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.
Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 5, 2022Authors:
Brian Carter, David Hessen
Yemen: The UN Secretary-General says the UN is continuing negotiations to pursue a truce extension; Houthis reject Saudi-Yemeni offer to pay salaries of government employees
Somalia: Ethiopian and regional forces clash with al Shabaab along the southwestern Ethiopia-Somalia border; al Shabaab shells a Kenyan army base in southern Somalia; SNA and local militia forces secure a recently contested town in central Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Yemen’s warring parties to avoid “provocations” that could imperil ongoing negotiations to renew the truce on October 4.[i] Guterres’ spokesperson said Guterres is “disappointed” that the Yemeni truce was not extended before its October 2 deadline but promised to continue negotiations in pursuit of an extension.
A member of the Houthi Political Bureau said the Houthis rejected a Saudi-led coalition and Yemeni government proposal to pay the salaries for government employees on October 4.[ii] The Houthis rejected the offer because it excluded provisions for the Houthi-controlled Defense and Interior Ministry salaries and pensions.
Somalia Security Brief:
Ethiopian Somali Region Liyu Police attacked al Shabaab near several border towns in the Bakool and Gedo regions in southwestern Somalia on October 4 and 5.[iii] Al Shabaab claimed it killed ten policemen in the fighting.[iv] Al Shabaab counterattacked Liyu Police and Ethiopian National Defense Force soldiers near Quracle, El Barde district, Bakool region, southwestern Somalia, on October 5.[v] Al Shabaab claimed its counterattack killed 63 policemen, including three senior officers, and wounded 80.[vi]
Al Shabaab shelled a Kenyan African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) base near Afmadow, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia, on October 4. Al Shabaab claimed the attack killed two Kenyan soldiers.[vii]
Somali National Army (SNA) and local Ma’awisley militia forces secured the town of Yasooman, Burlo Burde district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on October 4.[viii] Anti-al Shabaab forces initially captured the town after a multi-day battle that reportedly killed over 100 al Shabaab militants on September 20.[ix] Al Shabaab claimed to recapture the town on October 1 after SNA and Ma’awisley withdrew from the area.[x]
[i] Al Sharq al Awsat, “UN Chief urges Yemen rivals: No new violence and renew truce,” October 4, 2022, https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3910831/un-chief-urges-yemen-rivals-no-new-violence-and-renew-truce.
[iii] Abu Bakr Jubbaawi, @AbuBakrJubbaawi, Twitter, October 4, 2022, https://twitter.com/AbuBakrJubbaawi/status/1577289181969190912?s=20&t=ha8zdImZiP8Z7ln5UOKC8A; Hiiraan Online, ”Somali regional state’s Liyu police capture army bases from al Shabab,” October 5, 2022, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2022/Oct/188106/somali_regional_state_s_liyu_police_capture_army_bases_from_al_shabab.aspx.
[iv] Somalimemo, ”10 police officers were killed in an attack in Bakool,” October 4, 2022, https://somalimemo.info/articles/17052/10-Askari-Liyuu-Boolis-ah-oo-lagu-dilay-weerar-ka-dhacay-Bakool.
[v] Somalimemo, ”More than 50 police officers were killed in a battle in Bakool [Photos], October 5, 2022, https://somalimemo.info/articles/17054/Dagaal-lagu-dilay-in-ka-badan-50-kamid-ah-ciidamada-Liyuu-boolis-oo-ka-dhacay-Bakool-Sawirro.
[vi] Radio al Furqaan, “63 Policemen killed in heavy fighting in Bakool,” October 5, 2022, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2022/10/63-liyu-bolis-ah-oo-lagu-dilay-dagaal-culus-oo-ka-dhacay-bakool/.
[vii] Somalimemo, ”A Kenyan soldier who died at Kuyal police station in Afmadowe district,” October 4, 2022, https://somalimemo.info/articles/17051/Askar-Kenyaan-ah-oo-ku-dhintay-saldhiga-kuyaal-degmada-Afmadoow.
[viii] SONNA, ”National Army retake a key village, hunting down terrorists’ remnants,” October 4, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/10/04/national-army-retake-a-key-village-hunting-down-terrorists-remnants/.
