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: Sudan partially withdraws forces from Yemen; UAE-backed security forces conduct raids in Aden; Hadi government-aligned forces clash with al Houthi forces in al Jawf

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab SVEST attack injures Mogadishu’s mayor; al Shabaab attacks SNA bases in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab releases video showing June 2018 ambush on Somali MPs; SNA special forces unit graduates from Turkish training facility in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Sudan recently withdrew part of its forces from three areas in Yemen’s Red Sea coast, according to a military spokesman for Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government. The UAE partially withdrew its forces from Yemen, particularly along the Red Sea coast, in June. Sudanese troops have fought in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led coalition since 2015.[1]

Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces conducted raids targeting unknown militants in Aden port city in southern Yemen on July 23. The forces seized weapons and ammunition as part of what they labeled a campaign against destabilizing elements in the city.[2]

Hadi government-aligned Yemeni forces and al Houthi forces clashed in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen on July 24. Hadi government-aligned forces claimed to kill a senior al Houthi commander during the clash.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

An al Shabaab militant detonated a suicide vest (SVEST) during a municipal security meeting in the mayor’s office in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on July 24. The explosion killed two Mogadishu district commissioners and injured Mogadishu’s mayor, Abdurahman Omar Osman. Al Shabaab claimed that the attack was an assassination attempt on UN Special Representative for Somalia James Swan, who had met with Mayor Osman in the same building earlier in the day.[4]

Al Shabaab militants attacked Somali National Army (SNA) troops at a training facility near Markatown in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on July 24. Al Shabaab militants separately attacked an SNA base in El Salin village in Lower Shabelle on July 24. SNA troops repulsed both attacks.[5]

Al Shabaab released a video on July 23 documenting a June 2018 ambush on an SNA convoy that was carrying two Hirshabelle state parliamentarians in central Somalia. The video is the thirteenth installment in al Shabaab’s “Disperse those who are behind them” video series.[6]

A new unit of SNA special forces graduated from a Turkish training facility in Mogadishu on July 24. The soldiers and officers received two years of training at the facility. A second SNA unit will be airlifted to Turkey for training later on July 24.[7]

Visit our Yemen,  UAE, Sudan and Somalia story streams.

[1] “Sudanese forces partially withdraw from Yemen,” Anadolu Agency, July 24, 2019, ; and “Yemeni military official: the withdrawal of Sudanese troops from Yemen and these forces replaced,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, July 24, 2019,

[2] “Ammunition and mortar seized in the capital of Aden,” Al Mashhad al Araby, July 23, 2019,

[3] The death of a leading Houthi leader with a number of his companions in al Jawf,” Hadramawt Net, July 24, 2019,اخر-اخبار-اليمن---مقتل-قيادي-حوثي-بارز-مع-عدد-من-مرافقيه-بالجوف.html.

[4] “Somalia: Explosion at Mogadishu municipality HQ kills senior officials,” Garowe, July 24, 2019,; Abdi Guled, “Deaths as bomber detonates in Mogadishu mayor’s office,” Associated Press,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 24, 2019,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 24, 2019,; and “Shabaab Claims Assassination Attempt on UN Special Envoy to Somalia,” SITE Intelligence Group, July 24, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 24, 2019,

[6] “Shabaab video shows June 2018 ambush on HIrshabelle MPs in Lower Shabelle,” SITE Intelligence Group, July 23, 2019, English translation is available by subscription at

[7] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 24, 2019,

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