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: Islamic State in Yemen releases photos depicting Ramadan activities; Hadi government agrees to UN-sponsored cease-fire; al Houthis launch missiles on Hadi government military base in Ma’rib governorate; Hadi government spokesman announces al Houthi execution of Yemeni Army senior commander in al Jawf governorate; Hadi government forces reportedly shell al Houthi vehicles in Sana’a governorate
Horn of Africa: Unidentified militants detonate IED targeting Eid celebrations in south-central Somalia; South West State regional forces attack al Shabaab militants in south-central Somalia; SNA troops attack al Shabaab militants in central Somalia; al Shabaab militants raid Jubbaland State security forces base in southwestern Somalia; al Shabaab celebrates Eid al Fitr in cities under its control; al Shabaab repositions militants in northern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
The Islamic State in Yemen released 11 photos depicting the group’s Islamic holy month of Ramadan activities on May 23, according to Yemen expert Dr. Elisabeth Kendall. The Islamic State in Yemen previously published a statement on May 18, claiming an attack targeting an al Houthi militant vehicle in al Bayda governorate’s Qayfa district in southern Yemen on May 17.
Internationally recognized Yemeni Foreign Minister Mohammed al Hadhrami announced on May 23 that the internationally recognized government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi agreed to a UN-sponsored cease-fire. Hadhrami stated that Hadi’s government agreed to some concessions as part of the cease-fire agreement, including the re-opening of the Yemeni capital Sana’a’s airport. The al Houthi movement and Hadi government forces have repeatedly violated the Saudi unilateral cease-fire, which expired on May 24.
Al Houthi militants launched missiles targeting a Hadi government military base in Ma’rib governorate in northern Yemen on May 26. Yemen’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff survived the attack, which killed one of his sons, his nephew, and five other officers. Al Houthi militants previously reported launching a ballistic missile at a residential neighborhood in Ma’rib city, the capital of Ma’rib governorate in mid-May.
A Hadi government spokesman announced that al Houthi militants executed a high-ranking Yemeni army commander in Sha’b al Muhashimah in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen on May 23. The commander reportedly led the Yemeni Army’s 161st brigade. The spokesman accused the al Houthi movement of torturing the commander and cremating his body. Hadi government forces reported capturing al Houthi positions in al Jawf governorate’s al Hazm district in mid-May.
Hadi government forces reportedly shelled al Houthi militant vehicles in Nihm district in Sana’a governorate in northern Yemen on May 24, killing more than 20 al Houthi militants. Hadi government forces previously claimed advancing in Nihm district in mid-May.
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
Unidentified militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) killing at least four civilians and wounding 15 others at a refugee camp outside Baidoa in south-central Somalia’s Bay region on May 24. The civilians were celebrating Eid al Fitr, the Muslim holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan. No group has claimed the attack. Al Shabaab detonated a series of IEDs targeting an Ethiopian National Defense Force convoy near Awdiinle in Bay region in late April.
Somalia’s South West State regional forces killed two al Shabaab militants in an operation near Dinsor in Bay region on May 27. Somali National Army (SNA) forces repelled an al Shabaab attack on a military base near Daynunay in Bay region in late March.
Somali National Army (SNA) forces killed seven al Shabaab militants in an operation in central Somalia’s Hiraan region on May 26. SNA forces attacked al Shabaab militants near El Ali in Hiraan region in early March.
Al Shabaab militants raided a Jubbaland State security force base near Dhobley in southwestern Somalia’s Lower Jubba region on May 24. Jubbaland State forces killed two al Shabaab militants without suffering any casualties, according to a security force spokesman. Al Shabaab claimed overrunning the base in late March.
Pro-al Shabaab media released on May 23 photos of al Shabaab militants celebrating Eid al Fitr in cities under their control. Al Shabaab held celebrations in Buale, Jilib, and Qunya Barrow in Middle Jubba region; Adan Yabal in Middle Shabelle region; and El Buur in Galguduud region. Al Shabaab held similar celebrations in Jilib, El Buur, and Qunya Barrow in early June 2019.
