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: Unspecified security forces in al Mahrah governorate reportedly impose increased security measures in al Mahrah; Saudi-led coalition allegedly conducts airstrikes on al Houthis in Ma’rib governorate; Twitter suspends al Houthirun news account; UN Special Envoy to Yemen calls for end to al Houthi and Hadi government–aligned clashes in al Hudaydah governorate

Horn of Africa: KDF reportedly conducts airstrike targeting civilians in Gedo region; Somali foreign minister denies reports of al Shabaab releasing kidnapped Cuban doctors; unknown attackers target Ethiopian ethnic minorities in western Ethiopia

Yemen Security Brief:

Unspecified security forces in eastern Yemen’s al Mahrah governorate reportedly announced that they are imposing increased security measures in the governorate’s Shahan district on October 7. A Yemeni media outlet reported that security forces in the governorate banned locals from carrying weapons out of fear that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) would carry out an attack in al Mahrah. Saudi-led coalition forces reportedly raided an alleged AQAP cell in al Ghaydah city, the capital of al Mahrah, on October 2.[1]

The Saudi-led coalition reportedly conducted airstrikes targeting al Houthi militants in Rahba in northern Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on October 9. Coalition forces previously targeted al Houthi militants with airstrikes in Rahba on October 5.[2]

Twitter suspended al Masirah TV’s account, an al Houthi–run news outlet, for an unknown violation of the platform’s rules on October 7. Twitter officials have not yet commented on why they suspended the account.[3]

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths called for a halt to clashes between forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and al Houthi militants in al Hudaydah governorate on October 8. The announcement followed a week of intensive clashes between the warring sides in al Hudaydah’s al Durayhimi district.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) conducted an airstrike targeting unarmed civilians in Somalia’s southwestern Gedo region on October 8, according to a local Somali outlet. The local report claimed the strike killed at least one person and injured four others. KDF and Somali National Army (SNA) forces exchanged gunfire in Gedo region in late September.[5]

The head of security in Ethiopia’s western Benishangul-Gumuz regional state confirmed on October 8 that unknown attackers targeted ethnic Amhara and Agaws in Benishangul-Gumuz. The attacks allegedly killed fourteen civilians and fourteen unspecified militia members. Ethiopian security forces arrested hundreds of people in early October for allegedly planning violent attacks during the ethnic Oromo annual festival in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.[6]

Somalia’s foreign minister denied on October 7 reports that al Shabaab released two Cuban doctors it kidnapped in Kenya in April 2019. The Associated Press corrected a report it released earlier on October 7 that cited a Somali official claiming al Shabaab released the two doctors.[7]

[1] ”A security alert in al Mahrah due to fears of al Qaeda,” Tahdeeth, October 8, 2020,; and Jessica Kocan,  ”Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 5, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 5, 2020,

[2] ”The Arab Coalition bombed Houthi reinforcements west of Ma’rib,” Hadramawt, October 9, 2020,; and ”A large collapse of the Houthis in Marib...the army announces progress in Murad and a large scale attack in Qimahlia, and the aviation interferes in Rahba,” Marib Press, October 5, 2020,

[3] “Twitter suspends account of Al Masirah TV run by Yemen’s Houthis,” Reuters, October 8, 2020,

[4] “U.N. calls for halt to clashes near Yemen’s Hodeidah port,” Reuters, October 8, 2020,; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 5, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 5, 2020,

[5] “Kenyan Military Jets Bomb Civilians in Somalia,” Mareeg, October 8, 2020,; and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 28, 2020,” Critical Threats Project and the American Enterprise Institute, September 28, 2020,

[6] "Latest Militia Attack in Ethiopia Kills 14 Civilians,” Associated Press, October 9, 2020,; and “Ethiopia Arrest 503 People for Ethnic Reasons,” See News, October 2, 2020,

[7] “Somali Government Denies Cuban Doctors Have Been Freed,” Barrons, October 8, 2020,; and Hannah Kuperman and Sarah Gordon, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 7, 2020,” Critical Threats Project and the American Enterprise Institute, October 7, 2020,

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