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 forces claim shooting down al Houthi drone over Saudi city; al Houthis reportedly launch ballistic missiles at Hadi-aligned military camp in Ma’rib governorate; Hadi government forces allegedly advance in al Jawf governorate; Hadi government forces reportedly repel al Houthi attack in al Bayda governorate; STC forces claim repelling al Houthi advances in Dhaleh governorate

Horn of Africa: IS-aligned militants raise IS flag in northern Mozambique; ISCA claims killing Congolese soldiers in northeastern DRC; al Shabaab detonates IED killing Somali police commander in Mogadishu; unidentified militants execute healthcare workers in central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief:

A Saudi-led coalition spokesman claimed on May 28 that Saudi forces shot down an al Houthi drone over Najran city in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Najran region. Al Houthi militants previously claimed launching drone strikes on Saudi regions along the Yemeni border, including Najran in late March.[1]

Al Houthi militants reportedly launched ballistic missiles on Sahn al Jin military camp, the temporary headquarters of the internationally recognized Yemeni Ministry of Defense and Yemeni Army, in Ma’rib governorate in northern Yemen on May 27. The attack targeted officials aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, including Defense Minister Mohammad Ali al Maqdashi and Chief of General Staff Sagheer Bin Aziz. Both survived the attack. Al Houthi militants previously launched missiles on the camp on May 26.[2]

Hadi government forces claimed advancing in eastern al Hazm district in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen on May 29. Hadi government forces reportedly captured several al Houthi positions and seized multiple al Houthi military vehicles. Hadi government forces previously claimed capturing al Houthi positions in al Hazm district in mid-May.[3]

Yemeni local media reported on May 28 that Hadi government forces repelled an al Houthi attack in Qaniya district in al Bayda governorate in central Yemen, killing an al Houthi official. The report did not specify a date for the clashes. Saudi-led coalition forces reportedly killed several al Houthi officials during airstrikes targeting al Houthi positions in Qaniya district in mid-May.[4]

Forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council of the South reportedly repelled al Houthi advances in Maris town in Dhaleh governorate on May 28. Al Houthi militants previously clashed with Hadi government forces in al Fakher district in Dhaleh governorate in mid-May.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Islamic State-aligned militants raised the Islamic State flag in Macomia town in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province on May 28 after invading the town. Mozambican Defense Armed Forces responded to the invasion, supported by private South African military contracting company Dyck Advisory Group’s helicopter gunships. The militants previously killed 52 civilians in Xitaxi in Cabo Delgado Province for not joining its ranks in early April, according to a Mozambican police spokesman.[6]

The Islamic State’s Central Africa Province (ISCA) claimed on May 28 killing 20 Congolese soldiers near Beni in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu province on May 26. ISCA militants claimed killing three Congolese soldiers near Beni on May 24.[7]

Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Somali police commander near the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on May 28. The explosion killed the police commander and another officer. Al Shabaab claimed detonating an IED targeting Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in Mogadishu on May 21.[8]

Unidentified militants kidnapped and executed eight healthcare workers near Gololey in central Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region on May 28. Seven of the executed men worked for Zamzam foundation, a local humanitarian organization. A regional state spokesman blamed al Shabaab for the kidnapping and execution. A family member of one of the victims, however, blamed the SNA for the executions, stating that the SNA reacted in misdirected retaliation for an al Shabaab landmine attack targeting a SNA convoy near Gololey on May 26.[9]

[1] “Arab Coalition forces intercept Houthi drones targeting Saudi Arabia,” WAM, May 28, 2020,; and Sana Uqba, “Yemen in Focus: Houthi attack on Riyadh a 'bargaining chip' amid ongoing talks,” The New Arab, April 1, 2020,

[2] “Yemen defence minister, army chief survive missile attack,” Middle East Monitor, May 28, 2020,; and Mohammed Ghobari, Ghaida Ghantous and Angus MacSwan, “Missile attack on Yemen army base in Marib kills seven: sources,” Reuters, May 27, 2020,

[3] “The fiercest battles in al-Jouf and the army forces are regaining new positions,” Mareb Press, May 29, 2020,; 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,

[4] “The leader of the al-Wahhabi front for the Houthis was killed in Al-Bayda .. The army repelled an attack by militias,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, May 28, 2020,; 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,

[5] “Maris front ignited in response to Houthi infiltration,” 7adramout, May 28, 2020,; and Kalissa Azooz and Muhammad Ramadhito, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – May 13, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 13, 2020,

[6] “Insurgents clash with government forces following dawn raids in Macomia,” Zitamar News, May 28, 2020,; “Helicopters return to Macomia as residents remain hiding,” Zitamar News, May 29,; and Nqobile Dludla, “Islamist insurgents kill 52 villagers in Mozambique - police,” Reuters, April 21, 2020,

[7] “ISCAP Claims Killing 13 Christians, 3 Military Personnel in Separate Attacks in DRC,” Site Intelligence Group, May 26, 2020, available by subscription at; and “ISCAP Claims 20 Congolese Soldiers Killed in Attack in Beni (DRC),” Site Intelligence Group, May 28, 2020, available by subscription at

[8] “Car bomb explosion kills senior police commander in Somalia,” Garowe, May 28, 2020,; and “Shabaab Photographs Toy Gun-Totting Children During Eid Celebrations, Claims 18 Attacks in One-Week,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 28, 2020, available by subscription at

[9] “Seven healthworkers, civilian executed by masked gunmen,” Hiiraan, May 28, 2020,; and “UN condemns murder of health workers in Somalia,” Hiiraan, May 29, 2020,

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