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: Yemen’s warring parties agree to a two-month truce extension; unidentified militants assassinate a Security Belt Forces colonel in southern Yemen
Somalia: Somali Prime Minister appoints former al Shabaab deputy leader as Religious Affairs Minister; SNA clears al Shabaab from village in central Somalia; Ethiopian Air Force launches airstrikes targeting al Shabaab in Ethiopia
Yemen Security Brief:
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg announced Yemen’s warring parties agreed to a two-month extension of Yemen’s truce agreement on August 2.[i] The extension will adhere to the same terms both sides agreed to in April. The Yemeni government, Saudi Arabia, and the United States welcomed the truce’s extension.[ii] The Houthi movement also welcomed the truce’s extension while demanding that the Saudis lift the siege on Yemen and cease purported “truce violations.”[iii]
Unidentified militants assassinated an al Hizam Security Forces colonel in Shaqra city, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, on August 2.[iv] The militants also wounded the colonel’s son, who is a major in the al Hizam Security Forces.
Somalia Security Brief:
Prime Minister Hamzi Abdi Barre appointed former al Shabaab deputy leader and US-designated terrorist Mukhtar Robow as Religious Affairs Minister.[v] Robow split from al Shabaab with his fighters around 2013 and formally renounced the group when he surrendered to the Somali government in 2017.[vi] Federal police and Ethiopian African Union forces arrested Robow in 2018 as he was running for South West State President, and he remained under house arrest until the end of former President Farmaajo’s tenure in May 2022.[vii] Robow remains on the Specifically Designated Global Terrorist list, although the US removed a bounty for Robow in 2017.
The Somali National Army (SNA) attacked al Shabaab militants at Bukure village, near Mahas, Bulo Burde district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on August 2.[viii] Somali officials claimed the SNA soldiers killed “several” al Shabaab militants, including commanders.
The Ethiopian Air Force conducted airstrikes targeting al Shabaab in Bakool and Gedo regions, southwestern Somalia, on July 30 and August 1. The first strike on July 30 targeted al Shabaab militants near Garasweyne, Hudur district, Bakool region.[ix] Ethiopian officials claimed the fighters were organizing for another attack on the Ethiopian border. The second strike on August 1 targeted militants near Qoney, Luuq district, Gedo region.[x]
[i] OSESGY, “Press statement by UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg on a two-month renewal of the UN-mediated truce,” August 2, 2022, https://osesgy.unmissions.org/press-statement-un-special-envoy-yemen-hans-grundberg-two-month-renewal-un-mediated-truce.
[ii] Saba New (ROYG), “The Yemeni government welcomes the announcement by the UN envoy to extend the armistice for two additional months,” August 2, 2022, https://www.sabanew.net/story/ar/88647; SPA, “General/Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Kingdom welcomes the extension of the armistice in the sisterly Republic of Yemen for two additional months.. It stresses the importance of opening humanitarian crossings in Taiz,” August 3, 2022, https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php?lang=ar&newsid=2374156; White House, “Statement by President Biden on the Extension of the UN-Mediated Truce in Yemen,” August 2, 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/02/statement-by-president-biden-on-the-extension-of-the-un-mediated-truce-in-yemen/.
[v] Goobjoog News, “PM Barre unveils cabinet, picks ex-Shabaab deputy to front ideological warfare,” August 2, 2022, https://goobjoog.com/english/pm-barre-unveils-cabinet-picks-ex-shabaab-deputy-to-front-ideological-warfare/.
[vi] Counter Extremism Project, “Mukhtar Robow,” https://www.counterextremism.com/extremists/mukhtar-robow.
[vii] Radio Dalsan, “Government asks NISA To submit report on Mukhtar Robow’s arrest,” December 28, 2022, https://www.radiodalsan.com/wararka-idaacadda/wasiirka-amniga-oo-48-saacadood-u-qabtay-ku-simaha-nisa-in-uu-warbixin-kaga-soo-gudbiyo-xariga-mukhtaar-roobow/.
[viii] SONNA, “SNA ramps up anti-AlShabab ops in Hiran region,” August 2, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/08/02/somali-army-ramps-up-anti-alshabab-ops-in-hiran-region/.
[ix] Caasimada, “Ethiopia planes have carried out heavy bombings and Al-Shabaab are planning,” July 31, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/diyaaradaha-itoobiya-oo-duqeymo-culus-geystay-iyo-al-shabab-oo-qorshe-wadda/.