Local residents spotted at least 60 al Shabaab militants traveling by boat from Harardhere in central Somalia’s Mudug region to Hul Aanood in northern Somalia’s Bari region on May 24. The militants were fleeing Mudug region following clashes with the SNA and Islamic State militants, according to local Somali reporting. Al Shabaab detonated a vehicle-borne IED killing Mudug’s regional governor in the regional capital of Galkayo on May 17.
 Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, May 23, 2020, https://twitter.com/Dr_E_Kendall/status/1264207118414069760; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, May 19, 2020, https://twitter.com/Dr_E_Kendall/status/1262829584711593986.
 “The legitimate government announces its agreement to a ceasefire because of Corona, and the Houthis reject the initiative,” Mareb Press, May 23, 2020, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=163883; and Mohammed Ghobari, Ghaida Ghantous and Angus MacSwan, “Missile attack on Yemen army base in Marib kills seven: sources,” Reuters, May 27, 2020, http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/worldNews/~3/s-NsyAIa6Cg/missile-attack-on-yemen-army-base-in-marib-kills-seven-sources-idUSKBN2330WD
 Mohammed Ghobari, Ghaida Ghantous and Angus MacSwan, “Missile attack on Yemen army base in Marib kills seven: sources,” Reuters, May 27, 2020, http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/worldNews/~3/s-NsyAIa6Cg/missile-attack-on-yemen-army-base-in-marib-kills-seven-sources-idUSKBN2330WD; and Kalissa Azooz and Muhammad Ramadhito, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 22, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 22, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-may-22-2020.
 “Execution of a senior national army commander and his body mutilated by militia (details),” Al Mashhad Al Yemeni, May 24, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/167087; and “Urgent: A military source provides news of the victories from Al-Jouf and the areas falling from the Houthis,” Mareb Press, May 21, 2020, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=163820.
 “More than 20 Houthi elements were killed and thei vehicles destroyed in Nahham, east of Sanaa,” Khabar Agency, May 24, 2020, https://www.khabaragency.net/news126739.html; and Kalissa Azooz and Muhammad Ramadhito, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 20, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 20, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-may-20-2020.
 “Bomb blast leaves four dead during Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Somalia,” Garowe, May 25, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/bomb-blast-leaves-four-dead-during-eid-al-fitr-celebrations-in-somalia; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 21, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 21, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-21-2020
 “Al-Shabaab militants killed in raid as explosion hits military vehicle in Somalia,” Garowe, May 27, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/al-shabaab-militants-killed-in-raid-as-explosion-hits-military-vehicle-in-somalia; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 26, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 26, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-26-2020
 Nyawira Mwangi, “Somali army kills seven Al-Shabaab militants in central region,” China Global Television Network, May 27, 2020, https://africa.cgtn.com/2020/05/26/somali-army-kills-7-al-shabaab-militants-in-central-region/; and Samuel Bloebaum, Pamela Makadsi, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 5, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 5, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-5-2020
 “Troops foil Al-Shabaab attack targeting Dhobley army base,” Garowe, May 26, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somalia-troops-foil-al-shabaab-attack-targeting-dhobley-army-base; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 3, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 3, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-3-2020
 Abuga Makori, “Al-Shabaab militants join civilians for Eid al Fitr celebrations in Somalia,” Garowe, May 25, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/al-shabaab-militants-join-civilians-for-eid-al-fitr-celebrations-in-somalia; and Riley Mistrot and James Barnett, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - June 5, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, June 5, 2019, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-june-5-2019
 “Al-Shabaab militants arrive in Bari region by boat from Mudug amid crackdown,” Garowe, May 25, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/al-shabaab-militants-arrive-in-bari-region-by-boat-from-mudug-amid-crackdown; and Kalissa Azooz and Muhammad Ramadhito, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 20, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 20, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-may-20-2020