[ix] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 21, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 21, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-september-21-2022.
[x] Brian Carter and David Hessen, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 3, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 3, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-october-3-2022.
Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 3, 2022Authors:
Brian Carter, David Hessen
Yemen: Houthis and ROYG fail to renew Yemen’s truce; Houthis threaten oil companies in Saudi Arabia in the UAE; truce negotiations create new rifts within the PLC
Somalia: AFRICOM drone strike kills al Shabaab’s second in command; al Shabaab attacks government offices with three SVBIEDs in central Somalia; al Shabaab claims to have secured 12 towns in central Somalia after SNA and local militia forces withdraw
Yemen Security Brief:
The Houthi movement and the Yemeni government failed to renew the truce in Yemen on October 2.[i] UN Envoy Hans Grundberg submitted another extension agreement that would have extended the truce for six months on October 1, though the Houthis rejected the extension.
The Houthi military spokesperson threatened oil companies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE if they did not “leave” Saudi Arabia and the UAE.[ii] He said that the Houthis will “deprive the Saudis and Emiratis of their resources” if the UAE and Saudis continue to use Yemeni resources.[iii]
Attempts to submit new concessions by Grundberg and the Yemeni government reportedly created additional rifts within the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC).[iv] PLC Deputy and Southern Transitional Council President Aidarous al Zubaidi was “strongly opposed” to providing public sector salaries to the Houthis. Zubaidi said that the Yemeni government should transfer the revenues from the Central Banks in Sana’a, Hudaydah, and Ma’rib to Aden before redistributing the revenue from Aden to Sana’a.
Somalia Security Brief:
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) killed Abdullahi Nadir, a senior leader and co-founder of al Shabaab, with a drone strike near Haramka, Jilib district, Middle Jubba region, southwestern Somalia, on October 1.[v] Nadir was first in line for leadership succession and managed al Shabaab’s finances.[vi] This is the first strike targeting an al Shabaab leader since US President Joe Biden gave US forces standing authority to target a list of high-ranking al Shabaab officials in May 2021.[vii]
Al Shabaab attacked Hirshabelle State government administrative buildings with three suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) in Beledweyne, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on October 3.[viii] The attack killed dozens of people, including several state cabinet officials and MPs.[ix] Al Shabaab also claims that the explosion killed Djiboutian African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) soldiers.[x]
Al Shabaab claimed to seize 12 towns near the Moqokori area in Burlo Burde district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on October 1.[xi] The Somali National Army (SNA) confirmed that SNA troops and local Ma’awisley militia forces that had secured the area withdrew as part of a deliberate military strategy.[xii] There are reports claiming that a leadership dispute between different SNA commanders caused the withdrawal.[xiii] Al Shabaab has provided food aid to families in the towns.[xiv]
[i] Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, “Statement from the UN Special Envoy on the Negotiations to Extend and Expand the Nationwide Truce in Yemen,” October 2, 2022, https://osesgy.unmissions.org/statement-un-special-envoy-negotiations-extend-and-expand-nationwide-truce-yemen.
[ii] Yahya Sare’a, Twitter, October 2, 2022, https://twitter.com/army21ye/status/1576620949561954304?s=20&t=Qlry9diYvDU8P7GVBd-Xiw.
[iii] Yahya Sare’a, Twitter, October 2, 2022, https://twitter.com/army21ye/status/1576623634726400001?s=20&t=Qlry9diYvDU8P7GVBd-Xiw.
[v] Hiiraan Online, “Al Shabaab’s #2 man killed by Somali government forces,” October 3, 2022, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2022/Oct/188085/al_shabaab_s_2_man_killed_by_somali_government_forces.aspx; U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs, ”U.S. forces conduct strike in Somalia targeting al-Shabaab leader,” United States Africa Command, October 3, 2022, https://www.africom.mil/pressrelease/34758/us-forces-conduct-strike-in-somalia-targeting-al-shabaab-leader.
[vi] Deutche Welte, “Somalia: Al-Shabab co-founder killed in joint strike, authorities say,” October 3, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/somalia-al-shabab-co-founder-killed-in-joint-strike-authorities-say/a-63320386?maca=en-rss-en-world-4025-rdf.
