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-led coalition targets al Houthi UAV storage sites in Sana’a; Hadi and Houthi forces exchange artillery fire in al Hudaydah city; al Houthi spokesman reiterates threat to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab storms ministry compound in Mogadishu; airstrike kills Kenyan al Shabaab commander in Middle Jubba region; roadside bomb kills university staff member in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi-led coalition Joint Forces Command conducted strikes to destroy two al Houthi UAV storage sites in Sana’a on March 23, according to Saudi-led coalition spokesman Turki al Maliki. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes also targeted al Houthi camps in Sana’a, including al Daylami Air Base, on March 23, according to pro-Saudi media.[1]

Forces aligned with the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and al Houthi forces exchanged heavy artillery and rocket fire in the July 7 district of al Hudaydah city on March 24 and 25.[2]

Al Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea reiterated the threat that al Houthi forces have missiles that can reach Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Sarea also alleged that Hadi government-aligned forces had moved reinforcements into al Hudaydah city in preparation for an escalation of hostilities.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attacked a government ministry in Mogadishu on March 23, killing 11 people including parliamentarian and Deputy Labor Minister Saqar Ibrahim Abdala. The militants detonated two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) at the main gate before storming the compound, which houses the Labor Ministry and Public Works and Housing Ministry. Al Shabaab’s Shahada News Agency released several statements on the attack, including updates while the attack was ongoing. The group said that the attack targeted the two ministries because they had recruited young people to be spies and sought to “undermine noble Islamic values.” Al Shabaab conducted three smaller bombings in Mogadishu on March 23, including a roadside attack that killed four Somali soldiers.[4]

An unidentified airstrike killed a Kenyan al Shabaab commander in Buaale town in Middle Jubba region in southern Somalia on March 22. The commander, Ahmed Iman Ali AKA Abu Zinara, was involved in the January 2016 attack on a Kenyan base at al Adde. He was the leader of the majority-Kenyan al Hijra faction of al Shabaab.[5]

A roadside bomb killed a university staff member and injured one other person in the Black Sea street area of Hodan district in Mogadishu on March 25.[6]

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[1] “The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: “Targeting and Destruction of (Two Caves) in Sana’a Used by the Iran-Backed Terrorist Houthi Militia to Store Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)” Saudi Press Agency, March 23, 2019,; Hesham Hajali, “Saudi-led coalition attacks drone storage caves in Yemen’s capital: SPA,” Reuters, March 23, 2019,; and “Arab Coalition launches raids on Yemen’s Houthis in Sana’a,” Al Arabiya, March 23, 2019,

[2] Mohamed Ghobari, “Heavy weapons fire rocks Yemen’s Hodeidah as U.N. pushes to clinch troop pullout,” Reuters, March 25, 2019,

[3] “Houthis: We have ballistic missiles that can reach Riyadh and Abu Dhabi,” al Bawaba, March 25, 2019,

[4] “Somalia: Terrorist bombs, gunfire kill at least 10,” Anadolu Agency, March 23, 2019,; “Al Shabaab Attack in Somali Capital Kills at Least 10,” Voice of America, March 23, 2019,; “Shabaab reports ongoing suicide raid at Somali labor and work ministries in Mogadishu,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 23, 2019, English translation available by subscription at; “Shabaab claims 41 casualties in suicide raid on labor and works ministries in Mogadishu,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 23, 2019, English translation available by subscription at; and Caleb Weiss, “Shabaab assassinates Deputy Labor Minister in Mogadishu,” FDD’s Long War Journal, March 25, 2019,

[5] “Al-Shabaab’s Kenyan commander have been killed in airstrike,” Mustaqbal Radio, March 25, 2019,; and “Al-Shabaab’s Kenyan commander suspected to have been killed in airstrike,” Hiiraan, March 25, 2019,

[6] “Deadly explosion kills one in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, March 25, 2019,; and “University staff member killed in roadside explosion,” Hiiraan, March 25, 2019,

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