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 attempts attack on commercial vessel in Red Sea; al Houthi movement claims drone attacks on power plant and airport in southern Saudi Arabia; al Houthi leader rescinds amnesty of pro-Hadi parliamentarians

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab appoints new governor of Banadir region; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED in Lower Jubba region

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi-led coalition intercepted an al Houthi unmanned explosives-laden boat that was targeting a commercial vessel in the southern Red Sea on July 8. An al Houthi spokesman denied the attempted attack.[1]

Al Houthi forces claimed to attack a power plant and a regional airport with drones in Abha city in Asir region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on July 9. The Saudi-led coalition claimed to intercept al Houthi drones in Saudi Arabia on the same day but did not specify if the drones were targeting Abha. The al Houthi movement has targeted Abha airport with drones and missiles multiple times in recent weeks.[2] 

Al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi announced that he would rescind an amnesty for Yemeni parliamentarians aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on July 9. The parliamentarians had previously received amnesty from the Yemeni government for their roles in former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government, which lasted until 2011. Anti-al Houthi sources claimed that the al Houthi movement intends to confiscate the property of the parliamentarians in question, most of whom do not currently reside in al Houthi-controlled territory.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab appointed Dahir Moallim Salad as its new governor of Banadir region in southern Somalia on July 8. Banadir consists of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, which al Shabaab does not control. Salad was previously a member of the Amniyat, al Shabaab’s intelligence branch. Salad will replace Ali Mohamed Hussein, who was killed in a US airstrike in July 2017.[4]

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) along the road to Dhobley town near the Kenyan border in Somalia’s Lower Jubba region on July 8. The explosion killed four civilians and injured four others.[5]

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[1] “Saudi-led coalition says it foiled Red Sea ship attack, Houthis deny,” Reuters, July 8, 2019,; “Details: The coalition thwarted a Houthi attack with a booby-trapped boat targeting a merchant ship south of the Red Sea,” Akhbar Yemen, July 8, 2019,; and Masirah TV, Twitter, July 9, 2019,

[2] Masirah TV, Twitter, July 9, 2019,; “Yemen's Houthis Say They Attacked Saudi Airport, Power Station,” The New York Times, July 8, 2019,; “The Coalition announces the downing of a Houthi remote-controlled plane towards Saudi Arabia” Yemen Akhbar, July 9, 2019,; and “Coalition Forces intercept Houthi drone launched towards Saudi Arabia,” Emirates News Agency, July 09, 2019.

[3] “Houthi efforts in Sana’a to try the representatives of the legitimate government,” Barakish, July 9, 2019,; and “al-Houthi is trying representatives of the legitimate government,” Mareb Press, July 9, 2019,

[4] “Al Shabaab appoints shadow governor for Somalia’s capital,” Garowe, July 9, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 8, 2019,

[5] “At least 4 civilians killed in IED blast near Somali-Kenyan border,” Radio Shabelle, July 9, 2019,; and “Deadly blast hits minivan near border town,” Mareeg, July 9, 2019,

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