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 urges attacks on Charlie Hebdo staff; al Houthis launch drone and ballistic missile attacks in southwestern Saudi Arabia; Hadi government–aligned forces claim killing al Houthi militants in Ma’rib governorate
Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militant conducts suicide attack outside mosque in Lower Jubba region; suspected al Shabaab militant conducts suicide attack in Mogadishu; Ugandan forces resume troop rotations in Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a statement on September 10 urging its supporters to attack staff members of the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, for republishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The cartoons had triggered an attack supported by AQAP on the magazine’s office in the French capital, Paris, in January 2015. A French court began a trial for 14 people accused of involvement in the attack in early September.[i]
Al Houthi militants launched drones and a ballistic missile targeting the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on September 10. The Saudi-led coalition claimed intercepting an al Houthi explosive unmanned aerial vehicle launched toward Najran city in southwestern Saudi Arabia’s Najran region on the same day. Saudi-led coalition forces previously intercepted al Houthi drones targeting an airport in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Asir region on September 9.[ii]
Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour claimed killing 40 al Houthi militants in Mahliyah district in Ma’rib governorate on September 10. Hadi government–aligned forces claimed regaining control of al Houthi–held territory west of Ma’rib governorate’s Sirwah district in early September.[iii]
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
A suspected al Shabaab militant conducted a suicide vest (SVEST) attack at a restaurant in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on September 9. The attack killed three civilians and injured seven others. Al Shabaab militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) at the Elite Hotel in Mogadishu’s Abdul Aziz district in mid-August.[iv]
A Suspected al Shabaab militant carried out an SVEST attack outside a mosque in Kismayo city in southern Somalia’s Lower Jubba region on September 11. The attack occurred after Friday prayers, killing two civilians and injuring six others. Al Shabaab conducted a SVBIED attack targeting a military outpost near Kismayo city on September 7. [v]
The Uganda People’s Defense Force resumed deploying troops to the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) on September 10. Uganda forces announced suspending their military rotations to prevent the spread of coronavirus in early May.[vi]
[i] “AQAP Calls for Lone-Wolf Strikes on Charlie Hebdo Staff, Europeans Who Blasphemed Against Islam,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 10, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; Katherine Zimmerman, “Terrorism, Tactics, and Transformation: The West vs the Salafi-Jihadi Movement,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 15, 2018, https://www.criticalthreats.org/reports/terrorism-tactics-and-transformation-the-west-vs-the-salafi-jihadi-movement; and Aurelien Breeden and Constant Méheut, “Trial Over January 2015 Attacks Opens in Paris,” New York Times, September 2, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/02/world/europe/charlie-hebdo-trial-france.html.
[ii] “A joint operation by the missile and air force target an important target in the Saudi capital,” 26 Sep, September 10, 2020, https://26sep.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=181696; “Houthi drone attack on Saudi Arabia intercepted, destroyed: Arab Coalition,” Al Arabiya, September 10, 2020, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2020/09/10/Houthi-drone-attack-on-Saudi-Arabia-intercepted-destroyed-Arab-Coalition; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 9, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 9, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-september-9-2020.
[iii] “Yemeni army announces killing 40 Houthis in clashes in ‘Marib’,” Yemen Akhbar, September 10, 2020, https://www.yemenakhbar.com/2537896; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 4, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 4, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-september-4-2020.
[iv] “Several dead as suicide bomber targets Mogadishu restaurant,” Al Jazeera, September 9, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/09/dead-suicide-bomber-targets-mogadishu-restaurant-200909162810348.html; and “Three Killed In Restaurant Suicide Bomb Attack in Somalia,” Barrons, September 9, 2020, https://www.barrons.com/news/three-killed-in-restaurant-suicide-bomb-attack-in-somalia-01599668406.
[v] Abdi Guled, “Suicide bomber kills 2, wounds 6 outside mosque in Somalia,” Associated Press, September 11, 2020, https://apnews.com/d2dc342eb91113653d66cb49d45aa018; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 9, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 9, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-september-9-2020.
[vi] “UPDF resumes deployments to AMISOM in Somalia,” Hiiraan, September 11, 2020, https://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2020/Sept/179899/updf_resumes_deployments_to_amisom_in_somalia.aspx; “Uganda Restarts Rotating of its Troops in Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, September 11, 2020, https://www.radioshabelle.com/uganda-restarts-rotating-of-its-troops-in-somalia/; and Muhammad Ramadhito and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – May 4, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 4, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-may-4-2020.