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: Saudi air defenses intercept al Houthi ballistic missile in Jizan province; Hadi government forces attack hometown of al Houthi leader in Sa’ada governorate; Hadi government forces kill more than 15 al Houthi militants and senior officers in Malajim district, al Bayda governorate; coalition-backed forces continue effort to seize al Durayhimi south of al Hudaydah

Horn of Africa: U.S. airstrike kills two al Shabaab militants northeast of Kismayo; al Shabaab conducts complex attack on AMISOM convoy in Marka, Lower Shabelle region; former Ethiopian spy chief reportedly flees to Sudan

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted an al Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jizan city in Saudi Arabia on August 22. The Saudi military claimed that al Houthi forces have fired 179 rockets at Saudi Arabia over the course of the war.[1]

Hadi government forces began assaulting the village of Maran in Sa’ada governorate from four positions on August 22. Maran is the hometown of al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi. Hadi government sources claimed to kill numerous al Houthis and capture heavy equipment.[2]

Hadi government forces clashed with al Houthi forces in Malajim district, al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on August 22. Hadi government forces claimed to kill more than 15 al Houthi militants, including several senior officers. Hadi government forces seized several strategic hilltops in Malajim district on August 20 as part of an offensive in al Bayda governorate launched last week.[3]

The Southern Giants Brigade backed by Saudi-led coalition aircraft killed 22 al Houthi members and destroyed multiple military vehicles in raids in al Durayhimi district south of Hudaydah city on August 22. Hadi government sources claimed that 70% of Durayhimi is now under Hadi government control.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) launched an airstrike against al Shabaab in coordination with Somali National Army (SNA) forces 46 kilometers northeast of Kismayo in Lower Jubba region on August 22. The airstrike killed two al Shabaab militants.[5]

Al Shabaab conducted a complex attack on an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy in Marka, Lower Shabelle region on August 22. Al Shabaab attacked the car with a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) and then fired mortars at the convoy. The attack killed at least one person and injured several others.[6]

Ethiopian media reported on August 21 that the former head of Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Getachew Assefa, fled Ethiopia for Sudan after learning that the Ethiopian government had issued a warrant for his arrest. Police in his home state of Tigray reportedly helped him escape. Assefa is one of nine executive members of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition until the appointment of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in April. Assefa is accused of committing human rights violations and stoking ethnic conflict while head of NISS.[7]

[1] “Saudi defenses destroy ballistic missile launched by the putschist militia towards it territory,” Hadramout, August 22, 2018,; “After the intercept of a ballistic missile… Why the houthis target the Saudi city of Jizan,” Hadramout, August 22, 2018,; “Coalition: Houthi missile destroyed in the direction of Jizan… No injuries,” Hadramout, August 22, 2018,

[2] “The Yemeni Army stormed Maran stronghold of the Houthis in Sa’ada from 4 axes,” Hadramout, August 22, 2018,; “Yemeni army begins storming the hometown of the leader of the Houthis,” Yemen Akhbar, August 22, 2018,; “Army forces are approaching Maran and control several villages between al-Zaher and Haydan,” Yemen Akhbar, August 22, 2018,

[3] “Eight of the most prominent militia leaders and the families of nine were killed in al-Bayda,” Hadramout, August 22, 2018,; and “More than 15 Houthis killed, including field commander in al-Bayda,” Aden Lang, August 22, 2018,

[4] “36 Houthis killed in Coalition raids in Durayhimi and Malajim,” Hadramout, August 22, 2018,; and “Dozens of Houthis were killed in air strikes in the Durayhimi area south of Hudaydah,” Yemen Akhbar, August 22, 2018,

[5] “U.S. airstrike in southern Somalia kills two al Shabaab militants,” Reuters, August 22, 2018,; and “Government forces clash with al-Shabaab in Jubbaland,” Horseed Media, August 22, 2018,

[6] “Fighting and shelling took place in Marka,” Radio Kulmiye, August 22, 2018,

[7] “Former intelligence chief became fugitive as Ethiopia issues arrest warrant,” Borkena, August 21, 2018,; and “Arrest warrant issued against former Ethiopia spy chief Getachew Assefa,” Tesfa News, August 21, 2018,

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