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: AQAP fighters escape prison in eastern Yemen; the US Navy forms new combined task force; the UN working to end “bureaucracy” required to open Sana’a airport

Somalia: Al Shabaab mortars green zone election site in Mogadishu during swearing in ceremony; Eritrean-trained forces secure town on Kenyan-Somali border


Yemen Security Brief:

Ten al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters reportedly escaped from a prison in Seiyun, Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen. The fighters stole weapons from guards during a fight and escaped into the Hadramawt Valley and desert.[i]

The US Navy formed a new multinational naval task force in the Red Sea to counter smuggling.[ii] The new task force will be part of the Combined Maritime Forces command. The task force will consist of between two and eight ships and focus on coal, drugs, weapons, and human smuggling. Al Shabaab smuggles coal to fund attacks, while Iranian weapons bound for the Houthis also transit the Red Sea region.

UN Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg said there are “no political obstacles” to opening Sana’a International Airport. Grundberg said the UN is in the process of ending the “bureaucratic procedures” required to open Sana’a’s airport.[iii]

Somalia Security Brief:

Al Shabaab attempted to mortar the tent holding the swearing in of new Somali MPs in Halane Base, Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu, on April 14. There were no injuries and election officials continued ahead with the scheduled ceremony.[iv]

Eritrean-trained NISA Dufan forces secured areas of Beled Hawo, Gedo region, Kenyan-Somali border. NISA officials said Dufan soldiers arrested several youths but later released them.[v]

[i] SMA News, “In a reference to the forces of the First Military Region to escape… 10 prisoners belonging to al Qaeda escaped from Seiyun Central Prison,” April 15, 2022,; and al Bawabah, “10 Al Qaeda leaders escape from prison in Yemen,” April 15, 2022,

[ii] Al Jazeera, “US Navy says new task force to patrol Red Sea amid Yemen war,” April 13, 2022,

[iii] 26 September (Houthi), “The UN envoy sets the date for opening Sana’a airport and its next priorities,” April 13, 2022,

[iv] Radio al Furqaan, “Mortars shells hit Afisyoni tent to swear in lawmakers,” April 14, 2022,

[v] Radio Risaala, “Somali National Security Forces carry out planned operation,” April 15, 2022,

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