[vii] Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt, “Biden Approves Plan to Redeploy Several Hundred Ground Forces Into Somalia,” New York Times, May 16, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/16/us/politics/biden-military-somalia.html.
[viii] Goobjoog News, @GoobjoogNews, Twitter, October 3, 2022, https://twitter.com/GoobjoogNews/status/1576909254631428097.
[ix] Jamal Ahmed Osman, @jaahos, Twitter, https://twitter.com/jaahos/status/1576930019057709056; Halbeeg, “Ten killed in two Beledweyne blasts,“ October 3, 2022, https://en.halbeeg.com/2022/10/03/ten-killed-in-two-beledweyne-blasts/.
[xi] Radio al Furqaan, “Al-Shabaab has moved back to more than 12 areas in East Hiran,” October 1, 2022, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2022/10/al-shabaab-oo-dib-ula-wareegay-in-ka-badan-12-degaan-oo-bariga-hiiraan-ah/.
[xii] Zahra Axmed Gacal, ”The reason why DF forces withdrew from the occupied areas in Hiran has been announced,” Caasimada, October 1, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/sababta-ay-ciidanka-df-uga-soo-baxeen-deegaanadii-ay-qabsadeen-ee-hiiraan-oo-la-shaaciyey-dhageyso/.
[xiii] Istar Cabdi Yuusuf, “The government forces have cleared areas that were taken over by Al-Shabaab,” Caasimada, October 1, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/ciidamada-df-oo-soo-baneeyey-deegaano-ay-kala-waregeen-al-shabaab-sababta/.
[xiv] Radio al Furqaan, “Photos: Al-Shabaab distributed food to 420 families in Moqokori,” October 1, 2022, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2022/10/sawirro-al-shabaab-oo-420-qoys-raashin-iyo-iidaankiisa-ugu-qeybiyay-moqokori/.
Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 30, 2022Authors:
Brian Carter, David Hessen
Yemen: PLC meets with Saudi defense minister to resolve differences; Houthi president and prime minister meet with UN special envoy; UN special envoy gives statement on discussions with Houthis
Somalia: Al Shabaab assassinates the Banadir regional police commander in southern Somalia; al Shabaab militants attack SNA forces in recently captured territory in central Somalia; SNA clears al Shabaab militants from numerous villages in southern Somalia; al Shabaab militants attack Kenyan forces border town in southwestern Somalia; al Shabaab executes six alleged SNA and US spies in southwestern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
The Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) met with Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman in Riyadh on September 28 to resolve differences between the PLC members.[i] The defense minister reiterated Saudi support for the PLC. The Saudi ambassador to Yemen also attended the meeting. An anonymous Yemeni official said that the meeting focused on building “consensus” in issuing decisions.[ii]
Houthi President Mahdi al Mashaat and Prime Minister Abdulaziz bin Habtoor discussed the truce with UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg on September 28. Mashaat reiterated the Houthi demands for salaries and “lifting the siege.”[iii] Mashaat said a “failure to alleviate humanitarian suffering” in Yemen is a rejection of the truce. Grundberg did not comment on any Houthi “conditions” after leaving Sana’a on September 28.[iv]
Grundberg “held intense discussions” on salary payment, reopening ports and airports, and “maintaining calm on the frontlines,” with the Houthis in a September 29 statement.[v] Grundberg said pursuing further “peace over war” will necessitate “courage and leadership” from the Houthis and Yemeni government.
