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: Al Hizam forces clash with AQAP in Abyan; STC-aligned forces clash with Hadi government-aligned forces in Aden

Horn of Africa: AMISOM and Somali special forces seize town in Lower Shabelle region; suspected US aircraft conduct multiple strikes in Middle Jubba region; US Under Secretary of State travels to Nairobi; Jubbaland opposition group calls for new conditions for Jubbaland presidential elections

Yemen Security Brief

UAE-backed al Hizam Security Forces clashed with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Wadi Khayala in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on August 7. AQAP has conducted multiple attacks against al Hizam forces in Abyan in August.[1]

The Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) held a funeral on August 7 for southern soldiers killed during an August 1 al Houthi missile and drone attack on an al Hizam parade in Aden. Prominent al Hizam commander Brigadier General Munir Mahmoud al Yafa’i AKA Abu Yamama was honored during the burial ceremony. Clashes reportedly broke out between STC-aligned forces and forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government near the funeral. UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths expressed concerns over the clashes and other recent military escalation in Aden.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali Danab special forces and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces seized Awdheegle town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on August 6. Al Shabaab militants had occupied the town, which lies approximately 30 miles from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, for years. Al Shabaab militants abandoned the town prior to the arrival of Danab and AMISOM forces.[3]

Suspected US aircraft conducted multiple airstrikes against al Shabaab in Middle Jubba region in southern Somalia on August 5. Aircraft conducted strikes in Jamame town, Sakow town, and Salagle village. Somali Federal Government (SFG) officials claimed that the strikes killed multiple al Shabaab militants.[4]

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale met with Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Macharia Kamau, in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on August 6. The two officials discussed how to deepen trade and investment ties as well as security cooperation.[5]

A political party in southern Somalia, the Union of Presidential Candidates for Change, called for the electoral commission of Jubbaland State to set new conditions for upcoming state presidential elections on August 6. The party requested that the election be held at a neutral venue such as a UN compound, that AMISOM forces guard the voting venue, and that SFG officials be present. Jubbaland presidential elections are scheduled to begin on August 23.[6]

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[1] “Abyan belt pursues al Qaeda operatives in Wadi Khayala,” News Yemen, August 8, 2019,; “Security Belt in Aden chases al Qaeda operatives in Wadi al Khayala, Hadramout, August 7, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 5, 2019,” The Critical Threats Project at The American Enterprise Institute, August 5, 2019,

[2] “Aden Funeral of Martyrs and the funeral of the occupation,” SMA News, August 7, 2019,; “Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 2, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 2, 2019,; “U.N. Yemen envoy ‘alarmed’ by military escalation in Aden: Statement,” Reuters, August 7, 2019,; “Tariq Salam: The mercenaries deported three thousand people from the northern governorates and destroyed 1750 shops, 26 September, August 7,2019,; and Al Hadath al Yemeni, Twitter, August 7, 2019,

[3] “Somalia forces retake al Shabaab held town after militants’ retreat,” Garowe, August 7, 2019,; “AMISOM and SNA take control of Awdheegle town from al Shabaab terrorists,” AMISOM, August 7, 2019,; and “Somali forces conduct landmines clearance in Awdhegle town,” Mareeg, August 7, 2019,

[4] “Deadly strikes hits al Shabaab targets in Somalia,” Mareeg, August 6, 2019,

[5] “Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale’s Meeting with Kenyan Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau,” US Department of State, August 6, 2019,

[6] Garowe, Twitter, August 6, 2019,

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