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 attack Hadi government forces in al Jawf governorate; Saudi-led coalition forces target al Houthi weapons production facilities in al Hudaydah governorate

Horn of Africa: AFRICOM confirms airstrike killed prominent al Shabaab commander; AFRICOM airstrike kills four al Shabaab militants in central Somalia; Somali President Farmajo accepts Kenyan President Kenyatta’s invitation to discuss Gedo region conflict in Nairobi

Yemen Security Brief:

The al Houthi militants attacked Hadi government forces in Khub wa al Shaf district in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen several days after capturing al Hazm, the capital of al Jawf governorate. The militants seized al Hazm on March 1.[1]

Saudi-led coalition forces targeted six al Houthi militant weapons production facilities in Salif in al Hudaydah governorate in western Yemen on March 7. The militants reportedly used the sites to manufacture waterborne improvised explosive devices and drones.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed on March 8 that an AFRICOM airstrike killed a top al Shabaab military commander in Saakow in Middle Jubba region in southern Somalia on February 22. The airstrike killed Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud (Bashir Qoorgaab) who commanded three al Shabaab military units responsible for attacks in Somalia and Kenya. Mahamoud was responsible for the al Shabaab attack on Manda Bay Airfield in southern Kenya’s Lamu County in early January that killed three Americans.[3]

AFRICOM conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab near Gandarshe in central Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on March 7. The strike killed four militants. AFRICOM previously conducted an airstrike outside the Middle Jubba region in late February.[4]

Somali President Mohamed Farmajo accepted an invitation from Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 8 to visit the Kenyan capital Nairobi to discuss ongoing tensions in southwestern Somalia’s Gedo region. Kenyatta extended the invitation through his Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i during a meeting with Farmajo in the Somali capital Mogadishu on March 8. President Kenyatta accused the Somali National Army of violating his country’s territorial integrity during intrastate clashes in the Gedo region in early March.[5]

[1] “Al Houthis Launch New Attacks on Yemeni Government Positions Near Saudi Border,” Al Jazeera, March 7, 2020,اليمن-الحوثيون-يشنون-هجوما-جديدا-على-مواقع-حكومية-قرب-الحدود-السعودية; and Pamela Makadsi and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 2, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute,

[2] “Saudi-led coalition launches large-scale offensive in northern Yemen,” Al Masdar News, March 8, 2020,; and “Arab Coalition Carries Out Operation against Terrorist Houthi Targets in Salif,” Aawsat, March 8, 2020,

[3]  Carla Babb and Harun Maruf, “Top Al-Shabab Commander Believed Killed in Drone Strike,” Voice of America, March 8, 2020,; and Emily Estelle, “Africa File - January 10, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 10, 2020,

[4] “Federal Government of Somalia, AFRICOM target al-Shabaab,” AFRICOM, March 7, 2020,; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 25, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 25, 2020,

[5] Aggrey Mutambo, “Somali leader Mohamed Farmaajo to meet Uhuru in Nairobi,” Daily Nation, March 9, 2020,; and Samuel Bloebaum and Pamela Makadsi, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 5, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 5, 2020,

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