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 announces naval coalition to patrol Strait of Hormuz and Bab al Mandeb; Saudi-led coalition claims to intercept 40 al Houthi boats in recent weeks; AQAP claims ambush on al Houthi fighters in al Bayda Governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab officials surrenders to SNA in Lower Jubba region; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED in Gedo region; Islamic State to release videos in Amharic; Ethiopian PM sends envoys to mediate Kenya-Somalia diplomatic dispute

Yemen Security Brief

The US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, announced that the US is forming a coalition to patrol waters in the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and the Bab al Mandeb Strait off the Yemeni coast on July 8. The US seeks to enlist allies to join the coalition and said it will provide surveillance and command ships to lead the efforts. Suspected Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces have sabotaged oil tankers and attacked a US surveillance around the Strait of Hormuz in recent weeks. Suspected al Houthi forces separately attempted to attack commercial shipping near the Bab al Mandeb on July 8.[1]

Saudi-led coalition spokesman Turki al Maliki released photos on July 9 of the attempted July 8 attack on a commercial vessel in the Red Sea, which the coalition blames on the al Houthi movement. Maliki claimed that the IRGC gave the al Houthi movement the remote-controlled explosive boat technology used in the attack. Maliki also claimed that the Saudi-led coalition had intercepted 40 al Houthi remote-controlled explosive boats in waters off Yemen in recent weeks.[2]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to ambush al Houthi fighters in Shukan village in al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on July 7. AQAP claimed to kill one al Houthi militant in the attack.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A senior al Shabaab official, Hussein Hassan Cambeer, surrendered to the Somali National Army (SNA) near Bar Sanguni town in Lower Jubba region in southern Somalia on July 9. SNA and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces have conducted two clearance operations against al Shabaab in villages in Lower Jubba over the past month.[4]

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) on the road to Fafadun town near the Kenyan border in Somalia’s Gedo region on July 9. The explosion killed five civilians.[5]

The Islamic State is preparing to release propaganda material online in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, according to users in an Islamic State-affiliated chatroom. The users stated that the Islamic State will soon release Amharic translations of two of the group’s videos titled “The Path of Jihad” and “For the Sake of Allah.”[6]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy sent envoys to Kenya and Somalia to mediate an ongoing diplomatic dispute between the two nations on July 9. Abiy has scheduled a meeting between Somali Federal Government President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to be held in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on July 13.[7]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Ethiopia story streams.

[1] Phil Stewart, “US wants military coalition to safeguard waters off Iran, Yemen,” Reuters, July 9, 2019,; “The United States is recruiting military allies in waters of the Persian Gulf and Yemen,” Al Watan News, July 10, 2019,; and “American Arrangements to declare an international military alliance to protect international shipping off coast of Yemen and the Gulf,” Al Mashad-Al Yemeni, July 10, 2019,

[2] “Al-Maliki: al Houthi boats are Iranian..and we will work on freedom of navigation,” Sky News Arabic, July 9, 2019,; and “With evidence..Coalition forces explain the al Houthi terror attempt,” Sky News Arabic, July 9, 2019,

[3] “AQAP claims strike on Houthi fighters in Al-Bayda, bombing SBF vehicle in Abyan,” SITE Intelligence Group, July 10, 2019, English translation is available by subscription at

[4] “Senior al Shabaab leader surrenders to Somali government,” Goobjoog, July 10, 2019,; “Gulf of Aden Security Review – June 24, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, June 24, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 1, 2019, Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 1, 2019,

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 9, 2019,

[6] JihadoScope, Twitter, July 9, 2019,

[7] Aggrey Mutambo, “Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed steps up mediation in Kenya, Somalia sea row,” July 10, 2019, Daily Nation,

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