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: Al Houthis and Hadi government resume UN-backed prisoner exchange negotiations; Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrike targeting al Houthis in Ma’rib governorate; al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clash in al Jawf governorate

Horn of Africa: Ugandan AMISOM forces and Somali officials claim to kill 189 al Shabaab fighters in Lower Shabelle region; suspected al Shabaab militants conduct IED attack in Mogadishu; SNA and Jubbaland State forces clash in Gedo region

Yemen Security Brief:

Al Houthi militants and the internationally recognized Yemeni government resumed UN-backed prisoner swap negotiations in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on January 24. The two sides exchanged the largest number of prisoners in October 2020.[i]

Saudi-led coalition forces conducted airstrikes targeting al Houthi militants in al Mashjah front in central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on January 25. Anti–al Houthi and al Houthi militants clashed in Ma’rib governorate’s Murad front on January 22.[ii]

Anti–al Houthi and al Houthi militants clashed east of al Hazm district in al Jawf governorate on January 25.[iii]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Ugandan African Union Mission in Somalia forces and Somali officials claimed to kill 189 al Shabaab militants using helicopter gunships in three villages southwest of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on January 22.[iv]

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device targeting a vehicle in Mogadishu on January 23. The attack killed five Somali security force personnel and injured the vehicle’s occupants.[v]

Somali National Army (SNA) and Kenyan-backed Jubbaland State forces clashed in Beled Hawo in southwestern Somalia’s Gedo region on January 24. The clashes caused at least 11 civilian deaths.[vi]

[i] “Yemen’s warring sides resume prisoner exchange talks in Jordan,” Al Jazeera, January 24, 2021,; and Sarah Gordon and Hannah Kuperman, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 16, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 16, 2020,

[ii] “Houthi dead and wounded, and military vehicles destroyed in the al Mashjah front in Ma’rib,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, January 25, 2021,; and “Coalition fighters bomb Houthi gatherings west of Ma’rib,” Khabar Agency, January 25, 2021,; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 22, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 22, 2021,

[iii] “Al Houthi militia launches a suicide attack on the National Army east of al Hazm,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, January 25, 2021,

[iv] “Ugandan army says it has killed 189 Al Shabaab fighters in Somalia,” Mustaqbal Radio, January 23, 2021,; and “Ugandan forces in Somalia kill 189 Al-Shabab fighters,” Horseed, January 23, 2021,

[v] “Somalia: IED explosion targets traditional leaders in Mogadishu,” Horseed, January 23, 2021,

[vi] “Somali troops, Jubbaland regional forces clash ahead of elections,” Mustaqbal Radio, January 25, 2021,; and “Five children killed in motor shell attack as fighting escalates in Belet-Hawo,” Hiiraan, January 25, 2021,

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