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 Houthi movement claims to shoot down US drone; Hadi government officials refuse to meet with STC President for talks; STC accuses Hadi government of withholding fuel from southern governorates

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks SNA base in Lower Shabelle region; Somali special forces free 20 civilians detained by al Shabaab near Kismayo

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement claimed to shoot down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone with a surface-to-air missile in Dhamar governorate in central Yemen on August 20. Al Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarea claimed that the al Houthi movement would no longer tolerate “the forces of aggression” entering Yemeni airspace. US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that a US drone was shot down over Yemen and stated that it is investigating al Houthi involvement in the attack.[1]

Officials in President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government refused to meet with Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) President Aydarus al Zubaidi for negotiations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 21. Saudi Arabia has attempted to broker peace talks between the Hadi government and the STC, which is a southern Yemeni secessionist group, ever since the STC seized Aden, the de facto capital of Yemen, on August 10. President Zubaidi travelled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 21 for talks, but Hadi government officials refused to meet with him until the STC hands back control of Aden port. Anonymous officials in Hadi’s government told Reuters that they were considering restructuring the government as part of a deal with the STC and suggested that they might transfer Hadi’s presidential powers to a new Vice President.[2]

An STC spokesman claimed on August 21 that the Hadi government had cut fuel and power supplies to Aden, Lahij, and Abyan governorates in southern Yemen. The spokesperson stated that the STC will provide fuel to the governorates in response and claimed that the STC has sufficient reserves for one month.[3]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Qoryoley town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on August 20. One SNA soldier and four al Shabaab militants died in the attack.[4]

An SNA spokesperson announced on August 20 that Somali Danab special forces had freed 20 civilians from Yontoy village, which is located north of Kismayo port city in southern Somalia, in a recent operation. The spokesperson stated that al Shabaab had detained the civilians.[5]

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[1] Lucia I. Suarez Sang, “US military drone shot down over Yemen, official confirms,” Fox News, August 21, 2019,; Idrees Ali, “U.S. drone shot down over Yemen: officials,” Reuters, August 21, 2019,; “The air defenses shot down an American plane of the MQ-9 type in the skies of Dhamar governorate (Pictures),” 26 September News, August 21, 2019,; and “CENTCOM investigates reports of Houthi-claimed attack on UAS,” US Central Command, August 21, 2019,

[2] “Yemeni government says will not talk to separatists until standoff,” Reuters, August 21, 2019,; “President al Zubaidi arrives to Jeddah to participate in dialogues called for by Saudi Arabia, Aden Lang, August 21, 2019,; “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 20, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 20, 2019,; and Mohammed Mukhsef, “Yemen’s pro-government coalition fractures as separatists grab control in Aden,” Reuters, August 10, 2019,

[3] “Transitional spokesman confirms the breakthrough of the crisis of fuel stations and the local market,” STC Aden, August 21, 2019,; “Transitional supplies power stations and fuel oil derivatives,” Hadramout, August 21, 2019,; and “Spokesman for the STC confirms the breakthrough for the fuel crisis in power stations and the local market,” Hadramout, August 21, 2019,

[4] “Al Shabab Attacks Somali Military Base in Qoryoley,” Radio Shabelle, August 21, 2019,; and “Al-Shabaab attack military base in Qoryooley town, Lower Shabelle,” Goobjoog News, August 21, 2019,

[5] Abdirisak M Tuuryare, “Somali Army rescue 20 people held by al Shabaab,” Mareeg, August 21, 2019,; and “Special Forces free ‘hostages’ in daring Somalia operation,” Garowe, August 21, 2019,

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