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: Yemeni president removes 1st Military Region chief of staff, causing Yemeni Army brigade closes entrances and exits of Seiyun, Hadramawt governorate in response; Yemeni president dismisses Hadramawt deputy governor; Yemeni media claims Houthis deploy drones and missiles to Hudaydah; UN envoy concludes visit to Saudi Arabia

Somalia: Anti-al Shabaab forces bloodlessly secure key al Shabaab stronghold in south-central Somalia; al Shabaab claims to retake transit area in south-central Somalia; al Shabaab ambushes Kenyan police in northeastern Kenya; local militia clear al Shabaab from central Somali village; al Shabaab mortars security forces in northern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief:

Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi removed Brig. Gen. Yahya Abu Awja as the 1st Military Region chief of staff on December 6. Alimi subsequently appointed the former 2nd Military Region Special Missions Battalion commander to the position.[i]  An anti-Southern Transitional Council politician condemned Alimi’s decision, accusing Alimi of “dismantling” the 1st Military Region.[ii] Southern Yemeni media claimed Islah backed Abu Awja.[iii] Abu Awja refused to vacate his position as 1st Military Region chief of staff and retained command of the 135th Infantry Brigade, however. Abu Awja ordered the 135th Infantry Brigade to close the entrances and exits of Seiyun, Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen, on December 7, after Alimi dismissed him as 1st Military Region chief of staff.[iv]

Alimi dismissed Deputy Governor for Wadi and Sahara Hadramawt Issam al Kathiri on December 6.[v] Alimi replaced Kathiri with a long-time civil servant from Wadi Hadramawt.[vi] Southern media claimed Kathiri was close to the Islah party and Alimi removed him after Kathiri’s “disagreements” with the Hadramawt governor.[vii]

Yemeni media outlet 4May cited “informed sources” claiming that the Houthis deployed “guided missile launchers and drones” to Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen.[viii]

UN Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg concluded his visit to Saudi Arabia on December 7. Grundberg said that the visit was part of his effort to “renew and expand the truce.”[ix] Grundberg met with a “number of ambassadors” from the permanent UN Security Council members, as well as the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen.

Somalia Security Brief:

Somali National Army and local militia peacefully secured Adan Yabal town, Adan Yabal district, Middle Shabelle region, on December 5.[x] Al Shabaab militants fled before the anti-al Shabaab forces arrived. The al Shabaab militants destroyed two water wells in the town and forced the local population to leave with them.[xi] Al Shabaab controlled Adan Yabal since 2016 and used the town as a rear staging area to manufacture bombs, treat wounded fighters, and train new recruits.[xii]

Al Shabaab claimed to recapture the Furqan area, between Ali Gadud and Gulane, Adale district, Middle Shabelle, on December 7.[xiii] Al Shabaab claimed its fighters attacked the Somali forces in the area and forced them to flee.

Al Shabaab ambushed a Kenyan police patrol convoy between Hagadera and Yumbis in Garissa County, northeastern Kenya, on December 5.[xiv] The attack injured at least two police officers. Al Shabaab claimed to kill multiple police officers.[xv]

Local militia cleared al Shabaab militants from Buur Weyn, Bulo Burde district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on December 7.[xvi] The local commanders said they forced al Shabaab to flee after a short skirmish near the front gates of the town.

Al Shabaab mortared Puntland State forces in Galgala, Bari region, northern Somalia, on December 6.[xvii]

[i] Saba ROYG, “Appointment of Colonel Staff Amer bin Hatian, chief of staff of the First Military Region, and Staff Col. Nasser al Wadi’i, chief of staff of the 135th Brigade,” December 6, 2022,; and Aden Gad, “Who is Staff Col. Amer bin Hatian, the new chief of staff of the 1st Military Region,” December 7, 2022,

[ii] Saleh al Gubwani, Twitter, December 6, 2022,

[iii] Aden Time, “The terrorist ‘Abu Awja’ rebelled against the decision to dismiss him and carried out a military deployment in Wadi Hadramawt,” December 7, 2022,

[iv] Aden Time, “The terrorist ‘Abu Awja’ rebelled against the decision to dismiss him and carried out a military deployment in Wadi Hadramawt,” December 7, 2022,

[v] Saba ROYG, “Appointing Issam Habreesh as Undersecretary of the Ministry of Local Administration and Amer al Ameri as Undersecretary of Hadramawt Governorate for Wadi Affairs,” December 6, 2022,

[vi] Shamsan, “Learn about the biography of the agent, Amer al Ameri, who was appointed,” December 7, 2022,

[vii] Aden Time, “Urgent/ the dismissal of a leader close to the Brotherhood and the appointment of his replacement to manage the affairs of Wadi Hadramawt,” December 6, 2022,

[viii] 4May, “al Houthi deploys missile platforms and drones on the coast of Hudaydah,” December 7, 2022,

[ix] Mahra Post, “Grundberg ends a visit to Saudi Arabia during which he discussed efforts to renew the armistice in Yemen,” December 7, 2022,

[x] Halbeeg, “SNA recaptures Al-shabaab stronghold town in Middle Shabelle,” December 5, 2022,

[xi] Jamaal Maxamed, “Watch: President Hassan spoke wonderfully about the release of Adan Yabal,”  Caasimada, December 6, 2022,

[xii] Sahan Global, “Capture of Adan Yabaal is a big victory, but the war is not over,” SomaliWire, December 7, 2022, available by subscription at

[xiii] Radio al Furqaan, “Al Shabaab returned to a district area in Middle Shabelle,” December 7, 2022,

[xiv] Halbeeg, “Al-Shabaab attack injures Kenyan police officers in Garissa,” December 6, 2022,

[xv] Radio al Furqaan, “Nearly 10 soldiers were killed in an attack in Kenyan NFD territory,” December 7, 2022,

[xvi] Asad Cabdullahi Mataan, “The Ma’awisley occupied a new area,” Caasimada, December 7, 2022,

[xvii] Radio Risaala, “An artillery attack on a base where the Puntland army is stationed,” December 6, 2022,

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