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: Security forces clash with AQAP in eastern Yemen; Houthi and Yemeni government officials exchange blame for Sana’a airport delays; Oman secures release of fourteen foreign nationals from Houthis
Somalia: NISS foils an al Shabaab cell in Ethiopia; al Shabaab IED targets a high-ranking SNA officer in Mogadishu; al Shabaab shells Gorgor and SNA bases in southern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
Security forces clashed with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants near Sudaf, northern Hadramawt governorate, southeastern Yemen, on April 24.[i] Military sources reported the clash killed a “prominent AQAP leader,” though they did not provide a name.
Yemeni government and Houthi officials exchanged statements on the delayed resumption of flights from Sana’a airport on April 24. A Houthi official blamed Saudi Arabia and the UAE for the delay, claiming they refused to grant Yemenia Airways permission to land.[ii] Yemeni Minister of Information Muammar al Eyrani said the Houthis did not comply with an agreement to recognize passports issued by the Yemeni government, which he blamed for the delay.[iii] The Yemni government claimed 57 of 161 passengers were Houthi passport holders and that the Houthis refused to allow the remaining 104 passengers holding government passports to depart for Amman.[iv]
The Omani government secured the release of fourteen foreign nationals from Houthi custody on April 25. Among those released were British, Indonesian, Filipino, Indian, Ethiopian, and Burmese citizens.[v]
Somalia Security Brief:
Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) announced they had foiled an al Shabaab terror cell operating in the Oromia and Somali regions of Ethiopia, on April 23.[vi] The NISS arrested thirty-four suspected al Shabaab militants that were in the final stages of coordinating attacks in Ethiopia during April and May’s religious holidays. NISS claimed the cell received funding from Minnesota, Somaliland, and Kenya.[vii]
Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) brigadier general in Banadir junction, Wadajir district, Mogadishu, on April 25.[viii] The IED killed seven people in the convoy and wounded the target, Brigadier General Mohamed Hashi Guled.[ix] The convoy was traveling from Villa Baidoa base in Wadajir district.[x]
Al Shabaab mortared SNA’s October 14 Brigade and Turkish-trained Gorgor special forces bases in Awdheegle, Afgoi district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on April 25.[xi] The mortars killed one civilian and wounded 12 soldiers and other civilians.[xii]
[i] Akhbar Yemen, “Senior al Qaeda leader killed in Hadramawt,” April 24, 2022, https://www.yemenakhbar.com/3081642; Akhbar Yemen, “A prominent al Qaeda leader was killed by security forces’ bullets in Hadramawt,” April 24, 2022, https://www.yemenakhbar.com/3081694.
[ii] Al Bawaba, “Obstruction of the first flight from Sana’a airport… the exchange of accusations between the Houthis and the Yemeni government,” April 24, 2022, https://www.albawaba.com/ar/%D8%A3%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1/%D8%B9%D8%B1%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A9-%D8%A3%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%B1%D8%AD%D9%84%D8%A9-%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B5%D9%86%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%AA%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%AB%D9%8A%D9%8A%D9%86-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%88%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A9-1474632.
[iii] Al Jazeera, “Government of Yemen: Houthi group obstructed the re-operation of Sana’a International Airport,” April 24, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2022/4/24/%d8%ad%d9%83%d9%88%d9%85%d8%a9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%8a%d9%85%d9%86-%d8%ac%d9%85%d8%a7%d8%b9%d8%a9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ad%d9%88%d8%ab%d9%8a-%d8%a3%d8%b9%d8%a7%d9%82%d8%aa-%d8%a5%d8%b9%d8%a7%d8%af%d8%a9.
[iv] Nick Brumfield, Twitter, April 25, 2022, https://twitter.com/NickJBrumfield/status/1518621586567356417?s=20&t=SXW8t3dHI9O6QnqftaOTGw.
[v] Asharq Al Awsat, “Muscat announces the release of 14 foreigners who were detained by the Houthis,” April 25, 2022, https://aawsat.com/home/article/3610671/%D9%85%D8%B3%D9%82%D8%B7-%D8%AA%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%86-%D8%A5%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%82-14-%D8%A3%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%8B-%D9%83%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%AB%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%8A%D8%AD%D8%AA%D8%AC%D8%B2%D9%88%D9%86%D9%87%D9%85; BBC, “Luke Symons: Cardiff man freed after five years in Yemen detention,” April 25, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-61209721.
[vi] Halbeeg “Ethiopia claims to have foiled al Shabaab attack,” April 24, 2022, https://en.halbeeg.com/2022/04/24/ethiopia-claims-to-have-foiled-al-shabaab-attack/.
[vii] Ethiopian News Agency, “NISS al Shabaab members planning attacks in Addis, regional states,” April 24, 2022, https://www.ena.et/en/?p=35208.
[viii] SNTV News, Twitter, April 25, 2022, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1518506927780552704.
[ix] Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 25, 2022, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1518514233998258176.
[x] Garowe Online, Twitter, April 25, 2022, https://twitter.com/GaroweOnline/status/1518501222004805632.
[xi] Caasimada, “Deaths and injuries as a result of mortar shelling in Awdheegle,” April 25, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/dhimasho-iyo-dhaawac-ka-dhashay-hoobiyeyaal-lagu-garaacay-awdheegle/.
[xii] Radio Risaala, “Deadly casualties from mortar shelling in Awdheegle district,” April 25, 2022, https://radiorisaala.com/254758-2/.