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 claims IED attack on al Houthi forces in al Bayda; Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes in Hajjah and Sa’ada; anti-al Houthi media reports clashes between al Houthi officials in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims IED attack on AMISOM forces in Hiraan region; Angolan spy chief visits Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to kill two al Houthi fighters with an improvised explosive device (IED) in al Bayda governorate in south-central Yemen on September 16. AQAP recently conducted a prisoner swap with al Houthi forces and released photos of the exchange on September 13.[1]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes against al Houthi forces in Abs district in Hajjah governorate in northwestern Yemen on September 16. Saudi-led coalition aircraft also conducted strikes in Sa’ada city in northern Yemen on September 16. The Saudi-led coalition claimed to kill multiple al Houthi fighters in each strike.[2]  

Anti-al Houthi media claimed that al Houthi officials had clashed with each other at Sana’a International Airport in the al Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on September 17. Forces loyal to al Houthi militia commander Fares al Habari reportedly clashed with forces loyal to Mohammed Ali al Houthi, brother of al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi. A land dispute between Mohammed Ali al Houthi and Fares al Habari reportedly sparked the clashes.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab claimed to detonate an IED targeting Djiboutian forces from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) along a road between Bulo Burde and Jalalaqsi towns in Hiraan region in central Somalia on September 17. Al Shabaab claimed to kill five soldiers in the attack.[4]

The director of Angola’s intelligence services, General Jose Luis Caetano Higino de Sousa, visited the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on September 17. Somali journalist Harun Maruf suggested that the visit could be linked to al Shabaab’s bombing of a Somali commercial airliner in 2016. Somali intelligence services linked the al Shabaab militant who conducted that attack to a travel agency in Angola. The attack, which occurred on February 2, 2016, blew a hole in the plane’s fuselage and killed the bomber but caused no other casualties.[5]

[1] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, September 17, 2019,; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, September 16, 2019,

[2] “Coalition bombs Houthi camps in Saada,” Hadramout, September 17, 2019,; and “Houthis killed and wounded by bombing of the Yemeni army and coalition raids,” Hadramout, September 17, 2019,

[3] “Clashes break out on Sanaa International Airport campus,” Hadramout, September 17, 2019,; and “Armed clashes between Houthi leaderships in Sana’a International Airport,” Aden Gd, September 17, 2019,

[4] “Somalia’s Al Shabaab says 5 AU soldiers killed in explosion,” Mareeg, September 17, 2019,

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, September 17, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, “Officials: Mogadishu Flights Safe from Laptop Attacks,” Voice of America, April 25, 2017,

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