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: AQAP reportedly executes six people linked to al Houthis in central Yemen; Saudi-led coalition claims intercepting al Houthi missile and drone attacks on kingdom; UN envoy to Yemen meets Iranian foreign minister to discuss cease-fire between al Houthis and internationally recognized Yemeni government

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab commander allegedly surrenders to government forces in south-central Somalia; al Shabaab reportedly launches attacks in southern Somalia; ISCA releases video of children reciting Qur’an in front of Islamic State flag

 Yemen Security Brief:

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants executed six people in central Yemen’s al Bayda governorate on August 27, according to a local Yemeni outlet. AQAP accused the victims of belonging to the al Houthi movement. AQAP claimed responsibility for executing a local dentist accused of spying for foreign governments and the al Houthi movement in mid-August.[i]

The Saudi-led coalition claimed intercepting an al Houthi explosive unmanned aerial vehicle launched toward Saudi Arabia on August 28. The coalition claimed intercepting an al Houthi ballistic missile launched toward the southwestern Saudi city of Najran on August 27.[ii]

The UN Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, met with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Asghar Khaji, on August 26 to discuss cease-fire efforts between the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Iranian-backed al Houthi movement.[iii]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

An al Shabaab commander, identified as Mohammad Abdi Hassan, reportedly surrendered to the Somali National Army (SNA) in Qansax Dhere town in south-central Somalia’s Bay region on August 26. Hassan is reported to have been a top al Shabaab commander for five years. Suspected al Shabaab militants targeted a militant officer and his troops with a landmine in Bay region’s Baidoa city in late August.[iv]

Pro–al Shabaab media outlet Somalimeno claimed that al Shabaab militants launched several attacks against Somali security forces and foreign military bases in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle and Jubba regions on August 26. Al Shabaab allegedly attacked checkpoints in Lower Shabelle region’s Afgoi district where Somali soldiers patrolled traffic. The group also reportedly attacked Kenyan security forces in Lower Jubba region’s Qoqani town. US Africa Command conducted an airstrike in Lower Shabelle region on August 24, causing nine al Shabaab casualties.[v]

The Islamic State’s Central Africa Province (ISCA) released a video on August 24 of children reciting Qur’anic verses in front of the Islamic State flag and adult militants. The militants recorded the video in either Mozambique or the Democratic Republic of the Congo during Eid al Adha.[vi]

[i] “Al Bayda: Al Qaeda executes six people from the governorate,” News Yemen, August 28, 2020,; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 26, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 26, 2020,

[ii] “Saudi-led coalition says destroyed Houthi drone: Saudi Press Agency,” Reuters, August 28, 2020,; and “ Command of the ‘Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen’: intercept and destroy a ballistic missile toward Saudi Arabia,” Saudi press Agency, August 27, 2020,

[iii] “UN envoy discusses Yemen ceasefire with Iran,” Middle East Monitor, August 28, 2020,

[iv] “Al Shabaab commander surrenders to SNA troops in Somalia,” Garowe, August 27, 2020,; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 24 2020,” Critical Threats, August 26, 2020,

[v] “Attacks on foreign and government bases in southern Somalia,” Somali Memo, August 27, 2020,; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 24, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 24, 2020,

[vi] “Jihadist Distributes Video of Children Among Adult Fighters in an IS Central Africa Province Division,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 28, 2020, available by subscription at


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