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 claim to shoot down Saudi-led coalition drone in al Hudaydah; Hadi government denies al Houthi claims of an offensive in southern Saudi Arabia; Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes in Sana’a and Sa’ada

Horn of Africa: US-backed Somali special forces raid al Shabaab positions in Lower Shabelle region; SNA claims to arrest al Shabaab spy involved in 2016 El Adde attack; Ethiopian Prime Minister attempts to mediate Sudan crisis

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces claimed to shoot down a US-made Saudi-led coalition surveillance drone in al Hudaydah city in in western Yemen on June 7. Al Houthi forces also claimed to shoot down a coalition surveillance drone in Najran region in southern Saudi Arabia on the same day.[1]

The spokesman for President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s army, Brigadier General Abdu Abdullah Majili, denied the al Houthi movement’s recent claims of a cross-border al Houthi offensive into Najran region. Majili further claimed that Hadi government-aligned forces control more than sixty percent of Yemen’s Sa’ada governorate, which borders Najran. Al Houthi-affiliated media outlets released footage of al Houthi forces allegedly attacking Saudi-led coalition vehicles in Najran region on June 7.[2]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes against the al Houthi-controlled Nahdeen military camp near the Yemeni capital Sana’a on June 7. The coalition also conducted airstrikes against al Houthi positions in Kitaf district and Mounabih district in Sa’ada governorate in northern Yemen on the same day.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

US-backed Somali special forces raided al Shabaab positions near the al Shabaab-controlled village of Tortoroow in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on June 5. Somali special forces briefly seized an al Shabaab base in the area before withdrawing. United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike in support of the operation, killing one al Shabaab militant.[4]

Somali National Army (SNA) forces claimed to capture an al Shabaab spy in Sanguni town in Lower Jubba region in southern Somalia on June 6. Some Somali media outlets reported that the spy defected, however. The spy was a member of the al Shabaab unit that attacked a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) base in El Adde in Gedo region in southern Somalia in January 2016. The El Adde attack killed over 150 KDF soldiers and is one of al Shabaab’s deadliest operations to date.[5]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed traveled to the  Sudanese capital Khartoum on June 7 in an attempt to mediate between between Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) and Sudanese opposition groups. Abiy held separate meetings with the leader of the TMC and officials from Sudan’s largest opposition coalition. Abiy’s mediation effort follows the TMC’s killing of over 100 protesters in Khartoum on June 3. The African Union suspended Sudan on June 6 in response to the massacre. The TMC is a council of military and security officials who overthrew Sudan’s longtime President Omar al Bashir in April.[6]


[1] “Air defenses down spy plane of aggression coalition in Hodeidah,” Saba News, June 7, 2019,; and “Air defenses down spy plane of aggression coalition in Najran, Saba News, June 7, 2019,

[2] “Yemen’s military releases footage of retaliatory missile attacks on Saudi targets in Najran,” Press TV, June 7, 2019,

[3] “Yemen army denies progress of the Houthis militarily near Saudi Arabia...Majili to al Sharq al Awsat: Armed forces control 60% of Sa’ada,” Huna Aden, June 7, 2019,

[4] “Somalia, US troops target al Shabaab base,” Mareeg, June 7, 2019,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, June 6, 2019,; and “U.S. airstrike targets al-Shabaab in support of the Federal Government of Somalia,” June 7, 2019,

[5] “Somali army arrest suspected al Shabaab spy near Kismayo,” Mareeg, June 6, 2019,; “El Adde attacker defected to Somalia Government,” Mustaqbal Radio, June 6, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, June 6, 2019,

[6] “Ethiopia’s Aby in Sudan to broker talks,” Voice of America, June 7, 2019,; “Ethiopia’s PM Abiy holds talks with members of the Sudan’s opposition alliance,” Reuters, June 7, 2019,; Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia, Twitter, June 7, 2019,; and Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia, Twitter, June 7, 2019,

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