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: Houthis reiterate priorities and maximalist negotiating position; anti-STC gunmen attempt to assassinate STC official; Nihm tribesmen threaten to close major road in retaliation for Houthi abuses

Somalia: SNA secures towns along main road in southwestern Somalia; al Shabaab attacks several ATMIS and SNA bases in southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief:

The Houthi defense minister reiterated Houthi priorities and maximalist negotiating positions during an appearance at the “Intelligence and Reconnaissance Authority” on December 13.[i] The minister called maritime security a Houthi “priority… in the next stage,” underlining the importance of the Bab al Mandeb, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and Socotra. He also said the Houthis will not “bargain” on prisoners, provision of salaries by the Saudi-led coalition to Houthi-controlled ministries, or “the humanitarian file.”

Anti-Southern Transitional Council (STC) gunmen attempted to assassinate the STC head in Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen, on December 13.[ii] The attackers minorly wounded the STC head. The STC-linked Hadramawt Endowment (Hiba) condemned the assassination attempt on December 13.[iii]

Nihm tribesmen threatened to close the Naqil bin Ghailan Line connecting Sana’a city to Nihm district, Sana’a governorate, northern Yemen on December 13.[iv] The Nihm tribe’s threats are in response to Houthi abuses, such as looting the home of a late Nihm sheikh prior to December 13.

Somalia Security Brief:

The Somali National Army (SNA) secured two towns along the Baidoa-Burhakaba Road in Baidoa district, Bay region, southwestern Somalia, on December 14.[v]

Al Shabaab claimed to attack several Ugandan African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and SNA bases in the Marka and Afgoi districts of the Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on December 12.[vi] Al Shabaab said it targeted ATMIS–SNA bases in Bulo Marir, Janaale, and Arba’ow, Marka district, and Awdhiigle, Sinka Dheer, and Barire, Afgoi district.

[i] Ansarollah, “Minister of Defense: We will deal forcefully and firmly with any development that poses a threat or an attack on national sovereignty,” December 13, 2022,

[ii] Aden Hura, “The head of the Southern Transitional Council in Hadramawt survived an assassination attempt,” December 13, 2022,

[iii] Aden TM, “al Hiba’s leadership’s first comment on the attempt to assassinate the transitional president of Hadramawt,” December 13, 2022,

[iv] Khabar Agency, “The Houthi militia stormed the house of a tribal sheikh, east of Sana’a, and looted its contents,” December 13, 2022,

[v] Horseed Media, “The countr’s armed forces have taken control of al Shabaab in Bay region,” December 14, 2022,

[vi] Calamada, “Al Shabaab Mujahideen carried out attacks in Banadir and Lower Shabelle,” December 13, 2022,

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