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: AQAP vows to continue fighting US; Hadi government–aligned forces claim seizing al Houthi–held territory in Ma’rib governorate; Saudi-led coalition claims to intercept al Houthi drone launched toward Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Somali separatist faction reportedly seizes neighborhoods and airport in Hiraan region; al Shabaab attacks police station in Kenya’s Garissa County

Yemen Security Brief:

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a statement on November 27 vowing to continue fighting the US. It accused the US of intentionally bombing Muslims in Yemen due to religious and political motives. AQAP previously released a statement in early November urging Sudanese Muslims to revolt against their government and attack US and Jewish interests in East Africa.[1]

Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi claimed to seize control of five villages from al Houthi militants in Sirwah district in central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on December 3. Hadi government–aligned forces clashed with al Houthi militants in Sirwah in late October.[2]

The Saudi-led coalition claimed on December 4 to intercept an al Houthi drone launched toward an unspecified area in Saudi Arabia. Coalition forces previously claimed intercepting an al Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia in mid-November.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

A Somali separatist faction reportedly seized neighborhoods and an airport in Beledweyne city in Hiraan region in southern Somalia. This followed reports of Hirshabelle State’s president attempting to land in the city. The faction began forming in mid-November in opposition to the newly elected Hirshabelle State government and to form a separate state.[4]

Al Shabaab claimed an attack on a police station in the Amumu area of Garissa County in eastern Kenya on December 2. Unidentified Kenyan sources claimed militants injured a police officer, abducted two others, and stole weapons. Al Shabaab reportedly raided two police stations in Garissa County in July.[5]

[1] “AQAP Vows to Fight U.S. Till Bitter End in Document Accusing America of Deliberately Bombing Muslims in Yemen,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 3, 2020, available by subscription at; and Luc Sasseville and Hannah Kuperman, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 6, 2020,”  Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, November 6, 2020,

[2] “Government forces seize strategic areas from the grip of the Houthis in Sirwah,” Yemen Akbar, December 3, 2020,; and Hannah Kuperman and Sarah Gordon, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 26, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, October 26, 2020,

[3] “Arab Coalition destroys Houthi Drone,” Arab News, December 4, 2020,; and Hannah Kuperman and Luc Sasseville, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 20, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, November 20, 2020,

[4] “Fighting Heard in Beledweyne After Days of Protest,” Hiiraan, November 4, 2020,; and “Clan Militia Join ‘Separatist’ General Hud faction in Hiraan region,” Hiiraan, November 30, 2020,

[5] “Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for Garissa attack,” Somalimemo, December 3, 2020,; and Mathew Eady and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 24, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 24, 2020,

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