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 capturing several Saudi-led coalition areas in al Jawf governorate; al Houthis approve UN proposal for implementing prisoner swap with Hadi government; al Houthis shell residential areas in al Hudaydah governorate
Horn of Africa: AFRICOM confirms death of al Shabaab leader in south-central Somalia; AFRICOM conducts airstrike targeting al Shabaab in southern Somalia; al Shabaab ambushes SNA troops in southern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
Al Houthi militants claimed recapturing the Saudi-led coalition’s al Khanjar camp in Khub wa al Shaf district in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen on April 7. Al Houthi militants also claimed control over Buraq al Sheraa and other unspecified Saudi-led coalition sites in the district. Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi gained control of al Khanjar camp in early March.
The head of the al Houthi movement’s Prisoner Affairs Committee, Abdul Qader al Murtada, released a statement on April 6 approving the UN’s proposal for implementing a large-scale prisoner exchange between the al Houthi movement and the Hadi government. Both parties agreed to the exchange in mid-February. The UN proposal suggests implementing the exchange in two stages, in which both sides exchange 1030 prisoners each during the first stage and 390 prisoners each during the second. The al Houthi movement claimed that it is waiting on the Hadi government’s response to the proposal. This large-scale prisoner exchange is a key stipulation of the December 2018 UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement.
Al Houthi militants shelled residential neighborhoods in Hays city in al Hudaydah governorate in western Yemen, according to local sources. The shelling injured a civilian. Hadi government forces clashed with al Houthi militants in Saleh city in al Hudaydah governorate in mid-March.
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed on April 7 that one of its airstrikes killed senior al Shabaab leader Yusuf Jiis near Bush Madina in south-central Somalia’s Bay region on April 2. AFRICOM identified Jiis as a foundational member of al Shabaab who held a variety of positions within the militant organization. An AFRICOM airstrike killed a top al Shabaab military commander in Saakow in southern Somalia’s Middle Jubba region in late February.
AFRICOM conducted an airstrike killing five al Shabaab militants near Jilib in southern Somalia’s Middle Jubba region on April 6. AFRICOM promised to investigate allegations from local media that claimed this strike killed at least two civilians. AFRICOM announced on March 31 that it would begin releasing quarterly investigative reports over allegations concerning civilian airstrike casualties in Somalia. 
Al Shabaab ambushed Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in Janaale in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on April 6, according to local witnesses. Al Shabaab claimed the attack killed four Turkish-trained SNA soldiers. The SNA captured Janaale from al Shabaab with military support from the African Union Mission to Somalia and AFRICOM in mid-March.
 “Yemen’s Houthis recapture al-khanjar camp near Saudi border, Middle East Monitor, April 7, 2020, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200407-yemens-houthis-recapture-al-khanjar-camp-near-saudi-border/; and “Government forces again control the strategic Al-Khanjer camp in Yemen’ jawf,” Debriefer, March 10, 2020, https://debriefer.net/en/news-15527.html.
 “The Houthi group announced its approval of an international proposal regarding the prisoners,” Al Jazeera, April 7, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2020/4/7/الحوثي-اليمن-أسرى; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 18, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 18, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-february-18-2020.
 “A citizen was wounded by houthi militia’s shelling of residential neighborhoods in the city of Hayes,” Al Amalika, April 7, 2020. https://alamalika.net/site/2020/04/07/%d8%a5%d8%b5%d8%a7%d8%a8%d8%a9-%d9%85%d9%88%d8%a7%d8%b7%d9%86-%d8%ac%d8%b1%d8%a7%d8%a1-%d9%82%d8%b5%d9%81-%d9%85%d9%84%d9%8a%d8%b4%d9%8a%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ad%d9%88%d8%ab%d9%8a-%d8%b9%d9%84/; 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.
 “Precision airstrike eliminated al-Shabaab senior leader,” AFRICOM, April 7, 2020, https://www.africom.mil/media-room/pressrelease/32664/precision-airstrike-eliminated-al-shabaab-senior-leader; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 9, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 9, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-9-2020.
 “Federal Government of Somalia, AFRICOM target al-Shabaab,” AFRICOM, April 7, 2020, https://www.africom.mil/media-room/pressrelease/32663/federal-government-of-somalia-africom-target-al-shabaab; “Deadly strike kills civilians near JILIB town in Somalia,” Mareeg, April 7, 2020, https://mareeg.com/deadly-strike-kills-civilians-near-jilib-town-in-somalia/; 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.
 “Four soldiers killed in al Shabaab ambush attack,” Mareeg, April 6, 2020, https://mareeg.com/four-soldiers-killed-in-al-shabaab-ambush-attack/; and Samuel Bloebaum and Pamela Makadsi, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 17, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 17, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-17-2020.