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: Al Houthi spokesman threatens attacks against UAE; Iranian media reports clashes between STC-aligned and Hadi government-aligned forces in Abyan; al Houthis claim shooting down Saudi spy plane over Taiz; al Houthis claim attack on Saudi soldiers in Jizan

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting parliamentarian in Mogadishu; KDF conduct operation in Lower Jubba region; Ethiopia rejects Egyptian proposal regarding Nile dam

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarea threatened  al Houthi attacks on the Emirati cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai on September 18. Sarea stated that a September 14 drone attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia was evidence of the sophistication of al Houthi weaponry. US, Saudi, and French officials have disputed the al Houthi movement’s claim that it conducted the September 14 attack, which temporarily forced Saudi Arabia to cut its oil production in half.[1]

Forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist group, attacked forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on September 19, according to Iranian media. A large number of Hadi government-aligned forces withdrew from Shaqra town in Abyan following the clashes.  STC-aligned forces and Hadi government-aligned forces have fought in multiple governorates in southern Yemen since August.[2]

Al Houthi forces claimed to shoot down a Saudi-led coalition spy plane over al Waziyah district in Taiz governorate in southwestern Yemen on September 19. The incident is unconfirmed.[3]

Al Houthi forces claimed to attack Saudi soldiers in Jizan region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on September 18, killing multiple soldiers. The Saudi government has not commented on the alleged attack.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Somali Federal Government parliamentarian at the Hajji Baasto junction along Makka al Mukarama Road in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on September 18. The IED damaged the parliamentarian’s vehicle, killing two of his bodyguards and a bystander.[5]

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) led an operation targeting al Shabaab militants near Jamame town in Lower Jubba region in southern Somalia on September 17. Somali National Army (SNA) forces and Jubbaland Security Forces also took part in the operation, which killed 13 militants. A Jubbaland Security Forces spokesman claimed that the forces captured Koban village near Jamame during the operation.[6]

Ethiopia rejected an Egyptian proposal to operate the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a $4 billion Ethiopian hydropower dam being constructed on the Blue Nile River, during talks between the two countries on September 18. Egypt and Ethiopia are at odds over the dam. Egypt relies on the Nile for 90% of its fresh water and is seeking a water management agreement before the dam becomes operational, which Ethiopia says will be in late 2020.[7]

[1] “Yemen’s Houthis threaten to attack United Arab Emirates targets,” Reuters, September 18, 2019,; and “France says Houthi claim of Saudi attacks lacks credibility,” Reuters, September 19, 2019,

[2] “Withdrawal of a large number of Hadi militias from Arqoub and Shaqra”, Al Alam, September 19, 2019,

[3] “Saudi spy plane downed in Taiz”, Al Alam, September 19, 2019,

[4] “Houthis Announce the Killing of Saudi Soldiers in the South of the Kingdom” Al Bawaba News, September 19, 2019أخبار/الحوثيون-يعلنون-مقتل-جنود-سعوديين-جنوب-المملكة-1309760.

[5] “Lawmaker survives bomb attack in Somalia’s capital; 3 dead”, Garowe, September 18, 2019,

[6] “BREAKING: 13 Al-Shabaab militants killed in deadly KDF operation”, Hivisasa, September 19, 2019,

[7] Biryabarema, Elias, “Ethiopia rejects Egypt's plan for operating giant dam on the Nile”, Reuters, September 19, 2019,

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