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 Houthis and Hadi government agree to implement large-scale prisoner exchange; Saudi-led coalition claims intercepting al Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia; al Houthis reportedly fire ballistic missile targeting Hadi government military parade in Ma’rib city 

Horn of Africa: Pro–al Shabaab media reports al Shabaab attacks on AMISOM bases in Lower Shabelle region; SNA and KDF exchange gunfire along Somali-Kenyan border

Yemen Security Brief:

The al Houthi movement and the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi agreed to implement a large-scale prisoner exchange on September 27. The warring sides agreed to “immediately” release over 1,000 prisoners based on a list of agreed-upon detainees. This agreement follows more than a week-long negotiation process between an al Houthi delegation and a Hadi government delegation in Switzerland that began on September 18.[1]

Saudi-led coalition forces claimed intercepting an al Houthi unmanned aerial vehicle targeting southern Saudi Arabia on September 27. Saudi-led coalition forces claimed destroyed an al Houthi air defense system in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on September 26.[2]

Al Houthi militants reportedly launched a ballistic missile targeting a Hadi government troop parade in Ma’rib city, the capital of northern Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate, on September 25. Al Houthi militants fired a ballistic missile targeting Ma’rib city in mid-September.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Pro–al Shabaab media Somalimemo reported that al Shabaab militants attacked several African Union Mission in Somalia military bases in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on September 27. Somali National Army (SNA) forces claimed killing several al Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle region’s Barire town on September 25. The SNA attacked the militants in an effort to rescue several children from an al Shabaab training camp, according to local sources.[4]

The SNA and Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) reportedly exchanged fire along the Somali-Kenyan border on September 26. The event occurred near southwestern Somalia’s Gedo region and northeastern Kenya’s Mandera County after the KDF allegedly fired shots at Somali demonstrators to prevent them from approaching Kenyan territory. Somali citizens have recently accused Kenyan anti-terror police of killing three Somali civilians for falsely linking them to al Shabaab.[5]

[1] Samy Magdy and Ahmed al Haj, “UN: Yemen’s warring sides to swap more than 1,000 prisoners,” Associated Press, September 27, 2020,; “Yemen’s warring parties agree to free more than 1,000 prisoners,” United Nations, September 27, 2020,; and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 18, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 18, 2020,

[2] “Coalition thwarts new Houthi attack targeting Saudi Arabia,” News Yemen, September 27, 2020,; “Coalition Destroys Armed Houthi Drone Targeting Saudi Arabia,” September 27, 2020,; and “Arab coalition destroys Houthi air defense system in Yemen’s Sana’a,” Al Arabiya, September 26, 2020,

[3] “Ansarallah forces strike Yemeni military parade in Marib,” Al Masdar, September 26, 2020,; and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 14, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 14, 2020,

[4] “Al Shabaab 7 attacks AMISOM bases in Lower Shabelle,” Somalimemo, September 28, 2020,; and “Somalia forces rescue children in raid on Al-Shabaab camp,” Garowe, September 27, 2020,

[5] “Somali, Kenyan troops exchange gunfire in border firefight,” Hiiraan, September 27, 2020,; and “Large rally against Kenyan army brutality held in Somalia,” Mareeg, September 26, 2020,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Oct '20
Sep '20
Aug '20