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 Houthis and Hadi government agree to first nationwide cease-fire since 2016; IS media releases video of IS militants targeting al Houthis in southern Yemen; Saudi-led coalition forces and al Houthis exchange attacks after supporting UN-backed nationwide cease-fire; al Houthi leader offers exchanging Saudi prisoners in Yemen for Hamas members detained in Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Kenyan media reports on unidentified intelligence report revealing al Shabaab infighting over finances

Yemen Security Brief:

The al Houthi movement and the internationally recognized Yemeni government led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi agreed on March 25 to the first nationwide cease-fire in Yemen since 2016. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the warring parties to implement an immediate cease-fire in an effort to deescalate the conflict and stop a potential coronavirus outbreak on March 25.[1]

Islamic-State linked Amaq News released a video on March 24 showing the Islamic State in Yemen's activities against al Houthi militants in Qayfa in al Bayda governorate in southern Yemen. Islamic State militants claimed an attack on the al Houthi militants in Qayfa in early March.[2]

Saudi-led coalition forces claimed that they intercepted and destroyed al Houthi drones targeting Abha and Khamis Mushait cities in southwestern Saudi Arabia on March 27. Saudi-led coalition forces also claimed bombing al Houthi drone landing pads and raiding an al Houthi militant site in Harf Sufyan district in Amran governorate, north of the Yemeni capital Sana’a on March 27. Al Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said on March 27 that the al Houthi militants intercepted Saudi-led coalition aircraft flying over Ma’rib governorate in northern Yemen. These claims come two days after an al Houthi official welcomed the Saudi-led coalition’s support for the UN’s call to a cease-fire between the al Houthi movement and the Hadi government.[3]

Al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi offered in late March to release a Saudi pilot and four Saudi officers from Yemen in exchange for Hamas members detained in Saudi Arabia.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

A Kenyan newspaper reported on an unidentified intelligence report that claimed al Shabaab’s recent infighting stemmed from the group’s financial disputes. Al Shabaab leader Ahmad Umar accused the head of al Shabaab’s Amniyat (intelligence) Brigade, Mahad Karate, of hoarding money from al Shabaab’s taxation program for his clan. Karate argued that his Hawiye clan deserved most of the group’s finances for being Somalia’s largest clan. Umar has reportedly attempted to build a coalition of smaller Somali clans against Hawiye influence in the group. The Hawiye clan resisted Umar’s attempt to expel Karate from al Shabaab in early February.[5]

[1] “Warring parties in Yemen agree ceasefire to prevent coronavirus to prevent coronavirus outbreak,” Financial Times, March 26, 2020,; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 26, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 24, 2020,

[2] “’Amaq News Agency Presents Video Report on IS Military Activities Against al Houthis in Bayda’,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 26, 2020, available by subscription at; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, March 15, 2020,

[3] “Saudi-led coalition destroys drones launched by Yemen’s Houthis toward kingdom,” Reuters, March 26, 2020,; “The coalition bombed platforms for drones in Imran,” 7adramout, March 27,2020,; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 26, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 24, 2020,

[4] “Yemen’s al-houthi offers to exchange saudi pilots for hamas prisoners,” Middle East Monitor, March 27, 2020,

[5] Allan Olingo, “Al-Shabaab Leaders Split Over Funds Control,” Daily Nation, March 27, 2020,

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