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: Clashes between STC-aligned forces and Hadi government-aligned forces continue in Aden; Saudi-led coalition and al Hirak condemn Aden clashes; Secretary of State Pompeo speaks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about Yemen; Islamic State in Yemen releases photos of alleged attack on al Houthi forces in al Bayda

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab holds registration ceremony for clan elders in Hiraan region; al Shabaab attacks telecommunications pole in Garissa County; female al Shabaab militant attacks police station in Gedo region; Ethiopian police arrest individuals attempting to free former Somali region president in Addis Ababa

Yemen Security Brief

Forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist group, and forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government continued clashing in Aden, Yemen’s de facto capital, on August 8. The clashes began on August 7 near the presidential palace during the funeral of a prominent southern commander who had been killed in a recent al Houthi drone and missile strike. STC Vice President Hani bin Brik claimed in separate statements on August 7 and August 8 that the STC’s goal is to overthrow elements of the Hadi government allegedly controlled by the Islamist al Islah party and Qatar. Bin Brik also emphasized that the STC respects the legitimacy of President Hadi, however.[1]

Saudi forces arrived in Aden to guard the presidential palace with armored vehicles on August 8. Saudi-led coalition spokesman Turki al Maliki stated on August 8 that the Saudi-led coalition rejects activity that threatens stability in Aden. President Hadi’s Minister of the Interior separately claimed that Hani bin Brik had declared war against the Hadi government. Yemen’s Southern Movement, al Hirak, also condemned the violence in Aden and warned that the clashes serve the interests of Iran and the al Houthi movement.[2]

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo spoke on the phone with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia on August 7. The leaders discussed escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf and expressed support for the UN-led peace process in Yemen.[3]

The Islamic State in Yemen released photos of Islamic State fighters preparing to fire mortars at al Houthi forces in Qayfa district in al Bayda governorate in central Yemen. The Islamic State claimed that the attack on al Houthi forces had taken place in August but did not specify the date.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab held a welcoming ceremony for 86 clan elders who it claimed had disavowed the Somali Federal Government (SFG) in Buq Aqable town in central Somalia’s Hiraan region on August 5. Fifty-three leaders from Hirshabelle State and 33 leaders from Galmudug State attended the ceremony. Al Shabaab previously warned clan elders in July against participating in state elections and gave them 45 days to register with al Shabaab.[5]

Al Shabaab militants attacked a telecommunications pole in Hulugho town in northeastern Kenya’s Garissa County on August 7.[6]

A female suspected al Shabaab militant attacked a police station with a grenade in Bardhere town in southern Somalia’s Gedo region on August 8. Somali police shot the attacker and later found explosives strapped to her body. Suspected al Shabaab militants separately attacked a police station in Beledweyne town in Hiraan region on August 7. The militants injured one police officer.[7]

Ethiopian police arrested multiple individuals in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, for attempting to free former Ethiopian Somali region President Abdi Mohamed Omar ‘Abdi Iley’ from prison on August 5. Ethiopian federal security forces arrested Iley in August 2018. Iley pled not guilty to charges of instigating ethnic violence in February 2019.[8]

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

[1] Ahmed al Haj and Samy Magdy, “Separatists clash with presidential guards in southern Yemen,” The Associated Press, August 7, 2019,; Sune Engel Rasmussen and Saleh al Batati, “Yemen Separatists Storm Presidential Palace in Aden,” The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2019,; “The Transitional Council issues an important statement on certain government attacks on unarmed citizens,” STC Aden, August 7, 2019,; and Hani Bin Brek, Twitter, August 8, 2019,

[2] “The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: We reject any measures that undermine the security and stability of Aden,” Saudi Press Agency, August 8, 2019,; “Saudi troops with armored vehicles arrived in Aden to guard the presidential palace,” Yemen Akhbar, August 8, 2019,; Ahmed al Maysiri, Twitter,; and “The Southern Movement component participates in an important statement on the events in Aden,” Aden Gad, August 8, 2019,

[3] “Secretary Pompeo’s Call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud,” U.S. Department of State, August 7, 2019,

[4] Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, August 8, 2019,

[5] “Shabaab Reports on First Group of Tribal Elders Heeding its Warning to Repent for Facilitating Democracy,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 7, 2019, English Translation available by Subscription at; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 15, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 15, 2019,

[6] “Al Shabaab attacks Kenyan border town, disrupts telecom services,” Radio Kulmiye, August 7, 2019; and “Al Shabaab attacks border town, damaging telecommunication pole,” Hiraan, August 8, 2019,

[7] “Female suicide bomber shot dead in Baardere town of Gedo region,” Goobjoog, August 8, 2019,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 8, 2019,; “Somalia: Deadly clash erupts after attack on police station,” Mareeg, August 7, 2019; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 7, 2019,

[8] Addis Standard, Twitter, August 8, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – February 7, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 7, 2019,

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