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 official condemns Arab governments’ relations with Israel; al Houthi forces kill Hajoor tribal leader in Hajjah governorate; Amnesty International accuses coalition-backed forces of child rape in Taiz

Horn of Africa: U.S.-backed Somali special forces raid al Shabaab camp near Jowhar; Kenyan police arrest al Shabaab suspects near Mombasa; Ugandan President threatens to withdraw Ugandan troops from AMISOM if drawdown continues; al Shabaab militants attack SNA base in Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) official Khalid al Batarfi condemned Saudi Arabia’s relations with Israel and called for regime change in Saudi Arabia in a video released on March 10. Al Batarfi’s video also condemned leaders from Egypt, the UAE, and Qatar. The video was the first AQAP video to mention Omani leader Sultan Qaboos.  Al Batarfi previously condemned Pope Francis’s visit to the UAE and suggested an uprising against political and religious leaders in the UAE on February 28.[1]

Al Houthi movement forces killed Hajoor tribal leader and field commander Abu Musalim al Zakri during a raid on his home in Hajjah governorate in northwestern Yemen March 10. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Minister of Human Rights separately appealed to the UN Commission on Human Rights on March 10 to aid the Hajoor tribe and force the al Houthi movement to end its operation against the Hajoor in Hajjah governorate.[2]

Amnesty International claimed on March 8 that Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition have committed acts of child rape in Taiz governorate in western Yemen over the past eight months. Protesters in Aden separately demonstrated last week after the death of a witness to a child rape that was allegedly committed by members of the Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

U.S.-backed Somali special forces raided an al Shabaab camp near Jowhar town, the capital of Middle Shabelle region in southern Somalia, on March 8. U.S. aircraft conducted a strike in support of the operation, which killed eight militants. Al Shabaab claimed to repulse the attack without suffering any casualties.[4]

Kenyan anti-terror police arrested ten suspected al Shabaab militants during a raid in Ngombeni town south of Mombasa in Kwale County in southeastern Kenya on March 9. Kenyan police seized materials for assembling improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and a tear gas canister during the raid.[5]

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni threatened on March 7 to withdraw all of Uganda’s troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) if the current drawdown of AMISOM forces continues. Museveni stated that he opposes the UN’s plan to conduct a phased drawdown of AMISOM forces by 2021. Uganda is the largest troop contributor to AMISOM with 6,400 troops.[6]

Sudanese police arrested multiple opposition leaders amid ongoing protests throughout Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, on March 10. Police arrested Deputy Chairman of the National Umma Party, Mariam Sadiq al Mahdi, while she led a protest outside the party’s headquarters.[7]

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base in the Bulo Marer area of Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on March 9. SNA forces repulsed the attack after an hour-long gun fight.[8]

Visit our Yemen, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Somalia story streams.

[1] “AQAP official attacks Saudi Arabia for ‘quickening’ normalization with Israel, urges regime change,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 10, 2019, English translation available by subscription at; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, March 10, 2019,

[2] “The president and his deputy are proud of the martyrdom of resistance leader,” March 11, 2019, Aden Lng,; and “Yemen Appeals to UN to Save Hajour Tribes from Houthi Onslaught,” Asharq al Awsat, March 11, 2019,

[3] “Yemen: Taiz authorities must tackle child rape and abuse under militia rule,” Amnesty International, March 8, 2019,

[4] “8 killed as US, Somali troops raid on Al Shabaab targets,” Mareeg, March 9, 2019,

[5] “10 al Shabaab suspects arrested in Kenya,” Mareeg, March 9, 2019,

[6] “Uganda joins chorus to quit AMISOM over cuts,” The East African, March 10, 2019,

[7] Mohammed Amin, “Sudan’s opposition figures arrested amid others,” Anadolu Agency, March 10, 2019,

[8] “Al Shabaab launches raid on Somali army outpost,” Radio Shabelle, March 9, 2019,

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