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 official welcomes Saudi-led coalition’s support for UN call to cease-fire between al Houthis and Hadi government; al Houthi movement orders release of prisoners jailed for practicing Baha’i religion

Horn of Africa: SNA repels al Shabaab attack on SNA base in central Somalia; al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting Jubbaland State district commissioner in southern Somalia; Islamic State’s Central Africa Province claims raid on Mozambican army posts in northern Mozambique; al Shabaab reports on internal conference held in southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief:

Chairman of the al Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee Mohammad Ali al Houthi released a statement on March 26 welcoming the Saudi-led coalition’s support for the UN’s call to a cease-fire agreement in Yemen. Saudi-led coalition forces announced their support for the UN’s call to a cease-fire between the al Houthi militants and the internationally recognized Yemeni government on March 25. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres released a statement on March 25 calling on Yemen’s warring parties to implement an immediate cease-fire in an effort to deescalate the conflict and stop a potential coronavirus outbreak.[1]

Al Houthi leader of the Supreme Political Council Mahdi al Mashat ordered on March 25 the release of all prisoners in Yemen jailed for practicing the Baha’i religion. Mashat granted amnesty to the religious minority group’s leader Hamed bin Haydara, who the al Houthi movement sentenced to death in January 2018. The US Department of State condemned al Houthi actions against members of the Baha’i religious community in Yemen in May 2018. The Baha’i faith is a monotheistic religious minority in Yemen that draws upon elements of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. [2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Somali National Army (SNA) forces repelled an al Shabaab attack on a military base near Daynunay in central Somalia’s Bay region on March 25. A military spokesman stated that SNA forces killed 12 al Shabaab militants during the assault. Al Shabaab claimed the attack killed four SNA soldiers. Al Shabaab previously attacked the Daynunay military base in August 2019.[3]

Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device targeting a convoy carrying a Jubbaland State district commissioner near Ras Kamboni in southwestern Somalia’s Badhadhe district on March 25. The blast killed the commissioner, his three bodyguards, and wounded several Kenyan Defense Force soldiers traveling with the convoy. Al Shabaab claimed the attack only targeted KDF soldiers.[4]

The Islamic State’s Central Africa Province claimed a raid on two Mozambican army posts in Quissanga in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province on March 25. The group claimed a separate attack on a Mozambican army barracks in Mocimboa da Praia in the Cabo Delgado province on March 23.[5]

Al Shabaab reported that the group held a conference called, “Consultative Forum Regarding the Jihad in East Africa,” at an undisclosed location in southern Somalia from March 13 to 18. Somali intellectuals, tribal leaders, Islamic leaders, and al Shabaab leaders met to discuss al Shabaab’s ongoing campaign against the Somali Federal Government. Islamic legal scholars at the conference released fatwas denouncing upcoming Somali federal elections and US Africa Command’s airstrike campaign. This is the first time al Shabaab has openly reported on one of its meetings.[6]

[1] “UN chief calls for ceasefire as Yemen braces for possible COVID-19 outbreak,” UN, March 25, 2020,; and “Al Houthi leader: the coalition’s declaration of acceptance of the ceasefire is welcome,” Yemen Akhbar, March 26, 2020,

[2] “Baha’i prisoners in yemen to be released by Houthi government,” Middle East Monitor, March 26, 2020,; and Miranda Morton and Tomás Padgett Perez and Matthew Cassidy, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - December 2, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 15, 2018,

[3] “Somali forces recapture Daynunay village after Al-Shabaab attack,” Somali Affairs, March 25, 2020,; and Kevin Phelan and Hennessey Herrera, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - December 2, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 2, 2019,

[4] “Governor and 3 aides killed in Al-Shabaab blast targeting KDF troops,” Garowe, March 26, 2020,

[5] “Just 2 Days After Major Raid in Mocimboa da Praia, ISCAP Claims Attack on Mozambican Army Posts in Quissanga,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 25, 2020, available by subscription at; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 24, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 24, 2020,

[6] “Inside Al-Shabaab’s ‘crisis conference’ amid US military airstrikes in Somalia,” Garowe, March 26, 2020,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Apr '20
Mar '20
Feb '20