayyab in al Bayda governorate in southern Yemen. AQAP claimed ambushing al Houthi militants on April 3 and detonating an improvised explosive device targeting al Houthi militants on April 4. AQAP released a statement in mid-March claiming that it killed an al Houthi militant in Tayyab.
Saudi-led coalition forces and al Houthi militants accused each other of attacking an oil pipeline pumping station in Sirwah district in Ma’rib governorate in northern Yemen on April 4. The oil ministry of the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi blamed the al Houthi movement for the attack while an al Houthi official pointed at the coalition forces, citing the attack as a dangerous escalation between the parties. A Hadi government-owned oil company operates the oil station, which has reportedly not pumped any oil through it for years.
Al Houthi militants shelled a prison in Taiz governorate in southwestern Yemen on April 5. The shelling killed six female prisoners and injured others. The deputy governor of Taiz stated that the al Houthi militants shelled other areas in Taiz on the same day. The al Houthi militants denied responsibility for the prison attack, blaming Saudi-led coalition forces instead.
Saudi-backed Hadi government forces claimed seizing al Houthi-held territory on several fronts in al Bayda governorate in southern Yemen on April 6. Saudi-backed Hadi government forces claimed seizing Bayad and Laban mountains and al Khaddar on Qaniya front.
Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al Maliki accused al Houthi militants of launching a ballistic missile toward a civilian area in al Safra district in Sa’ada governorate in northern Yemen from Sana’a governorate on April 5. Saudi-backed Hadi government forces claimed seizing an area from the al Houthi militants in al Safra district on March 30.
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted four airstrikes targeting al Shabaab in southern Somalia. One airstrike killed five al Shabaab militants near Bush Madina in south-central Somalia’s bay region on April 3. The other three airstrikes killed eight militants near Mubarak in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on April 5. AFRICOM conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab near Bush Madina on April 2.
Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Hirshabelle State administrators in Jowhar in central Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region on April 4. The blast killed one civilian and wounded a Hirshabelle State member of parliament, the El Baraf District Commissioner, and two civilians. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. Al Shabaab detonated an IED killing the governor of Somalia’s Nugal region in Garowe in central Somalia’s Nugal region on March 29.
Al Shabaab ambushed an Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) convoy near Luuq in southwestern Somalia’s Gedo region on April 3. Local media reported unspecified Ethiopian troop and al Shabaab militant casualties. ENDF troops not associated with the African Union Mission to Somalia crossed the Somali-Ethiopian border into the Gedo region on March 22.
Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) announced an investigation on April 2 into Somali journalist Harun Maruf’s contact with al Shabaab. Maruf is among the most prominent investigative journalists in Somalia and often interviews al Shabaab members for his reporting. Officials from the US embassy in Mogadishu criticized NISA’s announcement on April 5, citing that it threatens press freedom in Somalia.
 Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, April 5, 2020, https://twitter.com/Dr_E_Kendall/status/1246753396138352640; and Pamela Makadsi and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 18, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 18, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-18-2020.
 “Yemen’s warring parties accuse each other of attacking pipeline,” Reuters, April 5, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-oil-saudi/yemens-warring-parties-accuse-each-other-of-attacking-pipeline-idUSKBN21N06X.
 “Houthis kill 6 in shelling of female section of Taiz prison,” Middle East Monitor, April 6, 2020, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200406-yemen-houthis-kill-6-in-shelling-of-female-section-of-taiz-prison/.
 “Houthis launch ballistic missile attack against Yemen’s Saada,” Arab News, April 6, 2020, https://www.arabnews.com/node/1653506/middle-east; and Samuel Bloebaum and Jessica Kocan, “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.
 “Federal Government of Somalia, AFRICOM target al-Shabaab,” AFRICOM, April 4, 2020, https://www.africom.mil/media-room/pressrelease/32660/federal-government-of-somalia-africom-target-al-shabaab; “Federal Government of Somalia, AFRICOM target al-Shabaab,” AFRICOM, April 6, 2020, https://www.africom.mil/media-room/pressrelease/32661/federal-government-of-somalia-africom-target-al-shabaab; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 3, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 3, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-3-2020.
 “One dead, MP among several wounded in Al-Shabaab IED blast in Somalia,” Garowe, April 6, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/one-dead-mp-among-several-wounded-in-al-shabaab-ied-blast-in-somalia; 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/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-30-2020.
 “Ethiopian troops ambushed by Al-Shabaab in Gedo after crossing over to Somalia,” Garowe, April 5, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/ethiopian-troops-ambushed-by-al-shabaab-in-gedo-after-crossing-over-to-somalia; 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.
 NISA, Twitter, April 2, 2020, https://twitter.com/hsnq_nisa?lang=en; and US Embassy Mogadishu, Somalia, Twitter, April 5, 2020, https://twitter.com/US2SOMALIA/status/1246767185139249152.