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: US ambassador to Yemen visits Yemen to discuss counterterror efforts; STC-aligned forces reportedly kill prominent al Houthi commander in Dhaleh governorate

Horn of Africa: Somali security forces kill suspected al Shabaab militant in Mogadishu; Kenyan government denies Somali government’s claims of meddling in Somali politics

Yemen Security Brief:

The US ambassador to Yemen visited eastern Yemen’s al Mahrah governorate on November 30 to discuss US counterterrorism support and counter-smuggling operations in Yemen. The ambassador also stressed the importance of implementing the Riyadh Agreement, a power-sharing agreement between the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Transitional Political Council of the South (STC).[1] 

STC-aligned forces claimed to kill a prominent al Houthi commander and three of his companions in Juban district in central Yemen’s Dhaleh governorate on December 2. Hadi government–aligned forces reportedly killed 30 al Houthi militants in Dhaleh governorate in early November.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Somali security forces killed a suspected al Shabaab militant while he was planting a landmine in Warta Nabada district of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide vest attack in Mogadishu on November 27.[3]

Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied claims on December 1 that the Kenyan government is meddling in Somali politics. The Somali Federal Government (SFG) dismissed Kenya’s ambassador to Somalia on November 29 after accusing him of pressuring Somalia’s Jubbaland State president to renege on a formal agreement with the SFG.[4]

[1] “The agent of Al-Mahra governorate reveals the presence of foreign forces at the airport and the reason for the sudden visit of the American ambassador,” Mareb Press, December 2, 2020,; Geoffrey Lamear, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 27, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, August 27, 2019,

[2] “In an ambush for the southern forces ... a Houthi leader was killed on the Al-Dhalea fronts,” 7adramout, December 2, 2020,; and Hannah Kuperman and Luc Sasseville, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 4, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, November 4, 2020,

[3] “Somalia Security Forces Shoot Dead Man Found Planting Landmine,” Radio Dalsan, December 1, 2020,; and Hannah Kuperman and Luc Sasseville, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 30, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 30, 2020,

[4] “Kenya Not Meddling With Somalia Affairs: MFA,” Hiiraan, December 1, 2020,; “Somalia Expels Kenyan Ambassador Over 'Interference' of Elections Process,” Hiiraan, November 30, 2020,; and “Kenya Fires Back, Says Expulsion of Ambassador 'Unwarranted',” Goobjoog, November 30, 2020,

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