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: Emirati-backed forces raid AQAP camp in eastern Yemen; reported U.S. airstrike kills AQAP militants in northern Yemen; Emirati leadership threatens to resume offensive on al Hudaydah port if UN negotiations fail; militants assassinate imam in Aden; boat transporting 160 African migrants capsizes near Shabwah governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab conduct complex attack on SNA base in Sanguni, Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab attacks SNA base in Mogadishu; likely al Shabaab militants detonate VBIED and IED in Mogadishu; SNA claims dismantling al Shabaab networks in Qoryoley town, Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

Emirati-backed Shabwani Elite Forces raided an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) training camp in Wadi Madhib, al Said district near the district border of Ataq in eastern Yemen on July 20. AQAP has historically maintained strongholds and a support base in al Said district. Shabwani Elite Forces are tasked with security and counterterrorism operations in Shabwah governorate.[1]

A reported U.S. airstrike killed four AQAP militants in Sirwah district, Ma'rib governorate, northern Yemen on July 22. The airstrike hit a house in which the militants were staying, according to local reports.[2]

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash stated on July 22 that the UAE will resume its assault on al Hudaydah port if UN efforts fail to convince al Houthi forces to withdraw from the port.[3]

Militants assassinated Imam Mohammed Ragheb in al Mualla, Aden city, southern Yemen on July 21. Iman Ragheb had close ties to the Islah party, a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated party that is allied with Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.[4]  

A boat carrying 160 Somali and Ethiopian migrants capsized off the southern shore of Shabwah governorate, southern Yemen on July 20. The boat came from Bosaaso, Somalia and capsized due to rough travel conditions. At least 60 people are missing from the boat.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) at a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Sanguni town, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on July 23. Al Shabaab militants stormed the base after detonating the SVBIED. Al Shabaab claimed to have killed 27 SNA soldiers in the attack. Somalia’s Ministry of Information claimed that the SNA killed 87 al Shabaab militants.[6]

Al Shabaab attacked an SNA base in Jazeera area, Mogadishu on July 21. Al Shabaab claimed to have killed four soldiers in the attack.[7]

Likely al Shabaab militants detonated a VBIED in Bondhere District, Mogadishu on July 21. The VBIED killed an employee of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and injured two others. Likely al Shabaab militants detonated an IED targeting a senior police official in Forilow, outside of Mogadishu, on July 21. Al Shabaab claimed killing six Banadir regional administration employees in the IED explosion. The police official escaped the explosion, which killed a civilian.[8]

The SNA claimed to have dismantled al Shabaab networks in Qoryoley town, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on July 21. The SNA operation targeted al Shabaab bomb-making facilities. The SNA claimed to capture al Shabaab militants in the attack.[9]

[1] “Shabwani Elite forces launch military operation on al Qaeda training site,” Aden al Ghad, July 20, 2018,

[2] “Four unidentified men were killed in an airstrike by a US drone in Marib,” Al Masdar Online, July 23, 2018,

[3] Anwar Gargash, Twitter, July 22, 2018,; and "A severe military confrontation is imminent if Houthi refuses to "withdraw peacefully," Mareb Press, July 23, 2018,

[4] “"The assassination of the imam of Abdullah Azzam mosque in southern Yemen," Al Jazeera, July 22, 2018, 

[5]“ Boat with 160 African migrants reportedly capsizes off Yemen,” AP News, July 20, 2018,; “Shipwreck off the Yemen shore,” l’Osservatore Romano, July 20, 2018,

[6] “Somalia’s al Shabaab says it storms southern military base, kills 27 troops,” Reuters, July 23, 2018,; “Somalia says over 100 wounded 87 terrorists killed in Sanguni raid,” Mareeg, July 23, 2018,; “Somalia’s al-Shabab attacks on military base near Kismayo,” Mareeg, July 23, 2018,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 23, 2018,; and “Al-shabab attacks Somali military base with explosives and gunfire,” Radio Kulmiye, July 23, 2018,

[7] Tuuryare_Africa, Twitter, July 22, 2018,; and “Somalia: Deadly clash kills soldiers in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, July 22, 2018,

[8] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 21, 2018,; Mogadishu_News, Twitter, July 21, 2018,; “Car explosions killed one in Mogadishu,” Radio Dalsan, July 21, 2018,; “Somalia: 3 people killed in double explosions in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, July 21, 2018,; “Car bombing in Mogadishu kills 1, wounds at least 3 people,” Radio Shabelle, July 21, 2018,; and “Somali police escape roadside bomb near Mogadishu,” Radio Shabelle, July 21, 2018,

[9] “Somali army claims victory over battle with Al-Shabab militants,” Radio Shabelle, July 23, 2018,; and “Somali army destroys al-Shabab’s networks in southern region,” Hiiraan, July 23, 2018,

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