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: AQAP claims attacks on Islamic State in al Bayda; Saudi-led coalition intercepts al Houthi drone in Hajjah; Emirati-backed security forces clash with pro-Hadi forces in Socotra; al Houthi forces ambush Saudi-led coalition forces in al Jawf; al Houthi movement agrees to UN inspection of ships in al Hudaydah

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab fighter defects to SNA in Bay region; USAID reopens permanent mission in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to kill eight Islamic State in Yemen fighters over the course of a week in the Qayfa area of al Bayda governorate in central Yemen. AQAP claimed to kill the Islamic State militants in sniper attacks and in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack.[1]

The Saudi-led coalition intercepted an al Houthi armed drone in Hajjah governorate in northwestern Yemen on June 19. The coalition said that al Houthi forces had launched the drone from al Hudaydah port city in western Yemen.[2]

Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces clashed with Yemeni Coast Guard forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Socotra island in the Arabian Sea on June 18. The clashes began when Coast Guard units prevented al Hizam forces from offloading military equipment in the island’s main port. Hundreds of Socotra residents protested against the island’s governor, Ramzi Mahrous, the following day. Al Hizam forces deployed to Socotra in early May, which prompted members of President Hadi’s government to criticize the UAE for the deployment.[3]

Al Houthi forces ambushed a vehicle carrying Saudi-led coalition forces in Khab wa al Shaaf district in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen on June 19. Al Houthi forces claimed to inflict multiple casualties.[4]

The al Houthi movement and UN agreed on a mechanism to inspect ships docked at al Hudaydah port in western Yemen on June 18. Al Houthi forces unilaterally withdrew from al Hudaydah port and two other Red Sea ports in May. The 2018 UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement calls for the demilitarization of al Hudaydah port.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

An al Shabaab militant defected to the Somali National Army (SNA) in Dinsor town in Bay region in southern Somalia on June 18. Two al Shabaab officials defected to the SNA in Bardhere town in Gedo region in southern Somalia a week prior.[6]

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) reopened a permanent mission in Somalia on June 17, 2019 after 28 years without a mission in the country. USAID officials also announced 185 million US dollars in humanitarian assistance for Somalia during the mission’s opening ceremony in the Somali capital Mogadishu.[7]

[1] “AQAP Claims Killing 8 from IS in al-Bayda’, Denies IS Report on Sniping Fighter,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 19, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[2] “Arab Coalition intercepts drone carrying explosives in Yemeni airspace,” Al Arabiya, June 19, 2019,

[3] “Fighting broke out between government troops and UAE-backed forces in Socotra,” Al Mashhad Al Yemeni, June 19, 2019,; “Hundreds protest in Socotra against the governor of the island,” Yemen Akhbar, June 19, 2019,; and “Yemen government says UAE sending separatist fighters to Socotra,” May 10, 2019,

[4] “Dead and wounded mercenaries in a quantity of engineering unit in Al-Jouf,” September 26, June 19, 2019,

[5] “Yemen’s Houthis to allow U.N. to inspect ships in Hodeidah: sources,” Reuters, June 18, 2019,

[6] “Somali military welcomes fighter defected from al Shabaab,” Mareeg, June 18, 2019,

[7] Nike Ching, “US Reopens Permanent USAID Mission in Somalia,” Voice of America, June 17, 2019,; and “Somalia: Opening of USAID mission Mogadishu,” US Department of State, June 17, 2019,

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