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:  AQAP claims attacks on al Houthis in al Bayda governorate; Saudi-led coalition claims al Houthi ballistic missile unintentionally landed in Sa’ada governorate; Saudi-led coalition reportedly conducts airstrikes in northern Yemeni governorates

Horn of Africa: SNA raids al Shabaab cell in Hiraan region; suspected al Shabaab IED kills SNA soldiers in Middle Shabelle region; NISA detains journalist for interviewing Somali businessman critical of SFG with alleged ties to al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief:

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed three attacks targeting al Houthi militants in the Tayyab area of central Yemen’s al Bayda governorate on October 17. AQAP claimed firing mortar at al Houthi militants and detonating an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an al Houthi motorcycle and truck on October 16. AQAP militants previously attacked al Houthi militants in Tayyab in late September.[1]

The Saudi-led coalition claimed the al Houthi movement launched a ballistic missile from Sana’a governorate that reportedly failed to reach an unspecified target on October 18. The missile reportedly landed in northern Yemen’s Sa’ada governorate instead. Al Houthi militants previously launched a ballistic missile targeting central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate in mid-September.[2]

Al Houthi–aligned media claimed on October 17 that Saudi-led coalition forces conducted four airstrikes targeting al Houthi–held territory in Mahliyah, Rahabah, and Majzar districts of central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate. The pro–al Houthi article also claimed that Saudi-led coalition forces launched airstrikes in northern Yemen’s Hajjah and Sa’ada governorates.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

The Somali National Army (SNA) raided an al Shabaab cell in Somalia’s south-central Hiraan region on October 18. A SNA commander reported that SNA troops killed at least twenty-four al Shabaab militants and arrested an unknown number of them. Al Shabaab targeted a mayor’s residence and police station in Hiraan region in mid-October.[4]

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an IED in Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region on October 19, allegedly killing at least four SNA soldiers. Suspected al Shabaab militants assassinated a regional official and several teachers in Middle Shabelle region in mid-September.[5]

Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) officers detained a journalist in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on October 17. NISA arrested the journalist for interviewing a Somali businessman on October 14 that criticized the Somali Federal Government and had alleged ties to al Shabaab.[6]

[1] Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, October 18, 2020,; and Jessica Kocan and Rahma Bayrakdar, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - October 2, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 2, 2020,

[2] “Joint Forces Command of the ‘Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen’: The terrorist Houthi militia launched a ballistic missile today (Sunday) from the Sana’a governorate that fell within the Sa’ada governorate,” Saudi Press Agency, October 18, 2020,; and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review - September 14, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at American Enterprise Institute, September 14, 2020,

[3] “The Aggression’s warplanes launched a series of raids on several Yemeni governorates,” Al Alam TV, October 17, 2020,

[4] “Al-Shabaab Militants Killed in Somalia in Botched Attack,” Garowe, October 19, 2020,; and Hannah Kuperman and Sarah Gordon, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 14, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 14, 2020,

[5] “Bomb Kills Soldiers in Somalia as War on Al-Shabab Stepped Up,” Garowe, October 19, 2020,;  and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 18, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 18, 2020,

[6] “Journalist detained after interviewing a terrorist sympathizer,” Mareeg, October 18, 2020,; “Rights Group Call on Somali Gov’ to Release Radio Journalist,” Hiiraan, October 19, 2020,; and “Radio Reporter Arrested in Somalia for Interviewing Pro-Al-Shabaab Businessman,” Garowe, October 18, 2020,

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