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 claim to recapture Aden and Abyan governorate capital; Hadi government accuses UAE of bombing pro-Hadi soldiers in Aden; Saudi Deputy Defense Minister meets Secretary of State Pompeo in Washington; al Houthi movement claims cruise missile attack on Saudi airport; al Houthi official meets with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister in Oman

Horn of Africa: UN Security Council rejects Kenyan resolution to expand sanctions on al Shabaab; NISA arrests al Shabaab bomber in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a UAE-backed southern Yemeni secessionist group, claimed to recapture Yemen’s de facto capital, Aden, from Hadi government-aligned forces on August 29. Hadi government-aligned forces have clashed with pro-STC forces since early August, when the STC captured Aden. Hadi government-aligned forces claimed to liberate Aden and Zinjibar, the capital of neighboring Abyan governorate, on August 28, but fighting has continued in both cities. Pro-STC forces subsequently claimed to recapture Zinjibar along with Aden on August 29. STC Vice President Hani bin Brik vowed on August 29 that the STC would reclaim southern territory that Hadi government-aligned forces had captured in recent days.[1]

President Hadi’s Foreign Minister accused the UAE of conducting multiple airstrikes against Hadi government-aligned forces in Aden and Abyan on August 29. The Hadi government claimed that the airstrikes killed 30 soldiers. The UAE has not commented on the accusations.[2]

Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Khaled bin Salman met with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in Washington, DC on August 28. Secretary Pompeo expressed support for a negotiated resolution to the conflict between the Hadi government and the STC. The two also discussed maritime security, human rights, and measures to counter Iran. [3]

The al Houthi movement claimed a cruise missile attack on Abha regional airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia on August 28. The Saudi-led coalition confirmed that an al Houthi projectile had hit the airport, but the coalition did not specify if it was a cruise missile. The al Houthi movement previously claimed a cruise missile attack on Abha airport on June 12.[4]

Al Houthi official Mohammed Abdul Salam met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in the Omani capital, Muscat, on August 29, according to al Houthi media.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The UN Security Council rejected a Kenyan resolution on August 28 that would have expanded sanctions on al Shabaab. Aid groups had criticized the resolution and claimed that it would impede the delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia.[6]

The Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) claimed to arrest an al Shabaab militant in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on August 28. NISA stated that the militant had been responsible for the bombing of a Banadir administration office in Mogadishu on August 25. [7]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia story streams. 

[1] Mohammed Mukhashaf, Reuters, August 29, 2019,; “Arrival of the Security Belt Forces to Aden,” Sky News Arabia, August 28, 2019,; Hani Bin Brik, Twitter, August 29, 2019,; Sky News Arabia, Twitter, August 29, 2019,; and Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 28, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 28, 2019,

[2] Sarah El Sirgany, “Saudi-backed government in Yemen accuses UAE of attacking its forces,” CNN, August 29, 2019, ; “Killed and wounded among the 115th brigade in in airstrikes in Dufas,” Aden Gad, August 29, 2019,; “Government condemns UAE air strikes on National Army forces in Aden and Abyan,” Saba Net, August 29, 2019,; and Mohammed Mukhashaf, “Yemen’s separatists vow revenge for government assault on Aden,” Reuters, August 29, 2019,

[3] “Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting With Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman,” US Department of State, August 28, 2019,; Mike Pompeo, Twitter, August 28, 2019,; and “Khalid Bin Salman in US to discuss Iran, Yemen,” Gulf News, August 28, 2019, Khalid Bin Salman in US to discuss Iran, Yemen

[4]“Rocketry Force Targets Abha International Airport with Quds 1, Cruise Missile,” al Masirah, August 28, 2019,; “Command of the Joint Forces of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Enemy projectile fired by Iranian-backed terrorist Houthi militia falls on Abha International Airport,” Saudi Press Agency, August 28, 2019,; and Vivian Yee, “Houthis Strike Saudi Airport, Escalating Yemen Conflict,” The New York Times, June 12, 2019,

[5] Al Masirah, Twitter, August 29, 2019,

[6] Abukar Osman, Twitter, August 28, 2019,; “Somalia lauds UN Security Council's rejections of Kenya's Al-Shabaab listing,” Hiraan, August 29, 2019,; “UN snubs to sanction on Al Shabaab (6),” Mareeg Media, August 29, 2019,; and Sara Jerving,“Humanitarians warn against adding al-Shabab to UN sanctions list,”Devex,

[7] “Shabaab Claims 25 Casualties in Bomb Blast on Kenyan Forces in Mandera County, Attacks on Djiboutian, Somali, and Ugandan Forces,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 27, 2019, English translation available by subscription at; “Somalia: NISA says it nabbed 'militant' played role in fatal blast,” Garowe Online, August 28, 2019,; and “Man allegedly behind attack on ex-Banadir official arrested in Mogadishu,” Radio Shabelle, August 28, 2019,


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