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: Saudi special forces capture leader of Islamic State in Yemen; suspected US drone strike kills five AQAP militants in al Bayda; Hadi government denies rumors it will withdraw from Stockholm Agreement

Horn of Africa: Ethiopian authorities arrest 182 people over failed coup attempt; UN Special Representative for Somalia arrives in Mogadishu


The Saudi-led coalition announced the recent capture of the leader of the Islamic State in Yemen, Abu Osama al Muhajir, on June 25. Saudi special forces and Yemeni forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi captured al Muhajir in an unidentified location in Yemen on June 3, according to coalition officials. The joint Saudi-Yemeni forces captured other Islamic State in Yemen officials during the raid, including the group’s chief financial officer. Some local media sources reported that the raid occurred in al Mahrah governorate in eastern Yemen, but this is unconfirmed.[1]

A suspected US drone conducted an airstrike targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in the Tiyab area of al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on June 25. The strike killed five militants.[2]

President Hadi’s government denied Yemeni media reports that it was preparing to leave the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement on June 25. The Hadi government reiterated its support for the agreement, which calls for an al Houthi withdrawal from three Red Sea ports in Yemen, a partial ceasefire, and a prisoner swap. Yemeni media reported on June 24 and June 25 that the Hadi government was planning to leave the agreement in response to repeated al Houthi violations.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Ethiopian federal security forces arrested four high-ranking officials in the Amhara regional government, including the region’s deputy head of security, in Amhara region in northern Ethiopia on June 24. The officials are suspected of involvement in a failed coup attempt against the Amhara regional government on June 22 that killed five people, including the Chief of Staff of Ethiopia’s military. Federal security forces have arrested 178 additional suspects since the failed coup.[4]

The newly appointed UN Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu on June 25 to assume his office. Swan will also serve as the head of the UN Assistance Mission to Somalia. Swan is a career US diplomat and served in Somalia in the 1990s.[5]

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

[1] “Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Saudi Special Forces Capture Leader of Daesh (ISIS) Branch in Yemen,” Saudi Press Agency, June 25, 2019,; and “Questions about the reasons for the reservation to mention the location of the operation and the delay of its declaration,” Al Mawqea Post, June 25, 2019,

[2] “US raid kills five Ansar al-Sharia organization in al-Bayda,” Barakish, June 25, 2019,; and Maher Farrukh, Twitter, June 25, 2019,

[3] Mina Aldroubi, “Yemen government denies quitting Stockholm agreement,” The National, June 25, 2019,

[4] “Plotter of failed Ethiopia coup killed, 182 others arrested,” Associated Press, June 24, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – June 24, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, June 24, 2019,

[5] “New UN Special Representative for Somalia Arrives in Mogadishu,” United Nations Missions, June 25, 2019,

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