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-led coalitions claims intercepting al Houthi explosive-laden drone boat and al Houthi explosive UAV; Hadi government–aligned forces clash with al Houthis in al Bayda governorate; Hadi government–aligned forces claim repelling al Houthi attack in al Hudaydah governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab leader allegedly gives temporary authority to group’s deputy leader; al Shabaab raids military base near Kismayo; Jubbaland forces clash with al Shabaab in Lower and Middle Jubba regions; Turkey sends military equipment to support Somali forces fighting al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief:

Saudi-led coalition forces claimed intercepting an al Houthi remote-controlled improvised explosive device boat, known as a drone boat, in the southern Red Sea on August 30. A coalition spokesman said al Houthi militants launched the drone boat from al Hudaydah city in southwestern Yemen’s al Hudaydah governorate. Saudi-led coalition forces also claimed intercepting an al Houthi explosive-laden unmanned aerial vehicle launched toward Abha airport in the kingdom’s southwestern Asir region.[i]

Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi clashed with al Houthi militants on Qaniya front in central Yemen’s al Bayda governorate on August 30. Hadi government–aligned forces claimed killing 25 al Houthi militants on Qaniya front in late August.[ii]

Hadi government–aligned forces claimed repelling an al Houthi attack in al Tahita district in al Hudaydah governorate. Hadi government–aligned forces have clashed with al Houthi militants in al Tahita district throughout late August. [iii]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

The Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) said on August 29 that al Shabaab leader Ahmad Umar has temporarily given authority to the group’s deputy leader due to illness. NISA also claimed that al Shabaab continues to experience infighting between Umar and senior al Shabaab official Mahad Karate. Umar accused Karate of hoarding money from al Shabaab’s taxation program for his clan earlier this year.[iv]  

Al Shabaab raided a military base housing US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in Bar Sanguni village near Kismayo city in southern Somalia’s Lower Jubba region on August 30. The SNA claimed joint security forces killed four al Shabaab militants during the raid, but the number of casualties on either side has yet to be confirmed. Al Shabaab claimed attacking multiple Kenyan military bases near Kismayo city in July.[v]

SNA-backed Jubbaland State security forces killed six al Shabaab militants in a clash in Lower Jubba region on August 29. Jubbaland and SNA forces clashed with al Shabaab militants in Buale in southern Somalia’s Middle Jubba region on August 28.[vi]

SNA General Odawa Yusuf Rage publicly thanked Turkey for donating 12 armored personnel carriers during a ceremony in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on August 27. The Turkish ambassador to Somalia said that the new military equipment is meant to help Somali forces combat al Shabaab.[vii]

[i] “Saudi-led coalition destroys explosive-laden drone, boat launched by Yemen’s Houthis SPA,” Reuters, August 30, 2020,; “Arab Coalition destroys bomb-laden boat belonging to Iran-backed Houthis,” Al Arabiya, August 31, 2020,; and “Arab Parliament condemns Houthi militia’s launch of an explosive drone aircraft toward Abha International Airport,” Saudi Press Agency, August 31, 2020,

[ii] “Houthis killed and injured during repulsed attacks in Qaniya, northern al Bayda,” Khabar Agency, August 30, 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,

[iii] “Joint forces foil al Houthi attack in southern al Hudaydah,” Aawsat, August 30, 2020,

[iv] “Shabaab leader Ahmed Diriye ‘stepping down’ over ill-health-NISA,” Hiiraan, August 29, 2020,; Abdirisak M Tuuyare, “Somalia’s al Shabaab gets new leadership,” Mareeg, August 29, 2020,; “Al-Shabaab leader hands over power to deputy amid ‘ill-health’ speculations,” Garowe, August 29, 2020; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 27, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 27, 2020,

[v] “Al-Shabaab raid US military base in Somali,” Garowe, August 30, 2020,; and Abdirisak M Tuuyare, “Four Militants Killed in Botched Attack on Army Base in Somalia,” Mareeg, August 30, 2020,; and Zachary Jaynes and Matthew Eady, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 17, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 17, 2020,

[vi] “Six Militants Killed in Southern Somalia Clash,” Shabelle Media Network, August 30, 2020,; and “Jubaland forces attack Al-Shabaab fighters in Buale,” Hiiraan, August 28, 2020,

[vii] “Turkey steps up support for Somalia in fight against al Shabaab,” Garowe, August 30, 2020,; and “Turkey donates armored personnel carriers to Somalia,” Garowe, August 29, 2020,


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