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 seizes district in Abyan; Hezbollah leader blames Saudi-led coalition for conflict in southern Yemen; Saudi-led coalition claims to intercept al Houthi drone

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack SNA base in Gedo region; al Shabaab threatens workers rebuilding national stadium in Mogadishu; SFG Vice President discusses integrating Mukhtar Robow’s militia into SNA; Abu Dhabi Crown Prince hosts Eritrean President

Yemen Security Brief

Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants seized control of al Wuday district in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on September 8. AQAP has conducted a string of attacks against UAE-backed al Hizam Security Forces in Abyan since early August.[1]

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, stated in a speech on September 10 that conflict in southern Yemen between UAE-backed southern separatists and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government was proof that the Saudi-led coalition seeks to divide Yemen. Nasrallah called on the Saudi-led coalition to stop its “aggression” against Yemen and to allow Yemenis to determine their own destiny.[2]

The Saudi-led coalition claimed to intercept an al Houthi drone over Sa’ada governorate in northern Yemen on September 9. The coalition claimed that the al Houthis were launching the drone at Saudi Arabia. The al Houthi movement did not claim any drone attack on September 9.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Garbaharey town, the capital of Gedo region in southwestern Somalia, on September 10. SNA forces repulsed the attack and claimed to kill two al Shabaab fighters.[4]

Al Shabaab is threatening Somali workers who are reconstructing Somalia’s national stadium in the federal capital, Mogadishu, according to Somali media. Al Shabaab militants made direct phone calls to construction workers warning them not to report for work. Somali Federal Government (SFG) officials dismissed the reports and said that the government was rebuilding the stadium “without fear.”[5]

SFG Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire traveled to Hudur, the capital of Bakool region in southern Somalia, on September 9. Khaire met with Abdiaziz Lafta Garen, the President of Somalia’s South West State, during the trip. Khaire and Lafta Garen visited militiamen loyal to former al Shabaab deputy leader  Mukhtar Robow during to discuss the possibility of integrating the forces into the SNA. The SFG arrested Mukhtar Robow, an al Shabaab defector and Specially Designated Global Terrorist, in December 2018 when Robow tried to run for South West State President. The SFG stated that Robow’s campaign violated the constitution since he had not gone through a reintegration process with the SFG.[6]

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan hosted Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in Abu Dhabi on September 9. The two leaders discussed deepening bilateral ties, according to the UAE government.[7]

Visit our YemenSaudi ArabiaSomalia and Eritrea story streams. 

[1] “Al Qaeda seizes control of southern Yemen district,” Middle East Monitor, September 9, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 5, 2019,” The Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 5, 2019,

[2] Al Masirah, Twitter, September 10, 2019,; and Emirates 71, Twitter, September 10, 2019,

[3] “Command of Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Interception, downing in Yemeni airspace of enemy drone launched by Iranian-backed terrorist Houthi militia from Sanaa ,” Saudi Press Agency, September 9, 2019,; “The Saudi-led coalition downs an al Houthi drone above Sa’ada,” Sky News Arabic, September 9, 2019,; and “Coalition: Houthi drone intercepted over Sa’ada governorate,” Aden Lang, September 10, 2019,

[4] “Somali forces clash with Al Shabaab, 2 killed,” Mareeg, September 10, 2019,

[5] “Al-Shabaab orders stop to stadium reconstruction in Mogadishu,” Hiiraan, September 9, 2019,; and “We will rebuilt stadium without fear, Somali government says, dismisses reports of Shabaab orders,” Hiiraan, September 9, 2019,

[6] “Requirements for Mukhtar Robow Armed Forces to join SNA,” Goobjoog, September 10, 2019,; and Mohamed Olad Hassan, “Former Al-Shabab No. 2 Arrested in Somalia,” Voice of America, December 13, 2018,

[7] “Mohamed bin Zayed receives President of Eritrea,” WAM, September 9, 2019,

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