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: Suspected al Houthi ballistic missile attack kills more than 100 at Hadi government military camp in Ma’rib governorate; Islamic State’s Yemen Province claims three attacks targeting al Houthis

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab SVBIED attack targets Turkish construction workers in Afgoi; al Qaeda praises al Shabaab for Kenya attack on US personnel; Somalia invites Turkey to explore offshore oil

Yemen Security Brief

Suspected al Houthimilitants launched a ballistic missile and drone attack targeting a military training camp housing forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in northwestern Ma’rib governorate in north-central Yemen on January 18. The attack killed at least 116 people. The missile hit a mosque where soldiers had been performing evening prayers. This attack is one of the deadliest since Yemen’s current civil war began in 2015.[1]

The Islamic State in Yemenclaimed three attacks on al Houthi militants in Qayfa in al Bayda governorate in central Yemen and took two prisoners on January 20–21. The Islamic State engaged in armed clashes with the al Houthis in al Qahwa and al Jarow in Qayfa and detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a vehicle in Taba Hama Baqr in Qayfa.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab conducted a suicide vehicle-borne IED (SVBIED) attack targeting Turkish construction workers in Afgoi, about 18 miles northwest of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, on January 18. The attack injured 21 people, including three Turkish nationals. Al Shabaabconducted a VBIED attack in Mogadishu on December 28, 2019 targeting a Turkish-Somali military convoy that killed at least 90 people and injured dozens.[3]

Al Qaeda’s al Sahab Media Foundation praised al Shabaab for its January 5 attack on US military base Camp Simba in Manda Bay, Lamu County, Kenya that killed three US personnel. Al Qaeda encouraged others to follow in al Shabaab’s footsteps by conducting operations under its “Jerusalem shall not be Judaized” campaign.[4]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the Somali Federal Government invited Turkey to explore for offshore oil. President Erdogan said Turkey would accept the invitation.[5]

Visit our Yemen and Somalia storystreams.

[1] “Yemen war: Death toll in attack on military base rises to 111,” BBC, January 20, 2020,; “30 killed in al Houthi attack on military training base in Ma’rib,” al Jazeera, January 18, 2020,; and “Yemen: Dozens killed in attack on government forces’ base in Ma’rib,” France24, January 19, 2020,

[2] “IS Claims 3 Attacks on Houthis on Consecutive Days, Taking 2 POWs,” SITE Intelligence Group, January 21, 2020, English translation available by subscription at

[3] “Nine injured in Somali bombing flown to Turkey for treatment,” Reuters, January 21, 2020,; and Emily Estelle, “Africa File – January 10, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 10, 2020,

[4] “Al-Qaeda Praises Shabaab for Manda Bay Raid, Calls for Attacks on ‘Zionist-Crusader Alliance’ Interests,” SITE Intelligence Group, January 20, 2020, English translation available by subscription at

[5] “Erdogan says Somalia invited Turkey to explore for oil offshore,” Al Jazeera, January 21, 2020,

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