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: STC-backed forces kill AQAP official; AQAP and AQIM issue first joint statement in six years; STC President meets with Yemeni defense minister to discuss Houthi military threat and deterrent efforts

Somalia: Al Shabaab launches a complex suicide attack on SNA base in north-central Somalia; SNA and local fighters secure village in north-central Somalia; SNA and local fighters clear al Shabaab hideouts in southwestern Somalia; US-linked Somali defense officer dies from his wounds after Al Shabaab assassination attempt

Yemen Security Brief

Southern media outlet Aden Time reported on April 24 that Southern Transition Council (STC)-backed forces killed an Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) official in a firefight in Wadi Omran, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen. Aden Time said the official was a close associate of the AQAP commander in Abyan and Shabwah governorates. AQAP confirmed the identity and killing of the official but did not report a date.[i]

AQAP and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) issued their first joint statement since 2017 on April 24. The statement was an Eid al Fitr holiday greeting to the Muslim world.[ii]

STC President Aydarus al Zubaidi met with the Yemeni defense minister and several other military leaders to discuss force readiness and developments in the Houthi military threat on April 24.[iii] The meeting also discussed ways to balance deterrence with restraint amidst ongoing peace efforts.

Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab launched a complex suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Masagawa village, El Dheere district, Galguduud region, north-central Somalia, on April 22.[iv] SNA forces repelled the attack.[v] Local media claimed that al Shabaab killed at least eight people, including soldiers and civilians. Somali government-affiliated media claimed the SNA killed at least 18 al Shabaab militants.[vi] 

The SNA and local fighters secured El Qansah village, El Dheere district, Galgudud region, north-central Somalia, on April 23.[vii] The operation killed five al Shabaab militants.[viii]

SNA and local fighters cleared al Shabaab hideouts in Afmadow district, Lower Jubba region, southwestern Somalia, on April 22.[ix]

Local media claimed that the US-trained Danab special forces’ chief of operations died from his wounds on April 22 sustained in an al Shabaab assassination attempt on April 20.[x]

[i] Aden Time, “Al-Qaeda admits the killing of a leader close to the Emir of the organization in Abyan,” April 24, 2023,

[ii] SITE Intelligence Group, “In Rare Joint Release, AQAP and AQIM Give Eid al Fitr Greetings,” April 24, 2023,

[iii] Southern Transitional Council, “President Al-Zubaidi is briefed by the Minister of defense on the conditions of the forces on the confrontation fronts with the Houthi militia,” April 24, 2023,

[iv] Horn Observer, “Somalia army repulses militant attack on its base in Galgaduud region, local elders killed,” April 22, 2023,

[v] Jamal Mohamed, “Al-Shabaab launched an attack with explosives in Masagawa,” April 22, 2023, Caasimada,

[vi] Radio Daslan, “The latest news on the casualties of the Al-Shabaab attack in Masagawa area,” April 22, 2023, ; Mohamed Osman, “Somali National Army kill 18 Al-Shabaab militants in Masagawa town,” April 22, 2023, Somali National News Agency,

[vii] Somali Dispatch, “The Federal Government forces capture members of Al-Shabaab in Galcad,” April 23, 2023,

[viii] Jamal Mohamed, “DF forces captured Al-Shabaab members,” April 23, 2023, Caasimada,

[ix] Abdirahman Galtooyo, “The National Army and the Jubbaland Dervishes carried out an operation against the Khawarij,” April 22, 2023, Radio Mogadishu,

[x] Shabelle Media Network, @ShabelleMedia, April 23, 2023, Twitter,; Peter Denham and Joseph Schluger, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 21, 2023,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 21, 2023,

View Citations
Arrow down red
May '23
Apr '23
Mar '23