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: UAE and Saudi Arabia renew call for talks between Hadi government and STC; AQAP claims three attacks against Islamic State fighters in Qayfa; al Houthi movement claims drone attack in southwestern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab IEDs target Burundian AMISOM convoy in Middle Shabelle region; car bomb in Mogadishu injures police officer; Kenyan officials suspect Somali telecoms company behind al Shabaab attacks on Kenyan cell towers

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) released a joint statement on September 8 about the ongoing conflict in southern Yemen between President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a UAE-backed southern Yemeni secessionist group. STC-aligned forces seized Aden, Yemen’s de facto capital, on August 10 and have clashed with Hadi government-aligned forces in neighboring governorates since then. The Saudi-Emirati statement reaffirmed the two countries’ commitment to de-escalation and peace talks. The STC issued a statement on September 8 welcoming the Saudi-Emirati statement, but the group did not back down from its demands for a southern Yemeni state.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed three attacks against Islamic State in Yemen militants in the Qayfa area of al Bayda governorate in south-central Yemen between September 6 and September 8. The two groups, which are engaged in an ongoing conflict in Qayfa, increased attacks against each other in the first week of September.[2]

The al Houthi movement claimed drone attacks on Saudi military sites near Khamis Mushayt city in southwestern Saudi Arabia on September 7. The Saudi-led coalition did not comment on the specific claim but stated that it had shot down an al Houthi drone in Amran governorate in northern Yemen on September 7.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeting a convoy of Burundian forces from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) near Mahaday town in Middle Shabelle region in central Somalia on September 8. The attack killed at least five people, including AMISOM soldiers.[4]

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated a car bomb targeting a Somali police officer in the Hamar Jabjab district in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on September 9. The explosion injured the police officer.[5]

Kenyan security officials suspect that a Somali telecommunications company paid al Shabaab to conduct recent attacks on telecommunications masts in eastern Kenya, according to a report seen by Kenyan media. The report alleges that the Somali company paid al Shabaab up to $3 million US dollars in an effort to sabotage rival telecommunications companies that do business near the Somali border. Al Shabaab has destroyed at least eight telecommunications masts in eastern Kenya in 2019.[6]

Visit our YemenSaudi ArabiaSomalia and Kenya story streams. 

[1] “Saudi Arabia, UAE urge Yemen government and separatists to halt fighting,” Reuters, September 8, 2019,; “In a joint statement, the Kingdom and the UAE welcome the response of the legitimate government in Yemen and the Transitional Council to the Kingdom's call for dialogue, stressing the need to continue this positive atmosphere and the spirit of brotherhood,” Saudi Press Agency, September 8, 2019,; “UAE and Saudi Arabia issue a joint statement on Yemen,” Emirates News Agency,” September 9, 2019,; “STC welcomes UAE-Saudi joint statement,” STC Aden, September 8, 2019,; Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, September 9, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 6, 2019,” The Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 6, 2019,

[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter September 6, 2019,; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, September 8,

[3] Al Masirah, Twitter, September 7, 2019,; “Saudi-led coalition downs al Houthi drone in Yemeni airspace,” Sky News Arabic, September 7, 2019,; “Leader of Joint Alliance Command of the Coalition to Support the Legitimacy in Yemen: Identified and downed al Houthi drone in Yemeni airspace from Amran governorate,” Saudi Press Agency, September 7, 2019,; and “Air Force attacks important military targets in Khamis Mushayt in Asir, Al Masirah, September 7, 2019,

[4] Mohammed Dhaysane, “Roadside blasts kill at least 5 in Somalia,” Anadolu Agency, September 8, 2019,; and “At least two AU peacekeepers injured in Somalia blast,” Garowe Online, September 8, 2019,

[5] “Somali police officer injured by explosion in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, September 9, 2019,

[6] “Somali telco behind mast attacks, report says,” Daily Nation, September 9, 2019,

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