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 claims STC-backed forces withdrawing from several positions in Abyan; PLC deputy suspends participation in PLC meetings in protest of security failures in Hadramawt; PLC Deputy Tariq Saleh’s forces assigned to joint security plan to protect Aden; US ambassador to Yemen meets with Hadramawt governor to discuss peace efforts

Somalia: NISA kills over 20 Al Shabaab militants and commanders in southern Somalia with the support of international partners; al Shabaab claims to attempt to assassinate a US-linked Somali defense officer in Mogadishu; Somali state security forces arrest al Shabaab network planning likely IED attacks in north-central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

An al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) communique claimed that Southern Transitional Council (STC) -backed forces withdrew from “several positions” in Wadi Omran, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on April 19.[i]

STC-backed news outlet Dera al Ganoob reported on April 20 that Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) Deputy Faraj al Bahsani suspended his participation in PLC meetings in protest of the council’s failure to address security issues in Hadramawt governorate.[ii]

Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi ordered Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) Deputy Tariq Saleh’s Republican Guard forces to protect the PLC headquarters and man checkpoints in Aden, Yemen on April 19.[iii] President Alimi directed the Yemeni defense minister and the National Shield Forces to “absorb” Saleh’s forces in a joint security plan to protect Aden.

US Ambassador to Yemen Steven Fagin traveled to Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen to meet with the governor of Hadramawt and local leaders on April 19.[iv] Ambassador Fagin reiterated US support for peace efforts led by Saudi Arabia and local partners and for Yemeni-Yemeni negotiations under UN auspices.[v] 

Somalia Security Brief

Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) forces with unspecified international partner support cleared Mubarak and Uguni towns, Qoryooley district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on April 20. NISA claimed that the operation killed at least 20 al Shabaab militants including several commanders.[vi]

Al Shabaab claimed to attempt to assassinate a Somali defense ministry officer allegedly connected with the US drone program in Wadajir district, Mogadishu, on April 20.[vii]

Joint Galmudug and Puntland state security forces arrested a suspected al Shabaab militant on April 20 that was allegedly planning improvised explosive device attacks in Galkayo city, Mudug region, north-central Somalia, on April 20.[viii] The security forces targeted a house in the town after the initial arrest and arrested several other members of an alleged al Shabaab cell.

[i] “SITE Intelligence Group, “AQAP Reports UAE-backed Forces Withdrew from Multiple Positions in Abyan,” April 20, 2023,

[ii] Dera al Ganoob, “A press statement by the official spokesperson of the Southern Transitional Council regarding Major General al-Bashani’s suspension of membership in the Presidential Leadership Council,” April 20, 2023,

[iii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “Official assignment of Tariq Saleh’s forces to protect official institutions in the interim capital, Aden (document),” April 21, 2023,

[iv] US Embassy in Yemen, @USEmbassyYemen, April 19, 2023, Twitter,

[v] US Embassy in Yemen, @USEmbassyYemen, April 19, 2023, Twitter,

[vi] Somali National News Agency, @SONNALIVE, Twitter, April 21, 2023,

[vii] S.I.T.E Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Claims Assassination Attempt on Somali Officer Working with U.S. Drone Program,” April 20, 2023, Available by Subscription at

[viii] Jamal Mohamed, “A network preparing explosions in Galkayo was arrested,” April 20, 2023, Caasimada, ; Puntland Post, “A network of explosives was caught in the city of Galkayo,” April 20, 2023,

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