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: STC calls for massive demonstration in Aden; Yemeni Interior Minister announces dismissal of security commanders in southern Yemen; STC-aligned forces conduct raids in Aden; Hadi government-aligned forces clash with al Houthi forces east of Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks SNA and AMISOM base with SVBIEDs in Awdheegle town; SNA claims to injure al Shabaab media chief in raid near Awdheegle; South Korea deploys destroyer to Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy mission

Yemen Security Brief

The Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist organization, announced that it will hold a massive demonstration in Aden, Yemen’s de facto capital, on August 15. STC leaders in Shabwah, Hadramawt, and Abyan governorates announced that thousands of STC supporters are traveling to Aden to participate in the march. The STC seized effective control of Aden from the internationally recognized government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on August 10 after days of clashes.[1]

President Hadi’s Interior Minister, Ahmed al Maysiri, announced the dismissal of multiple security force commanders in Aden whom he accused of collaborating with the STC on August 14.  Al Maysiri dismissed the directors of the Aden and Lahij governorate police forces as well as the commander of the Special Security Forces in Aden, Lahij, Abyan, and Dhaleh governorates. Al Maysiri announced that he would fill the positions with Interior Ministry employees. Al Maysiri also called for investigations into the dismissed security commanders over their alleged involvement in the STC takeover of Aden.[2]

STC-aligned security forces conducted a series of raids against unidentified targets in Aden on August 14. STC-aligned forces also reportedly banned Aden residents from carrying weapons in the city. STC-aligned al Hizam Security Forces in Dofes city in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen separately claimed to intercept a weapons shipment from Ma’rib governorate on August 14. Al Hizam forces claimed that the weapons were en route to Aden.[3]

Hadi government-aligned forces claimed to kill 36 al Houthi soldiers, including 10 field commanders, in clashes along the Nihm front in Sana’a governorate east of the al Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on August 13 and 14.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants conducted a complex attack on a Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base in Awdheegle town in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on August 13. Al Shabaab attacked the base with two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs). The attack killed at least three people. Somali Danab special forces and AMISOM forces seized Awdheegle town from al Shabaab on August 6. Al Shabaab had historically used the town to stage attacks against Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.[5]

The SNA claimed that had it injured the head of al Shabaab’s media branch, Ali Mohamed Rage aka Ali Dhere, in an operation in the Sham area on the outskirts of Awdheegle on August 11. The SNA claimed that it killed 17 other militants in the operation, which AMISOM also participated in.[6]

South Korea deployed a destroyer to the Gulf of Aden on August 13. The destroyer will conduct anti-piracy operations in the region over the next six months as part of a routine deployment.[7]

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[1] “Al Awlaki: Shabwah crowds will go to Aden to support the victories of southern forces,” Hadramawt Net, August 14, 2019,; “Southern calls to mobilize a million to meet and support the transition steps,” Hadramawt Net, August 14, 2019,; and “Massive crowds from Hadramawt head towards the capital Aden,” Hadramawt Net, August 14, 2019,

[2] “Interior Minister topples coup security leaders in Aden, Lahij and Dhaleh,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, August 14, 2019,

[3] “The security of Aden launches a security campaign to clear the capital of terrorist elements and outlaws,” SMA News, August 14, 2019,; “The security belt in Dofes seizes weapons and explosives from Ma’rib to Aden,” Hadramawt Net, August 14, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 12, 2019,” Critical Threats Project, August 12, 2019,

[4] “Battles ignite east of Sana’a, killing and wounding more than 100 Houthis,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, August 14, 2019,; and “Yemeni Army: 36 Houthi militias killed in 48 hours,” Al Arabiya, August 14, 2019,

[5] “Deadly suicide attack hits military base in Somalia,” Mareeg, August 14, 2019,; “Car bomb hits government military base in southern Somalia residents,” Radio Kulmiye, August 14, 2019,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 14, 2019,; and “Shabaab Claims Killing Over 50 Somali Special Forces Amidst 2-Man Suicide Attack and Raid in Lower Shabelle,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 14, 2019, English translation is available by subscription at; ; “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 7, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 7, 2019,

[6] “Al Shabaab spokesman, Ali Dhere wounded in fighting,” Radio Kulmiye, August 14, 2019,; and “Somali Army targets al Shabaab spokesman, 17 killed,” Mareeg, August 14, 2019,

[7] “Korea to deploy troops to Somali water for anti-piracy efforts,” Goobjoog, August 13, 2019,; and “South Korea to deploy troops to Somali waters amid speculation over Hormuz Strait mission,” Horn Diplomat, August 13, 2019,

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