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: STC requests independent representation in peace talks; Houthi negotiators meet with Iranian officials; Houthi negotiators meet with UN Envoy to Yemen; AQAP claims targeted explosive attack

Somalia: U.S Embassy in Kenya releases a security alert; al Shabaab denies involvement in ongoing Las’anod crisis in disputed northern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Southern Transitional Council (STC) Secretary General Ahmed Lamlas requested an independent delegation to represent the south in future peace negotiations and renewed demands for a two-state solution in a meeting with UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg on February 8.[i]

Activists close to the STC claimed that STC President Aydarus al Zubaidi will return to Aden “very soon” during the first week of February.[ii]

Houthi negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam met with Special Advisor to the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Asghar Khaji to discuss political developments regarding the ongoing peace talks in Muscat, Oman on February 8.[iii] Abdulsalam and Houthi negotiators also met with UN Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg and Omani mediators to discuss Yemen’s truce in Muscat, Oman on February 9.[iv]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters detonated an improvised explosive device targeting a likely STC-backed soldier in the Baqira village, Mudiya district, Abyan governorate, Yemen on February 8.[v]

Somalia Security Brief

The US Embassy released a security alert about potential terrorist attacks in Nairobi and other tourist destinations in Kenya on February 9.[vi]

Al Shabaab denied its involvement in the ongoing clashes in Las’anod, Sool region, a disputed area of northern Somalia, on February 9.[vii] The Somaliland government alleged that clan militia fighting Somaliland forces in Las’anod have links to al Shabaab in a statement on February 10 and had previously called the clan militia terrorists.[viii] Prominent analysts are split on potential al Shabaab involvement. Some have claimed that al Shabaab militants are among the fighters in the city, which others deny.[ix] Fighting broke out between Somaliland forces and clan militia on February 6 after several weeks of unrest following the assassination of a Somaliland opposition politician on December 26, which led to protests and demands to join the Somali federal system.[x]

[i] Southern Transitional Council, “STC’s Secretary-General Discusses with UN Envoy Developments of the Political Process and Endeavors to End the War,” February 8, 2023,

[ii] Aden Time, “The return of President Aidaroos al Zubaidi to the capital, Aden,” February 9, 2023,; and Saeed Ubaid al Jemhi, Twitter, February 2, 2023,

[iii] Mareb Press, “The Houthi delegation meets an Iranian official and arrangements are made to meet with the Saudi Foreign Minister,” February 8, 2023,

[iv] Yemen Future, “The UN mediator is holding talks with the Houthis and Omani mediators about the chances of reviving the peace process,” February 9, 2023, 

[v] SITE, “AQAP kills UAE-backed Chief of Ops in Vehicle Bombing of Abyan,” February 8, 2023,

[vi] U.S Embassy Kenya, “SECURITY ALERT FOR U.S. CITIZENS”, February 9, 2023,

[vii] SITE Intelligence, “Shabaab Denies Connection to Clashes in Somaliland, Says Allegations Otherwise Intended to Gain Foreign Support”, February 9, 2023,

[viii] Harun Maruf, @HarunMaruf, Twitter, February 10, 2023,

[ix] Rashid Abdi, @RAbdiAnalyst, Twitter, February 9, 2023,; Rashid Abdi, @RAbdiAnalyst, Twitter, February 9, 2023,; Abdirashid Hashi, @AnalystSomalia, Twitter, February 9, 2023,

[x] Markus Virgil Hoehne, “Crisis in Lasanod: Border Disputes, Escalating Insecurity and the Future of Somaliland,” African Arguments, February 6, 2023,

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