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 movement claims offensive in southern Saudi Arabia; al Houthi movement accuses Saudi-led coalition of conducting airstrikes against civilians in northern Yemen; al Houthi movement releases 290 prisoners of war

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks US-Somali airbase in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab detonates SVBIED targeting Italian troops in Mogadishu; al Shabaab detonates IED targeting AMISOM troops in Mogadishu; airstrike kills al Shabaab commander in Lower Shabelle region; SNA troops kill al Shabaab militant in Middle Shabelle region

Yemen Security Review

The al Houthi movement announced an offensive in southern Saudi Arabia on September 28. The al Houthi movement claimed that the operation, dubbed “Victory from God,” was the largest al Houthi assault on southern Saudi Arabia since the beginning of Yemen’s civil war. Al Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sare’a claimed that al Houthi forces, supported by drones, had captured 2000 Saudi-led coalition troops and killed an additional 500 soldiers in the Najran region on the Yemeni border. Saudi-led coalition spokesman Turki al Maliki denied the claims on September 30 and accused the al Houthi movement of waging a disinformation campaign.[1]

Al Houthi spokesman Yahya Sare’a accused the Saudi-led coalition of conducting 39 airstrikes in northern Yemen over a twelve-hour period on September 30. Sare’a claimed that the raids targeted civilian property. The Saudi-led coalition has not commented on the claims.[2]

The al Houthi movement unilaterally released 290 prisoners of war in the al Houthi-controlled capital, Sana’a, on September 30. The al Houthi movement stated that it released the prisoners as part of the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement, which the al Houthi movement and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government signed in December 2018. The UN expressed hope on September 30 that the al Houthis’ release of prisoners will be reciprocated and called on all warring parties to meet for further discussions about de-escalation. Three Saudi soldiers were among the released prisoners.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attacked Ballidogle airport, an airbase in southern Somalia manned by US special operations forces and US-trained Somali Danab special forces, on September 30. Militants detonated two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) at the gate of the base, which is located approximately 60 miles northwest of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Militants subsequently attacked the base on foot. US officials claimed that Somali National Army (SNA) troops repulsed the attack and that US forces did not suffer any casualties.[4]

Al Shabaab militants detonated an SVBIED targeting Italian soldiers serving under the European Union’s Training Mission in Somalia near the Jaale Siyaad military academy in Mogadishu’s Hodan district on September 30. The explosion killed one civilian and did not injure any Italian soldiers.[5]

Al Shabaab militants detonated a roadside IED targeting Ugandan troops serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) at SOS junction in Mogadishu’s Heliwa District on September 29. The explosion injured two civilians.[6]

Unidentified aircraft conducted an airstrike in support of SNA and Ugandan AMISOM forces near Awdheegle town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on September 29. The airstrike killed 20 al Shabaab militants, including a commander named Hassan Jirow.[7]

SNA troops killed an al Shabaab militant as he was planting IEDs along the road between Jowhar and Balad towns north of Mogadishu in Middle Shabelle region on September 29.[8]

Visit our YemenSaudi Arabia, and Somalia storystreams. 

[1] ”More than 2500 Dead and Captured… Houthis Reveal Details of the Operation ‘Victory from God’ in Saudi Arabia,” Al Jazeera, September 29, 2019,اليمن-السعودية-الحوثيون-عملية-نجران-أكثر-من-ألفي-أسير-بعملية-نجران; “In the first response… Saudi Arabia describes the declaration of the Houthis as “play”,” Deutsche Welle, September 30, 2019,; and Chmaytelli, Maher, “Yemen’s Houthis say attacked Saudi border frontline, no immediate Saudi confirmation,” Reuters, September 28, 2019,

[2] Yahya Sare’a, Twitter, September 30, 2019,

[3] “Yemen’s Houthis unilaterally Release Hundreds of Detainees,” Reuters, September 30, 2019,

[4] Stocker, Joanne, “Al Shabaab attacks US and European troops in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region,” Defense Post, September 30,

[5] Stocker, Joanne, “Al Shabaab attacks US and European troops in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region,” Defense Post, September 30,; and “Suicide car bomb hits EU military convoy in Somalia’s capital,” Garowe, September 30, 2019,

[6] “Two civilians injured in AMISOM convoy attack in Mogadishu,” Hiiraan, September 29, 2019,

[7] Tuuryare, Abdirisak, “Somalia: 20 Militants Killed In Military Operation,” Mareeg, September 29, 2019,

[8] “SNA guns down suspect while planting IEDs along Balad-Jowhar road,” Goobjoog, September 29, 2019,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Oct '19
Sep '19