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 claim several drone and ballistic missile attacks targeting Saudi Arabia; al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clash in Ma’rib governorate; Saudi-led coalition launches airstrikes on Sana’a governorate
Horn of Africa: Puntland State security forces claim to recapture prisoners released during al Shabaab raid in Bari region; al Shabaab threatens additional prison raids; al Shabaab detonates SVBIED in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief:
The al Houthi movement claimed several explosive-laden drone and ballistic missile attacks targeting military sites in Jizan and Asir regions in southern Saudi Arabia and oil facilities in Ras Tanura and Dhahran in the kingdom’s Eastern region on March 7. Saudi officials said the attacks did not damage the oil facilities. The officials did not attribute the attacks in the Eastern region to the al Houthi movement, saying those attacks "came from the direction of the sea." The Saudi-led coalition claimed to intercept al Houthi explosive-laden drones targeting Khamis Mushait and Jizan cities in the kingdom’s south on March 6.[i]
Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clashed along the al Masjah, al Kassara, Hailan, and Sirwah fronts of central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on March 6. Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces previously clashed along the al Kassara and Hailan fronts on March 5.[ii]
The Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes targeting al Houthi militia sites in the al Nadha and Jabal Attan areas in central Yemen’s Sana’a governorate on March 7. The Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on al Houthi positions in Sana’a governorate in mid-January.[iii]
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
Puntland State security forces claimed on March 7 to kill 20 al Shabaab militants and to recapture 87 inmates al Shabaab released from a Boosaaso prison in northern Somalia’s Bari region. Al Shabaab raided the prison on March 5 and claimed to release 400 prisoners.[iv]
Al Shabaab senior leader Mahad Karate celebrated the group’s prison raid in Boosaaso and announced the group’s intent to release more imprisoned militants in a speech on March 7. The UN sanctioned Karate on February 26.[v]
Al Shabaab detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) at a restaurant in Hamar Jabjab district in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on March 6. The attack killed at least 20 people. Al Shabaab claimed the attack targeted a gathering of security officials near a police station. Al Shabaab detonated an SVBIED targeting a hotel in Mogadishu in late January. [vi]
[i] “The Houthi militia announces targeting Aramco with a ballistic missile, and the coalition tells the details,” Mareb Press, March 8, 2021, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=172319; “U.S. commits to Saudi defence after Houthi attacks on oil heartland,” Reuters, March 8, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-saudi-idUSKBN2B01CM; “The third Yemeni targeting a Saudi air base within 24 hours,” Al Alam, March 6, 2021, https://www.alalamtv.net/news/5473273; and “Saudi-led coalition destroys 10 Houthi drones: Saudi TV,” Emirates News Agency, March 8, 2021, http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302915929.
[ii] “Arab Coalition carries out airstrikes against Houthi militia after drone attacks,” Al Arabiya, March 7, 2021, https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/03/07/Arab-Coalition-carries-out-airstrikes-against-Houthi-militia-after-multiple-drone-att; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 5, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 5, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-5-2021.
[iii] “Yemen… Violent explosions rock Sanaa,” Al Bawaba, March 7, 2021, https://www.albawaba.com/ar/%D8%A3%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%81%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%B9%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%81%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B2-%D8%B5%D9%86%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A1-1415110; Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 15, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 15, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-january-15-2021; and “Fighting escalated in Marib and Taiz… Saudi Arabia announces the interception of 12 drones, and the Houthis confirm that the coalition launched 18 raids,” Al Jazeera, March 7, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2021/3/7/%d8%a7%d8%a7-401.
[iv] “Somalia's Puntland state says recaptures some prisoners freed by al Shabaab,” Reuters, March 7, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-somalia-violence/somalias-puntland-state-says-recaptures-some-prisoners-freed-by-al-shabaab-idUSKBN2AZ0AE; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 5, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 5, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-5-2021.
[v] “Al-Qaeda affiliate threatens more prison raids in Somalia to free militants,” Garowe, March 7, 2021, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/al-qaeda-affiliate-threatens-more-prison-raids-in-somalia-to-free-militants; “Sheikh Mahad Warsame speaks about the operation to free the prisoners in Bossaso,” Somalimemo, March 7, 2021, https://somalimemo.info/articles/14364/Sheekh-Mahad-Warsame-oo-ka-hadlay-howlgalkii-Maxaabiista-lagusoo-furtay-ee-Boosaaso-ka-dhacay-Dhageyso; 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.
[vi] Omar Nor, “Car bomb explodes in Somalia's capital, killing at least 20 people,” CNN, March 6, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/06/africa/mogadishu-car-bomb-attack-intl/index.html; “Explosion in Mogadishu,” Calamada, March 6, 2021, https://calamada.com/tafaasiil-laga-helayo-qarax-ka-dhacay-magaalada-muqdisho/; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – February 1, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 1, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-february-1-2021.