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: Pro-STC forces clash with Hadi government-aligned forces in Shabwah’s capital; STC Vice President accuses Saudi-led coalition of conducting airstrikes against Shabwani Elite

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab shells SNA-US base in Lower Shabelle region; President Farmajo appoints new security chiefs and Mogadishu mayor; Kenya congratulates Jubbaland President on reelection

Yemen Security Brief

Shabwani Elite Forces loyal to the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist movement, clashed with the Yemeni Army 21st Mechanized Brigade in Ataq city, the capital of Shabwah governorate in southern Yemen, on August 22 and August 23. Pro-STC media claimed that the Shabwani Elite had seized control of the city, but anti-STC media claimed that forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government still controlled government facilities in the city. Saudi forces reportedly reinforced Hadi government-aligned forces during the clashes. The STC seized the de facto capital of Yemen, Aden, from the Hadi government on August 10 and have intermittently clashed with Hadi government-aligned forces since then.[1]

STC Vice President Hani Bin Brik accused the Saudi-led coalition on August 23 of conducting airstrikes against Shabwani Elite Forces and called for the Saudi-led coalition to investigate the incident. STC delegates previously met with Saudi officials in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 21 to discuss recent clashes in southern Yemen.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants fired mortars at the Somali National Army (SNA)’s Baledogle Airfield near Wanlaweyn town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on August 22. US soldiers operate at the airfield, which is located northwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The attack caused no casualties.[3]

Somali Federal Government (SFG) President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo appointed several new officials to senior security roles on August 22. Farmajo promoted the deputy commander of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir, as the new director of the agency. Farmajo appointed General Odawaa Yusuf Rageh as SNA Chief of Staff. Farmajo also appointed Omar Mohamud Mohamed as the new mayor of Mogadishu. The previous mayor of Mogadishu, Abdirahman Omar Osman, died of wounds sustained in an al Shabaab suicide attack in July.[4]

The Kenyan government congratulated President Ahmed Madobe of Jubbaland State in southern Somalia for winning reelection on August 23. Kenya called on Madobe and his administration to work in close cooperation with the SFG. Madobe won re-election on August 22, although the SFG had previously announced that it would not accept the results of the election. Jubbaland opposition politicians also disputed the electoral process and claimed to elect their own president through a separate electoral body.[5]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, Kenya and Saudi Arabia story streams. 

[1] Gulf of Aden Security Review –August 12, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 12, 2019,; Naser Tawil, Twitter, August 23, 2019, ; “Yemeni gov't forces take control of Ataq after clashes,” Al Jazeera, August 23, 2019, ; “Yemen's separatists clash with government forces in Shabwa: sources,” Reuters, August 22, 2019, ; “Forces of the Army control the city of Ataq,” Aden Gad, August 23, 2019, ; “Violent Battles between the Shabwani Elite and Gunmen following Islah in Ataq,” Sky News Arabia, ; and “Saudi Arabia deploys forces in the center of the Yemeni governorate Shabwa,” Al Jazeera, August 22, 2019,

[2] Hani Ben Brek, Twitter, August 22, 2019, ; and “Yemeni separatists extend control in south, Saudi-led forces strike capital,” Reuters, August 19, 2019,

[3] Abdirisak M Tuuryare, “Mortar attack rocks US Secret Air Base in Somalia,” Mareeg, August 23, 2019,

[4] Abdirisak M Tuuryare, “Somali President Makes Major Security Reshuffles,” Mareeg, August 22, 2019,; and “Somali president replaces security chiefs and Mogadishu mayor,” Reuters, August 23, 2019,

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 23, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 22, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 22, 2019,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Sep '19
Aug '19
Jul '19