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: Tribal militia attacks STC-aligned forces in Abyan; unidentified militants attack Hadi government-aligned forces in Hadramawt; UAE delivers mines to al Hizam forces; UN appoints retired Indian General to oversee al Hudaydah redeployments

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack SNA forces near Marka town; al Shabaab militant surrenders to SNA in Bakool region; al Shabaab holds zakat ceremony; Kenyan police arrest al Shabaab militant in Mombasa

Yemen Security Brief

Tribal militiamen attacked a checkpoint of forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist movement, in al Mahfad district in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on September 13. The tribal militiamen injured STC official Nasser Ali Awad al Hazalah in the attack. STC-aligned forces have clashed with forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government since early August.[1]

Unidentified militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting members of the Hadi government-aligned 23rd Mechanized Brigade in Hadramawt governorate in eastern Yemen on September 13. This was the second IED attack in Hadramawt in two days.[2]

The UAE delivered anti-armor mines to STC-aligned al Hizam Security Forces stationed in Jaar district north of Zinjibar, Abyan’s capital, on September 13, according to anti-STC media. Hadi government-aligned forces in tanks and armored vehicles separately traveled from neighboring Shabwah governorate to Mudia district in Abyan on September 13. Pro-STC media reported that the vehicles are traveling to Shaqra, a coastal town in Abyan.[3]s

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed a retired Indian Lieutenant General, Abhijit Guha, to lead a UN committee tasked with overseeing a ceasefire in part of western Yemen. The previous Chairman of the Redeployment Coordination Committee, retired Danish General Michael Lollesgaard, resigned on July 31. The Redeployment Coordination Committee is tasked with overseeing the demilitarization of three Red Sea ports in al Hudaydah governorate per the December 2018 Stockholm Agreement between the al Houthi movement and Hadi government.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attacked Somali National Army (SNA) forces outside Marka, a coastal town 40 miles southwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on September 12. At least five people were killed in the clash.[5]

An al Shabaab militant surrendered to the SNA 51st Division in Bakool region in southwestern Somalia on September 12. SNA authorities described the militant, named Yarow Hassan Aden, as a senior member in the group.[6]

Al Shabaab media published photos on September 13 of a charity ceremony in an undisclosed location in Somalia. Al Shabaab official Muse Abdi Arale handed out US dollars to civilians who attended the zakat ceremony. Al Shabaab recently appointed Arale as its shadow governor of Mogadishu, which is under the control of the Somali Federal Government. Arale was previously a senior commander in the Islamist Hizbul Islam militia, which merged with al Shabaab in 2010.[7]

Kenyan counterterrorism police arrested Kenyan al Shabaab member Salim Aboud Khalid at his home in Mombasa port city in southern Kenya on September 11. Khalid previously survived a Kenyan police raid in October 2013 that killed several other al Shabaab militants near Mombasa. Kenyan media suggested that Khalid had attended the same Mombasa mosque as one of the al Shabaab militants who attacked a hotel complex in Nairobi in January 2019.[8]

Visit our YemenSomalia, and Kenya story streams. 

[1] “An armed attack targeting a group belonging to the STC in al Mahfad and injuring a leader,” Aden Ghad, September 13, 2019,; “Injured in an attack on a security point in Abyan,” 26 September, September 13, 2019,; and “Gunmen attack transition forces in Abyan and injure a leader in the incident,” Yemen Akhbar, September 13, 2019,

[2] “A Soldier was killed and three others were injured in an explosion in Hadramout governorate,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, September 13, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 12, 2019,” The Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 12, 2019,

[3] “UAE boosts transition forces with “trucks of mines” in Abyan province,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, September 13, 2019,; and “Breaking: Military reinforcements arrive in Mudia en route to Shakra,” Aden Ghad, September 13, 2019,

[4] “The United Nations announces the appointment of an Indian general to head the redeployment committee in Hodeidah,” Hadramout, September 13, 2019,; and “ The UN appoints Veteran Indian Officer to Lead its Mission in Yemen,” NDTV, September 23, 2019,

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, September 13, 2019,

[6] “Senior Al-Shabaab leader surrenders to Somali forces,” Xinhua, September 12, 2019,

[7] Harun Maruf, Twitter, September 13, 2019,; and “Somali Islamists al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam ‘to merge’,” BBC, December 20, 2010,

[8] “Suspected terrorist survives police attack, twice,” Daily Nation, September 13, 2019,

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