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 claims IED attack on UAE-backed forces in Abyan governorate; Saudi-coalition intercepts two Houthi drones in southwestern Saudi Arabia; UN Special Envoy to Yemen meets with Russian Foreign Minister in Moscow

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab commander defects; SNA and AMISOM forces target al Shabaab in Middle and Lower Shabelle; al Shabaab conducts operations in Mogadishu, Lower Shabelle, Bay, and Bakool; Sudanese military council agrees to resume talks with opposition

Yemen Security Brief

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a vehicle used by forces backed by the UAE in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on June 29. AQAP conducted a similar attack on UAE-backed forces in al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on June 26.[1]

The Saudi-led coalition intercepted two Houthi drones targeting locations in southwestern Saudi Arabia on June 29. A Saudi spokesman stated that the drones targeted Jizan Regional Airport and Asir province and that coalition forces destroyed both drones. Al Houthi-run media announced earlier on June 29 that the al Houthi forces launched attacks on military positions and airplane hangars at the Jizan airport. The drone interceptions follow airstrikes carried out by Houthi drones against Jizan Airport and Abha International Airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia on June 23.[2]

United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Russia on July 1. Griffiths and Lavrov discussed the ongoing crisis in Yemen and the role of Russia in the peace process. Griffiths will next travel to the UAE and Oman to continue talks on Yemen with regional leaders.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab commander Mukhtar Mohamed Abdi defected from the organization and arrived in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, on June 29. Abdi served in Jabhat, al Shabaab’s army, in the Bay and Bakool regions from 2008 to 2013. Al Shabaab detained Abdi in 2013 for links to the American foreign fighter Omar Hammami. Al Shabaab militants killed Hammami in 2013 after a dispute.[4]

Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces seized Madah town in the Middle Shabelle region of southern Somalia from al Shabaab militants on June 30. Separately, Somali Danab special forces and Jubbaland security forces conducted a joint operation against al Shabaab in Jamaame town in the Lower Jubba region of southern Somalia on June 28. The operation killed ten militants.[5]

Al Shabaab conducted multiple attacks in southern Somalia. Al Shabaab militants clashed with SNA forces in Hudur town in the Bakool region of southern Somalia on June 28 and 29. Five al Shabaab militants and five SNA soldiers died in the clashes. Al Shabaab militants detonated an IED in Bakara Market in the Hawl Wadag district of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, on June 30. The blast injured three civilians. Al Shabaab militants attacked an SNA base in Barire town in the Lower Shabelle region of southern Somalia on June 30. Al Shabaab militants attacked Ethiopian AMISOM forces with an IED on the road between Berdale and Adwinley in the Bay region of southern Somalia on June 30.[6]

The Sudanese Transitional Military Council (TMC) agreed to resume talks with the Sudanese opposition group on July 1 after reviewing the joint transition plan submitted by the African Union and Ethiopian envoys. Thousands of people protested the TMC and called for a transition to civilian rule on June 30 in Khartoum, Sudan. Sudanese security forces killed at least 10 protesters during the demonstrations.[7]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan story streams.

[1] Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, June 30, 2019,

[2] Ali Abdelaty, “Saudi-led coalition says intercepted Houthi drone launched at Jizan airport,” Reuters, June 29, 2019,; and “Saudi Led Coalition intercepts two Houthi drones targeting Jazan, Asir,” Emirates News Agency, June 30, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” Critical Threats Project,  June 24, 2019,

[3] Asma al Ghabri, “Griffith begins his shuttle trip by meeting Lavrov and his deputy in Russia,” Al Sharq al Awsat, July 1, 2019,;

[4] “Somalia: Defected Commander Airlifted to Mogadishu,” Mareeg, June 29, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, June 29, 2019,

[5] “8 militants killed in southern Somalia,” Radio Kulmiye, June 29, 2019,; and “Somali troops retake new area from al Shabaab,” Radio Shabelle, June 30, 2019,

[6] “Twelve killed as army clashes with Islamists in southern Somalia,” Garowe, July 2, 2019,; “Blast injures 3 people in Mogadishu, suspects arrested,” Mareeg, June 30, 2019,; “Somalia, AU troops clash with al Shabaab,” Mareeg, June 30, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, June 29, 2019,

[7] “Sudan’s Military Council Accepts AU-Ethiopia Proposal,” Al Jazeera, July 1, 2019,; and “Death Toll from Clashes at Sudan Rallies Climbs to 10,” The Washington Post, July 1, 2019,

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