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 claims to intercept al Houthi drone and missile attacks targeting Saudi Arabia; al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clash in Ma’rib governorate; US official reportedly met with al Houthi official in Oman
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab raids prison in Bari region; al Shabaab kills SNA troops in Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab attacks Kenyan military base in Wajir County; Somali presidential candidates demand AMISOM oversees security during federal presidential elections
Yemen Security Brief:
The Saudi-led coalition claimed to intercept several al Houthi explosive-laden drones targeting King Khalid Airbase and Abha’s airport in southern Saudi Arabia’s Asir region on March 5. The Saudi-led coalition last claimed to intercept an al Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jizan city and an explosive-laden drone targeting Khamis Mushait city on March 4. The al Houthi movement claimed to launch a missile targeting Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Jeddah city the same day. The kingdom has not yet commented on this attack.[i]
Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clashed along the al Kassara and Hailan fronts of central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on March 5. Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clashed along Ma’rib governorate’s al Masjah front on March 4. Anti–al Houthi forces claimed to kill 30 al Houthi militants during the clashes.[ii]
US Special Envoy to Yemen Timothy Lenderking met with the al Houthi movement’s chief negotiator in Oman’s capital on February 26, according to Reuters. The US has not commented on this meeting thus far.[iii]
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
Al Shabaab claimed to release 400 prisoners during a prison raid in Boosaaso city in northern Somalia’s Bari region on March 5. Boosaaso’s prison is one of the largest in the region and holds hundreds of prisoners indicted on terrorism charges. Al Shabaab raided a prison in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in August 2020.[iv]
Suspected al Shabaab militants killed Somali National Army soldiers between Abdale Birole and Kismayo in southern Somalia’s Lower Jubba region on March 4. Al Shabaab attacked a Kenyan military base in Lower Jubba on March 2.[v]
Al Shabaab militants attacked a Kenyan military base in Khorof Harar in northeastern Kenya’s Wajir County on March 3. Al Shabaab killed a Kenyan military officer in neighboring Mandera County on February 27.[vi]
Somalia’s Council of Presidential Candidates met with Somalia’s Prime Minister on March 4 and demanded that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) oversees security during federal presidential elections. The prime minister asserted that such security is the responsibility of the Somali Federal Government.[vii]
[i] “Saudi media: drone destroyed… Houthis announce targeting King Khalid base and Abha airport with three marches,” Al Jazeera, March 5, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2021/3/5/%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%85%d8%aa%d8%ad%d8%af%d8%ab-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d8%b3%d9%83%d8%b1%d9%8a-%d9%84%d9%84%d8%ad%d9%88%d8%ab%d9%8a%d9%8a%d9%86-%d8%a7%d8%b3%d8%aa%d9%87%d8%af%d9%81%d9%86%d8%a7; “Arab Coalition foils Houthi drone attack,” Emirates News Agency, March 5, 2021, http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302915262; and “Yemeni forces target Saudi Aramco with a winged missile,” Al Alam, March 4, 2021, https://www.alalamtv.net/news/5469713.
[ii] “The National Army in Marib breaks successive attacks by the Houthis this morning,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, March 5, 2021, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/196568; “The Yemeni Army announces the killing of 30 Houthis in Marib… and limited progress east of Taiz,” Al Arabi al Jadid, March 4, 2021, https://www.alaraby.co.uk/node/1548051; and Amelia Frederking and Lauren Detter, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 1, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 1, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-1-2021.
[iii] Aziz El Yaakoubi, “U.S. officials have met Yemen’s Houthis as Washington seeks to end war - sources,” Reuters, March 3, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-usa/u-s-officials-have-met-yemens-houthis-as-washington-seeks-end-to-war-sources-idUSKBN2AV1VH.
[iv] “Shabaab Claims Freeing Over 400 Inmates in Attack on Bosaso Central Prison,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 5, 2021, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; “Al-Shabaab Mujahideen fighters seize Bosaso Central Prison,” Calamada, March 5, 2021, http://calamada.com/shabaabul-mujaahidiin-oo-dagaal-kula-wareegay-xabsiga-ugu-weyn-boosaaso/; “Puntland Government Details Attack On Bossaso Great Prison,” Puntland Post, March 5, 2021, https://puntlandpost.net/2021/03/05/dowladda-puntland-oo-faahfaahin-ka-bixisay-weerarkii-xabsiga-weyn-ee-boosaaso/; and Matthew Eady and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 21, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 21, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-21-2020.
[v] Liibaan Jeexoow, “Six soldiers killed in southern Somalia attack,” Somalimemo, March 4, 2021, https://somalimemo.info/articles/14351/Weerar-6-askari-lagu-dilay-oo-ka-dhacay-Koonfurta-Soomaaliya; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 3, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 3, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-3-2021.
[vi] Liibaan Jeexow, “Kenyan military base in Wajir County attacked,” Somalimemo, March 4, 2021, https://somalimemo.info/articles/14353/Saldhig-ay-ciidamada-Kenya-ku-leeyihiin-gobolka-Wajeer-oo-la-weeraray; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 1, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 1, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-1-2021.
[vii] “Decale conference ends in failure,” Horseed Media, March 5, 2021, https://horseedmedia.net/2021/03/05/shirkii-decale-oo-natiijolaaan-ku-dhamaadey/; and “Fresh round of electoral talks flop as FMS leaders keep off,” Hiiraan, March 4, 2021, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2021/Mar/181860/fresh_round_of_electoral_talks_flop_as_fms_leaders_keep_off.aspx.