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: Drone strike targets likely AQAP militants in Ma’rib; Islamic State in Yemen claims attack on AQAP officials in al Bayda; al Houthi movement demands return of Houthi official’s body as part of al Hudaydah redeployments; al Hizam Security Forces deploy to Socotra island

Horn of Africa: AFRICOM airstrike targets al Shabaab in Lower Shabelle; al Shabaab attacks SNA base in Lower Shabelle; al Shabaab detonates IED targeting SNA convoy in Balad

Yemen Security Brief

A suspected U.S. drone strike targeted a vehicle of likely al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Wadi Abidah in Ma’rib governorate in central Yemen on May 7. The strike killed at least four militants.[1]

The Islamic State in Yemen claimed to detonate a suicide vest (SVEST) targeting a meeting of AQAP officials al Abil area in the Qayfa region in eastern al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on May 4. The Islamic State in Yemen claimed to kill the AQAP emir of al Abil, Faruq al Ibbi, in the attack.[2]

The al Houthi movement demanded the return of former al Houthi Interior Minister Abd al Hakim al Mawiri’s body from Lebanon as a condition for the implementation of the al Hudaydah deployments, according to anti-al Houthi media. Al Houthi officials made the demand during a meeting with UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths in Sana’a on May 5. Al Mawiri died in Beirut on April 20, 2019. Al Houthi officials also reiterated their previous demand that Sana’a International Airport be reopened as a condition of the al Hudaydah redeployments.[3]

Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces deployed to Socotra, an island in the Gulf of Aden 230 miles south of the Yemeni mainland, on May 7. Al Hizam forces deployed to conduct security operations on the island, according to pro-southern media.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

United States Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab militants in Tortoroow village in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on May 5. AFRICOM conducted the strike in support of Somali National Army (SNA) forces that were conducting operations in the area. The strike killed three al Shabaab militants.[5]

Al Shabaab attacked SNA bases in Barire town in Lower Shabelle region on May 6. Somali Danab special forces deployed to the town after several hours of clashes, forcing al Shabaab to withdraw. Danab special forces captured Barire, which is located 60 kilometers southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on May 1.[6]

Al Shabaab militants detonated and improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an SNA convoy in Balad district in Middle Shabelle region in central Somalia on May 6. The explosion killed four SNA soldiers and wounded several officers, including a general. Al Shabaab separately claimed to detonate an IED targeting an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy in Halgan district in Hiraan region in central Somalia on May 6, killing and wounding nine Ethiopian soldiers. This attack has not been confirmed.[7]

[1] “Video: UAV bombing a van in Ma’rib,” Bawabatii, May 7, 2019,; “Urgent: Four al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen,” El Watan News, May 7, 2019,; and “Four al Qaeda members killed in US raid in Ma’rib,” Aden Lng, May 7, 2019,

[2] “IS claims killing AQAP district official in suicide raid in al Bayda’,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 7, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[3] “Militias demanded the opening of Sana’a airport… Griffiths clashes with Houthi’s refusal to comply with the implementation of the Sweden agreement,” Al Youm 8, May 7, 2019,; and “Al Mashat vows and Abdul Malik puts 5 new conditions… disclosure of Griffiths’ visit to Sana’a,” Mareb Press, May 7, 2019,

[4] “The Emirates’ Belt in Socotra!” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, May 7, 2019,

[5] “US Air Raid Kills 3 Al Shabaab in Somalia,” Mareeg, May 7, 2019,; and “Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. target al-Shabaab terrorists,” United States Africa Command, May 6, 2019,

[6] “Somali Army Forces Come Under Al Shabaab Attack,” Mareeg, May 6, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, May 1, 2019,

[7] Harun Maruf, Twitter, May 6, 2019,; and

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