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-led coalition claims to intercept al Houthi drone; unidentified militants ambush Hadi government-aligned forces in Abyan; Socotra airport bans Emirates airline flights

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab fires mortars at presidential compound in Mogadishu; al Shabaab claims attack on KDF in Mandera County; Ethiopian military arrests Islamic State members; Qatari deputy intelligence chief meets with Somali intelligence officials

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi-led coalition claimed to intercept an al Houthi drone on September 11. The coalition claimed that the drone was targeting Najran city near the Yemeni border in southwestern Saudi Arabia. The al Houthi movement has not commented on the incident.[1]

Unidentified militants ambushed security forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in Lawder district in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on September 10. The attack injured multiple soldiers.[2]

The main airport in Socotra, a Yemeni island in the Gulf of Aden, temporarily banned flights from Emirates airline on September 8, according to anti-Emirati media. Anti-Emirati media has recently claimed that the UAE plans to deploy Eritrean and Bangladeshi mercenaries to Socotra via commercial flights.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants fired mortars at the presidential compound, Villa Somalia, in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on September 11. Some of the mortars fell near the Ethiopian embassy, which is in the compound. The attack killed one civilian and injured several others.[4]

Al Shabaab claimed on September 11 to have ambushed a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) convoy in Mandera County in northeastern Kenya. Al Shabaab claimed to kill nine militants and destroy four vehicles in the attack. The KDF has not commented on the claim.[5]

The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), General Berhanu Jula, stated that ENDF forces had recently captured multiple Islamic State members in Ethiopia. General Jula also dismissed rumors that the Islamic State has a presence in Ethiopia and claimed that the group does not have the capacity to operate in the country.[6]

The deputy chief of Qatar’s intelligence agency, Abdallah Mohamed Mubarak Salah al Khalifi, traveled to Mogadishu on September 8, according to Somali media. Khalifi met with officials in Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency.[7]

Visit our YemenSaudi ArabiaSomalia, Kenya and Qatar story streams. 

[1] Saudi Press Agency, Twitter, September 11, 2019,; “Downing of an al Houthi drone targeting Najran,” Sky News Arabic, September 11, 2019,; and “Coalition downs Saudi-bounds Houthi drone,” Emirates News Agency, September 11, 2019,

[2] “Militants ambush security forces in Abyan,” Aden Ghad, September 11, 2019,

[3] “Yemen: Socotra suspends Emirates airline flights to stop UAE mercenaries,” Middle East Monitor, September 9, 2019,; “To Avoid the arrival of mercenaries.. Why stop Emirates flights to Socotra?!,” Socotra Post, September 8, 2019,; “Socotra: UAE continues to train militias amid coup plot against Yemeni government,” Middle East Monitor, September 11, 2019,; and “The UAE delivers mercenaries from India and Bangladesh in order to expel the legitimate government from Socotra,” Al Masirah, September 10, 2019,

[4] Garowe Online, Twitter, September 11, 2019,; and “Rocket attack hits near Ethiopian embassy in Somalia,” Mareeg, September 11, 2019,

[5] “9 Kenyan soldiers killed in attack near Mandera: Al Shabaab,” Mareeg, September 11, 2019,

[6] “News: Ethiopian Defense Force Says It Captures Some ISIS Members,” Addis Standard, September 11, 2019,

[7] “Qatar’s deputy spy chief pays surprise visit to Somalia,” Mareeg, September 11, 2019,

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