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: Omani delegation visits Sana’a to discuss peace process; top Houthi official threatens Saudi Aramco; AQAP targets STC-backed forces with IED

Somalia: SNA captures al Shabaab commanders in south-central Somalia; al Shabaab ambushes police in northeastern Kenya; first Eritrean-trained Somali soldiers return to Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief:

A “senior Omani delegation” arrived in Sana’a, Yemen on December 21 to communicate the “ideas and proposals” from Saudi Arabia and the international community to the Houthi leadership.[i] Chief Houthi negotiator Mohammed Abdul Salam accompanied the Omani delegation.

Key Houthi official Mohammed Ali al Houthi threatened Saudi Aramco on December 20.[ii] Houthi said that it may take Aramco “consecutive days to extinguish its fires” if the Houthis began a “new reaction.”

Likely al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Southern Transitional Council (STC)-backed forces in Wadi al Khayala, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on December 21.[iii] The IED killed three fighters and wounded three more.

Somalia Security Brief:

The Somali National Army announced they captured eight al Shabaab fighters in recent fighting near Adan Yabal district, Middle Shabelle region, south-central Somalia, on December 20.[iv] Somali officials claimed four of the prisoners were high-ranking al Shabaab commanders.

Al Shabaab ambushed a Kenyan police vehicle in Garissa County, northeastern Kenya, on December 21.[v] Al Shabaab militants reportedly fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the vehicle after it struck a roadside improvised explosive device. The attack killed at least two police officers and one civilian.

The first batch of Eritrean-trained Somali troops arrived in Mogadishu, Somalia, on December 21.[vi] The troops had been held in Eritrea under controversial circumstances since 2018. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced that troops would be back in Somalia by January 2023.[vii]

[i] 26 September News Houthi, “The Head of the National Delegation Reveals the Goals of the Omani Delegation’s Visit,” December 21, 2022,

[ii] 26 September News Houthi, ”Mohammed Ali al Houthi: The Next One will be More Severe and More Painful for the Aggression and its Mercenaries,” December 20, 2022,

[iii] SMA News, ”3 Soldiers from the Southern Forces were Killed in a Terrorist Bombing in Abyan,” December 21, 2022,

[iv] Halbeeg, “Top al-Shabaab commander defects to Somali govt,” December 20, 2022,

[v] Washington Post, “Suspected extremists attack police in northern Kenya; 3 dead,” December 21, 2022,

[vi] VOA Somali, “The first part of the army has returned from Eritrea,” December 21, 2022,

[vii] Radio Dalsan, “The return time of Somalia’s missing army in Eritrea is announced,” December 20, 2022,

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