Somalia Security Brief:
Al Shabaab assassinated Banadir Regional Police Commander Farhan Qarole with a roadside improvised explosive device near Lada-Bundaale, Bal’ad district, Middle Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on September 30.[vi] Al Shabaab claims the explosion killed six people and wounded 13 others.[vii]
Al Shabaab militants attacked Somali National Army (SNA) and local Ma’awisley militia forces in Qohle, Burlo Burde district, Hiraan region, central Somalia on September 29.[viii] The fighting killed a prominent local clan elder.[ix] Al Shabaab claims the attack killed more than 20 SNA and militia members.[x] The SNA claims to have repelled the attack and killed nearly 40 al Shabaab militants.[xi]
SNA forces cleared al Shabaab militants from nine villages near the Basra area along the Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regional border in southern Somalia on September 30.[xii] The SNA claimed to kill five al Shabaab members during the operation.[xiii]
Al Shabaab militants attacked the Somali-Kenyan border town of Giriley, Beled Hawo district, Gedo region, southwest Somalia, on September 30. Al Shabaab torched a water well and destroyed a well drilling rig. The attack killed 11 people, including Kenyan soldiers and civilians.[xiv]
Al Shabaab executed six alleged SNA and US spies in Kuunyo Barow, Jilib district, Middle Jubba region, southwestern Somalia, on September 30.[xv]
[i] Al Arabiya, “Khalid bin Salman confirms support for the Yemeni Leadership Council’s initiatives for a political solution,” September 28, 2022, https://www.alarabiya.net/saudi-today/2022/09/28/%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D9%86-%D8%B3%D9%84%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%8A%D8%A4%D9%83%D8%AF-%D8%AF%D8%B9%D9%85-%D9%85%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86%D9%8A-%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%84-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%8A; and al Araby al Jadeed, “Saudi Arabia gathers members of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council to resolve differences,” September 29, 2022, https://www.alaraby.co.uk/politics/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A3%D8%B9%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%A6%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86%D9%8A-%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%91-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AE%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA.
[ii] al Araby al Jadeed, “Saudi Arabia gathers members of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council to resolve differences,” September 29, 2022, https://www.alaraby.co.uk/politics/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A3%D8%B9%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%A6%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86%D9%8A-%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%91-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AE%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA.
[iv] Al Sharq al Awsat, “Grundberg leaves Sana’a without commenting on Houthi conditions for extending truce,” September 30, 2022, https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3904356/grundberg-leaves-sanaa-without-commenting-houthi-conditions-extending-truce.
[v] Office of the Special Envoy-Yemen, Twitter, September 29, 2022, https://twitter.com/OSE_Yemen/status/1575611469781438464?s=20&t=mrkLg3KPmyviQ3sfosryNQ.
[vi] Saalax Saciid Sabriye, “How did the explosion kill commander Farxan Qaroole,” Caasimada, September 30, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/deg-deg-farxaan-qaroole-oo-lagu-dilay-qarax-miino-oo-ka-dhacay-basra/.
[vii] Somalimemo, “Urgent: Mogadishu police chief killed and al Shabaab claims responsibility,” September 30, 2022, https://somalimemo.info/articles/17029/WAR-DEG-DEG-Taliyihii-booliska-Muqdisho-oo-la-dilay-iyo-Al-Shabaab-oo-sheegatay-masuuliyadda.
[viii] Hiraan Online, “Prominent Hiran clan elder killed in al Shabaab counter attack,” September 29, 2022, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2022/Sept/188037/prominent_hiiraan_clan_elder_killed_in_al_shabaab_counter_attack.aspx.
[ix] Garowe Online, @GaroweOnline, Twitter, September 29, 2022, https://twitter.com/GaroweOnline/status/1575470819031015424.
[x] Somalimemo, “Battle killed 20 soldiers and army officers in Moqakori,” September 29, 2022, https://somalimemo.info/articles/17025/Dagaal-lagu-dilay-20-Askari-iyo-saraakiil-ciidan-oo-ka-dhacay-Moqakori.
[xi] SONNA, “SNA repulses terror raid, killed more than 40 militants,” September 29, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/09/29/sna-repulses-terror-raid-killed-more-than-40-militants/.
[xii] SONNA, “National military seizes nine villages including strategic Basra,” September 30, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/09/30/national-military-seizes-nine-villages-including-strategic-basra/.
[xiii] Radio Dalsan, “The Federal Government spoke about the operation in nine villages this morning,” September 30, 2022, https://www.radiodalsan.com/wararka-idaacadda/dowladda-federaalka-oo-ka-hadashay-howlgalkii-saaka-lagu-qabsaday-9-deegaan/.
[xiv] Goobjoog News, @GoobjoogNews, Twitter, September 30, 2022, https://twitter.com/GoobjoogNews/status/1575775862724890626.
[xv] Somali Dispatch, “Al Shabaab executes alleged spies,” September 30, 2022, https://www.somalidispatch.com/latest-news/al-shabaab-executes-alleged-spies/.