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 Arabia proposes cease-fire in Yemen; al Houthis claim drone attacks in Riyadh; Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes on al Houthi positions in Sana’a and Ma’rib governorates
Horn of Africa: SFG schedules presidential elections conference with select federal member states; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM base in Middle Shabelle region; al Shabaab interviews prisoners released from Bari region; SNA claims arresting al Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle region
Yemen Security Brief:
Saudi Arabia announced a cease-fire plan for Yemen’s ongoing civil war on March 22. A Saudi official said the kingdom would formally present the plan to the al Houthi movement and the internationally recognized Yemeni government later the same day. The plan includes reopening Sana’a’s airport in the al Houthi–held Yemeni capital of Sana’a. Saudi Arabia announced a unilateral cease-fire in Yemen in April 2020, however, the cease-fire collapsed.[i]
The al Houthi movement claimed to launch six drones on Saudi Aramco oil facilities in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on March 19. The attack caused a fire but did not cause any casualties. The al Houthi movement claimed to target Riyadh’s international airport with a drone on March 22.[ii]
The Saudi-led coalition claimed to target al Houthi workshops for assembling drones and ballistic missiles in Sana’a city on March 21. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi militants in the capital of central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate, east of Sana’a, on March 20.[iii]
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
The Somali Federal Government (SFG) scheduled a meeting with Hirshabelle, Galmudug, and South West State representatives to discuss a plan for presidential elections in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on March 22. Puntland and Jubbaland State representatives will not attend the meeting. Puntland and Jubbaland State Presidents formed the National Salvation Council with Somali opposition presidential candidates and the Chairman of the Somali Upper House on March 18 to advocate for efficient and fair presidential elections.[iv]
Al Shabaab attacked a Burundian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base in Mahaday town in central Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region on March 21. Al Shabaab attacked a Burundian AMSIOM base in Middle Shabelle region in late February.[v]
Al Shabaab released a sixth interview on March 18 with a prisoner the group released in a prison raid in Boosaaso in northern Somalia’s Bari region. Al Shabaab claimed Puntland State security officials wrongly accused the man of a crime while he was a student and tortured him in prison. Al Shabaab released a fifth prisoner interview on March 17.[vi]
Somali National Army troops claimed to arrest six al Shabaab members and to seize their weapons in villages across southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on March 18. Somali special forces claimed to thwart an al Shabaab suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack in Lower Shabelle region on March 15.[vii]
[i] Jon Gambrell and Isabel Debre, “Saudi Arabia offers cease-fire plan to Yemen rebels,” Associated Press, March 22, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-dubai-saudi-arabia-united-arab-emirates-riyadh-5bb3778d54227f77beea2bd017cd7554; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 9, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 9, 2020. https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-9-2020.
[ii] Lisa Barrington, “Drone strike on Riyadh oil refinery claimed by Houthis causes fire,” Reuters, March 19, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/saudi-security-yemen-int/drone-strike-on-riyadh-oil-refinery-claimed-by-houthis-causes-fire-idUSKBN2BB19Q; and “Saudi Arabia: Al-Houthis claim drone attack on Riyadh airport early March 22,” Garda, March 22, 2021, https://www.garda.com/crisis24/news-alerts/458271/saudi-arabia-al-houthis-claim-drone-attack-on-riyadh-airport-early-march-22.
[iii] “Saudi-led coalition targets Houthi missiles’ workshops in Yemen’s Sanaa: State media,” Reuters, March 21, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-saudi/saudi-led-coalition-targets-houthi-missiles-workshops-in-yemens-sanaa-state-media-idUSKBN2BD0S9; and Edward Yeranian, “Saudi Coalition Retaliates Against Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen,” Voice of America, March 20, 2021, https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/saudi-coalition-retaliates-against-iran-backed-houthi-forces-yemen.
[iv]“Forum national salvation looga in Mogadishu,” Hiiraan, March 18, 2021, https://www.hiiraan.com/news/2021/Mar/wararka_maanta18-177036.htm?utm_source=hiiraan&utm_medium=WararkaMaantaFront; “Jubband, Puntland skip second round of elections technical committee meeting in Mogadishu,” Hiiraan, March 18, 2021, https://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2021/Mar/182020/jubband_puntland_skip_second_round_of_elections_technical_committee_meeting_in_mogadishu.aspx?utm_source=hiiraan&utm_medium=SomaliNewsUpdateFront; “POLL CIRCUS: FGS summons Baidoa team as tiff with FMS/CPC swirls,” Goobjoog, March 18, 2021, https://goobjoog.com/english/poll-circus-fgs-summons-baidoa-team-as-tiff-with-fms-cpc-swirls/; and “Farmaajo meets allied FMS leaders as Deni, Madobe keep off,” Goobjoog, March 22, 2021, https://goobjoog.com/english/farmaajo-meets-allied-fms-leaders-as-deni-madobe-keep-off/.
[v] “Burundian soldier killed in Somalia attack Al Shabaab,” Radio Shabelle, March 22, 2021, http://www.radioshabelle.com/burundian-soldier-killed-in-somalia-attack-al-shabaab/; “AMISOM soldier killed in Middle Shabelle,” Somalimemo, March 21, 2021, https://somalimemo.info/articles/14417/Weerar-lagu-dilay-askari-katirsan-AMISOM-Sh-dhexe-ka-dhacay; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – February 26, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 26, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-february-26-2021.
[vi] “Listen to the 6th Ring Interview with the Prisoners of Bossaso Prison,” Calamada, March 19, 2021, http://calamada.com/dhageyso-xalqada-6-aad-ee-wareysiyada-maxaabiistii-xabsiga-boosaaso/; and “Listen to the 5th Ring Interview with the Prisoners of Bossaso Prison,” Calamada, March 18, 2021, http://calamada.com/dhageyso-xalqada-5-aad-ee-wareysiyada-maxaabiistii-xabsiga-boosaaso/.
[vii] “Somali army arrests six militants in southern region,” Hiiraan, March 19, 2021, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2021/Mar/182022/somali_army_arrests_six_militants_in_southern_region.aspx; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 17, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 17, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-15-2021.