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 Houthi forces conduct multiple drone attacks in southern Saudi Arabia; US diplomat meets with Hadramawt governor in al Mukalla

Horn of Africa: Kenyan security forces destroy al Shabaab IED assembly camp in Garissa County; SNA implements biometric payment system; SFG President calls for plan to prevent al Shabaab infiltration of government offices

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi-led coalition forces intercepted an al Houthi drone targeting King Khaled Air Base near Khamis Mushayt city in Asir region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on July 25. Al Houthi forces claimed to attack Abha regional airport, located near Khamis Mushayt, with a drone on the same day. Saudi-led coalition forces also intercepted an al Houthi drone targeting Jizan city in southwestern Saudi Arabia on July 26. [1]

The US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, Denise Natali, met with the Governor of Yemen’s Hadramawt governorate, Faraj Salmin al Bahsani, and officials from President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in al Mukalla port city in Hadramawt on July 26. Natali reaffirmed the US commitment to Yemeni unity and stability. Governor Bahsani stressed Hadramawt's need for international support during the meeting.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Kenyan security forces destroyed an al Shabaab camp and improvised explosive device (IED) assembly site near Gaame village in Garissa County in eastern Kenya on July 24. Security forces recovered weapons, explosives, electronics, food, and medicine from the camp.[3]

The Somali National Army (SNA) announced that it has successfully implemented an electronic payment system for its soldiers in recent months. The new system links soldiers’ payments to a biometric database containing fingerprints, personal details, and bank account information. The SNA claims that the system has led to the removal of approximately 10,000 “ghost soldiers” from the SNA payroll.[4]

Somali Federal Government (SFG) President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo held a meeting with SFG security chiefs on July 25. Farmajo called on the security services to develop a comprehensive plan to prevent individuals within the SFG from collaborating with al Shabaab. SFG security forces suspect that an al Shabaab militant who attacked the Mogadishu mayor’s office with a suicide vest on July 24 received assistance from SFG personnel.[5]

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[1] Masirah TV, Twitter, July 25, 2019,; Saudi Press Agency, Twitter, July 25, 2019,; Masirah TV, Twitter, July 26, 2019,; Masirah TV, Twitter, July 25, 2019,; and Saudi Press Agency, Twitter, July 26, 2019,

[2] “Yemen News Now- American Assistant Secretary of State on an important trip to #Hadramawt,” Hadramout, July 26, 2019,; and Denise Natali, Twitter, July 26, 2019,

[3] “Police destroy Shabaab IEDs assembly site in Garissa,” Daily Nation, July 26, 2019,

[4] “Under siege, Somalia moves to reform its army, pay troops,” Hiiraan, July 26, 2019,

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 26, 2019,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 24, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 24, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 24, 2019,

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