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.

The Gulf of Aden Security Review will resume on Monday, January 11, 2021.

Yemen: Al Houthis fire ballistic missiles toward Saudi Arabia; President Hadi announces new cabinet with STC members

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab suicide attack targets Somali prime minister; al Shabaab ambushes Kenyan police convoy in Wajir County; al Shabaab reportedly destroys telecommunications mast in Mandera County; Islamic State–linked militants decapitate recruits in Cabo Delgado province

Yemen Security Brief:

The al Houthi movement fired a ballistic missile from Yemen’s al Houthi–held capital Sana’a on December 17, according to the Saudi-led coalition. The missile landed in northern Yemen’s Sa’ada governorate. An al Houthi missile reportedly landed near a village in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Jizan province on December 16.[1]

The president of the internationally recognized Yemeni government, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, announced a new cabinet on December 18. The cabinet includes members of the Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) in compliance with the power-sharing Riyadh Agreement. Hadi government–aligned and STC forces completed their respective military withdrawals from Sheikh Salim and al Tariyah in southern Yemen’s Abyan governorate on December 17. These troop withdrawals were part of the Riyadh Agreement’s military stipulations.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

An al Shabaab militant detonated a suicide vest targeting a federal motorcade in Galkayo city in central Somalia’s Mudug region on December 18, attempting to assassinate Somalia’s prime minister. The attack killed at least 30 people including Somali military officials.[3]

Al Shabaab militants ambushed a convoy of Kenyan police in Wajir town in northeastern Kenya’s Wajir County on December 17. The militants reportedly killed and wounded an unknown number of Kenyan troops. Al Shabaab militants reportedly targeted a Kenyan police convoy outside of War Guduude in Wajir County the same day. Al Shabaab claimed to seize a settlement in Wajir County in mid-May.[4]

Al Shabaab militants reportedly destroyed a telecommunications mast in northeastern Kenya’s Mandera County on December 18. The militants claimed to attack Kenyan security forces in Mandera County on December 17.[5]

Islamic State–linked insurgents reportedly decapitated at least twelve recruits in Macomia district in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province on December 17. The militants attacked several villages and beheaded more than fifty civilians in Cabo Delgado’s Muidumbe and Macomia districts in early November.[6]

[1] “Yemen rebels’ ballistic missile fell in Saada, Saudi coalition says,” BBC Monitoring, December 17, 2020, available by subscription at; and “’Houthi missile’ lands in Saudi village,” BBC Monitoring, December 16, 2020, available by subscription at

[2] “Yemen separatists, government forces withdraw from Abyan areas,” BBC Monitoring, December 17, 2020, available by subscription at; and “Yemen’s president, separatists announce new power-sharing government,” Reuters, December 18, 2020,

[3] “Shabaab Claims Suicide Bombing on Somali PM's Motorcade in Galkayo,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 18, 2020, available by subscription at; “Al Shabaab Claims Responsibility for Deadly Attack in Galkayo,” Somalimemo, December 18, 2020,

[4] “Al Shabaab Claims Series of Attacks in Northeastern Kenya,” BBC Monitoring, December 17, 2020, available by subscription at; “Jihadist Forces Carried Out New Attacks in Wajir,” Somalimemo, December 17, 2020,; and Kalissa Azooz and Muhammad Ramadhito, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – May 22, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 22, 2020,

[5] “Egypt – Kenya Says Al-Shabaab Militants Destroy Telecom Mast in Border Region,” Middle East North Africa Financial Network, December 18, 2020,; and “Al Shabaab Claims Series of Attacks in Northeastern Kenya,” BBC Monitoring, December 17, 2020, available by subscription at

[6] “Insurgents Cause More Deaths in Chai Macomia Forests,” Pinnacle News, December 17, 2020,; and “Militant Islamists ‘Behead More Than 50’ in Mozambique,” BBC, November 10, 2020,



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