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 Department of Treasury sanctions Iranian ambassador to al Houthi–held capital; Saudi forces claim to intercept al Houthi drone targeting southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Mozambique’s government claims recovering village from Islamic State–linked militants; ISCA claims raid on military post in DRC; al Shabaab reportedly attacks SNA position in Mogadishu; SNA forces claim to kill al Shabaab militants in Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief:

The US Department of Treasury sanctioned the Iranian ambassador to Sana’a, the al Houthi–held Yemeni capital, on December 8. Iran appointed Hassan Erlou, a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, to the position in mid-October.[1]

Saudi Arabia claimed to intercept an al Houthi explosive-laden drone launched toward an unspecified location in southern Saudi Arabia on December 9. The kingdom previously claimed to intercept an al Houthi drone on December 4.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Mozambique’s federal government claimed on December 8 to have recovered Quissanga village in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province from Islamic State–linked militants. The militants held the village since at least April 2020.[3]

The Islamic State claimed Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCA) militants raided a Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) military post in the Beni area of the DRC’s North Kivu province on December 8. The attack allegedly killed and wounded several DRC soldiers. The Islamic State claimed ISCA militants killed a DRC soldier and raided a DRC military post in Beni in early November.[4]

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) station in Yaqshid district in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on December 8. Al Shabaab militants attacked an Ethiopian military base in Wajid district in southwestern Somalia’s Bakool region the same day.[5]

SNA forces reportedly killed five al Shabaab militants in southern Somalia’s Gedo region on December 7. The SNA deployed additional troops to Gedo region in mid-October.[6]

[1] “Treasury Sanctions Iran’s Envoy in Yemen and University Facilitating Recruitment for Qods Force,” US Department of Treasury, December 8, 2020,; and Jessica Kocan, “Yemen File: Iran may be increasingly seeking to promote al Houthi relations to threaten regional rivals,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 2, 2020,

[2] “Arab Coalition destroys bomb-laden Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia,” Emirates News Agency, December 9, 2020,; “Joint forces of the coalition to support legitimacy in Yemen intercept and destroy a drone launched by Iranian-backed Houthi militia toward kingdom,” Saudi Press Agency, December 9, 2020,; and Hannah Kuperman and Luc Sasseville, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 4, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 4, 2020,

[3] “Mozambican Government Claims to Have Recovered Quissanga Village, Held by Insurgents Since April,” Voice of America Portuguese, December 8, 2020,; and “Cabo Delgado: Defence Forces Says Return to Quissanga is Possible,” Club of Mozambique, December 7, 2020,

[4] “ISCAP Photographs Congolese Soldiers Killed in Ambush, Claims Another Strike on Military Post in DR Congo,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 9, 2020, available by subscription at; and “ISCAP Division in DR Congo Claims 3 Raids on Military Posts, Targeted Killing of Soldier Within 5 Days,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 7, 2020, available by subscription at

[5] “Clashes Erupt in Yaqshid and Wajid Abyssinian Military Base,” Somalimemo, December 9, 2020,; “Somalia: Shabaab Strikes AMISOM, SNA Forces Thrice in 24 hrs,” Middle East North Africa Financial Network, December 8, 2020,; and “Al-Shabab Claims Attacks on Somali and Ethiopian Forces,” BBC Monitoring, December 9, 2020, available by subscription at

[6] “5 Militants Killed by Somali Army in Southern Region,” Hiiraan, December 9, 2020,; and Hannah Kuperman and Sarah Gordon, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 14, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 14, 2020,


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