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: Pro–al Qaeda media publishes video infographic detailing AQAP operations; Saudi-led coalition claims to intercept al Houthi explosive-laden drones targeting Saudi Arabia; al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clash in Ma’rib governorate
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attempts to smuggle weapons in eastern Kenya; al Shabaab pilot assumed to be hiding in Kenya; SFG and Somali state representatives fail to reach agreement on presidential election plan
Yemen Security Brief:
Pro–al Qaeda media Nashir al Khayr published a video infographic with data on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operations on March 28. The outlet gathered data from four AQAP communiques published from March 24 to March 26, detailing AQAP attacks on UAE-backed Security Belt Forces in southern Yemen’s Abyan governorate.[i]
The Saudi-led coalition claimed to intercept two al Houthi explosive-laden drones targeting Jizan in southern Saudi Arabia on March 30. The Saudi-led coalition previously claimed to intercept al Houthi explosive-laden drones targeting Jizan on March 25.[ii]
Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clashed along al Kassara front in central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on March 30. Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces previously clashed along al Kassara front on March 28.[iii]
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
Kenyan security forces arrested three al Shabaab militants attempting to smuggle weapons in Lagdera in eastern Kenya’s Garissa County on March 30. Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device near the Somalia-Kenya border in neighboring Lamu County on March 23.[iv]
Kenyan security officials warned that an al Shabaab–trained pilot, reportedly missing and assumed to be hiding in Somalia, may be plotting to target Kenya. The militant, Rashid Mwalimu, participated in attacks in Lamu county in 2015 and 2016.[v]
The Somali Federal Government (SFG) and federal member states canceled planned election negotiations in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on March 30. The SFG and state representatives gathered in Mogadishu on March 29 to discuss a plan to conduct presidential elections but did not reach an agreement.[vi]
[ii] “Arab Coalition destroys two Houthi drones; One targeting Saudi Arabia’s Jizan,” Al Arabiya, March 30, 2021, https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/03/30/Arab-Coalition-intercepts-destroys-two-drones-heading-towards-Saudi-Arabia; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 26, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 26, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-26-2021.
[iii] “Marib… A prominent leader and dozens of Houthi elements were killed in Al-Ksara,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, March 30, 2021 https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/199158; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 29, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 29, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-29-2021.
[iv] Gordon Osen, “Three arrested with smuggled weapons, petrol in Garissa ,” The Star, March 30, 2021, https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2021-03-30-three-arrested-with-smuggled-weapons-petrol-in-garissa/; “Kenyan police arrest 3, seize cache of weapons in border region,” Hiiraan, March 30, 2021, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2021/Mar/182144/kenyan_police_arrest_3_seize_cache_of_weapons_in_border_region.aspx; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 24, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 24, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-24-2021.
[v] “Al-Shabaab pilot may be planning attack in Kenya,” Horn Observer, March 30, 2021, https://hornobserver.com/articles/778/Al-Shabaab-pilot-may-be-planning-attack-in-Kenya; and Cyrus Ombati, “ Police seek Kenyan pilot who fled to Somalia over terror plot,” The Star, March 30, 2021, https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2021-03-30-police-seek-kenyan-pilot-who-fled-to-somalia-over-terror-plot/.
[vi] “Despite differences, optimism registered in Somalia's difficult political talks,” Garowe, March 29, 2021, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/despite-differences-optimism-registered-in-somalia-s-difficult-political-talks; and “Election talks in Somalia between FGS and FMS aborted due to rift,” Garowe, March 30, 2021, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/election-talks-in-somalia-between-fgs-and-fms-aborted-due-to-differences.