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 movement and Saudi-led coalition trade blame over explosion in Sa’ada; al Houthi movement claims drone attack on Saudi air base; al Islah party members clash in Taiz

Horn of Africa: Ethiopian forces deploy to Kismayo; unidentified aircraft target al Shabaab in Lower and Middle Jubba regions; al Shabaab emir rumored to hold rare meeting with top advisers; al Shabaab distributes food aid near Jilib town; al Shabaab attacks KDF base near Kenya-Somalia border

Yemen Security Brief

An explosion at a market in Qatabir district in Sa’ada governorate in northern Yemen killed 13 civilians and injured 23 others on July 29. The al Houthi movement blamed the Saudi-led coalition for the explosion. The Saudi-led coalition denied this and claimed that the al Houthi movement had attacked the market with artillery as part of a campaign against local tribes.[1]

The al Houthi movement claimed a drone attack on King Khaled Air Base near Khamis Mushayt city in Asir region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on July 29. The Saudi-led coalition has not commented on the claim.[2]

Members of the Islamist al Islah party clashed with each other in Taiz governorate in southwestern Yemen on July 29, according to anti-al Islah media. The clashes followed a dispute between rival al Islahi commanders over the distribution of electricity. The clashes injured three civilians.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) deployed to Kismayo, the capital of Jubbaland state in southern Somalia, on July 29. ENDF soldiers deployed to Kismayo Airport and reportedly took control of the rest of the city following the withdrawal of Kenyan forces, according to unconfirmed media reports. Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe reportedly left a meeting with Ethiopian commanders on July 29 out of fear that the Ethiopians would arrest him.[4]

Unidentified aircraft conducted multiple airstrikes against al Shabaab in southern Somalia on July 29. Aircraft conducted an airstrike targeting a ceremony for new recruits of Jeysh Ayman, an al Shabaab unit that operates in Kenya, in Jamame town in Lower Jubba region. Unconfirmed reports said that the strike killed the leader of Jeysh Ayman. Unidentified aircraft also conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab commanders in Buale town in Middle Jubba region.[5]

Al Shabaab emir Ahmad Umar AKA Abu Ubaidah recently held a rare meeting with senior al Shabaab officials and advisers in Bay region in southern Somalia, according to Somali journalist Harun Maruf. The group discussed security and reforming al Shabaab’s organization for regional governance.[6]

Al Shabaab distributed food to people suffering from leprosy on the outskirts of Jilib town in Lower Jubba region on July 28 and July 29. Al Shabaab published photos of the food assistance.[7]

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) base with mortars in Elwaq, a town on the Kenyan-Somali border, on July 29. Al Shabaab claimed to inflict heavy casualties.[8]

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

[1] Mohammed Ghobari, “Attack on Yemen market kills more than 10, warring parties trade blame,” Reuters, July 29, 2019,; Mohammed al Houthi, Twitter, July 29, 2019,;

“Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen condemns the heinous crime committed by the terrorist Houthi militia in Al Thabit market,” Saudi Press Agency, July 30, 2019,; and “Civilian market bombed in Sa’ada.. The coalition and the Houthis exchange accusations,” Al Jazeera, July 30, 2019,اليمن-صعدة-سوق-قتلى-أطفال-التحالف-الحوثيون

[2] Masirah TV, July 29, 2019, Twitter,

[3] “3 civilians injured and shops destroyed in armed clashes between the Islah factions in Taiz,” Hadramout, July 30, 2019,

[4] “Ethiopian Troops Seize Kismayo Ahead of Elections,” Mareeg, July 30, 2019,; Somablog, Twitter, July 29, 2019,; and Ahmed Wehliye Gaashaan, Twitter, July 30, 2019,

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 29, 2019,; and “Al Shabaab commander killed in New Strike in Jamaame,” Mareeg, July 30, 2019,

[6] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 29, 2019,

[7] ­­“Shabaab Claims Bombing in Kenya’s Mandera County and Multiple Operations in Somalia, Reports Charitable Work for Leprosy Patients,” SITE Intelligence Group, July 28, 2019, English Translation is Available by Subscription at

[8] “Somalia: KDF Base Hit By Rockets,” Mareeg, July 29, 2019,

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