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: Houthi official reiterates conditions for continuing de-facto truce; Yemeni president meets US ambassador; Abyan Special Forces mutiny against Interior Ministry decision
Somalia: US-trained special forces clear al Shabaab haven in north-central Somalia with US air support; al Shabaab launches a series of large-scale attacks on military bases throughout Somalia; NISA clears village in southern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
An advisor to the Houthi Information Ministry told Russian media outlet Sputnik that continuing the truce requires the Saudi-led coalition to refrain from “any activity that affects [Yemen’s] sovereignty…militarily” or economically on February 12. The advisor added that the Houthi negotiating delegation had “successes” on several “humanitarian demands” during bilateral Saudi-Houthi talks facilitated by Oman. The advisor said that the implementation of the Houthi demands will determine the “seriousness” of Saudi Arabia. The Houthis are calling for the full reopening of Hudaydah port, Sana’a airport, and the payment of salaries to Houthi-controlled ministries.[i]
Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi met with US Ambassador to Yemen Steven Fagin on February 13. Fagin reiterated US support for the Yemeni government’s peace efforts.[ii]
Some elements of the Abyan Special Forces mutinied against the Yemeni interior minister’s decision to remove the Abyan Special Forces’ chief of staff on February 10. The UAE-backed Giants Brigades intervened to stop the mutiny.[iii]
Somalia Security Brief
US-trained Danab special forces with US drone support cleared al Shabaab militants from Donlaye, Hobyo district, Mudug region, north-central Somalia, on February 10.[iv] Somali officials claimed the fighting killed 117 al Shabaab militants and two Danab soldiers.[v] A US drone strike killed 12 al Shabaab militants.[vi]
Al Shabaab launched a series of attacks on multiple military bases throughout Somalia on February 11. Al Shabaab launched an attack featuring two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) and ground forces targeting a Jubbaland State forces base in Afmadow, Lower Jubba, southwestern Somalia.[vii] Jubbaland State forces claimed to destroy both VBIEDs before they reached their target, with the fighting killing 6 soldiers and 30 al Shabaab militants.[viii] Al Shabaab claimed to destroy the base and inflict 43 casualties.[ix] Al Shabaab claimed to launch another complex suicide attack on a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Zubayd, Afgoi district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, over 200 miles northeast of Afmadow.[x] The group claimed to take control of the base, seize multiple weapons and vehicles, and kill 38 soldiers. Another group of fighters attacked an SNA base in El Ba’ad, Middle Shabelle region, south-central Somalia, a further 150 miles northeast of Zubayd.[xi] Al Shabaab claimed to seize weapons and inflict 24 casualties.[xii] The SNA claimed to repel the attack, killing nine attackers.[xiii]
The National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) cleared al Shabaab from Sabiid, Afgoi district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on February 12.[xiv] The raid killed 18 al Shabaab militants. [xv]
[i] Sputnik Arabic, “An Official in the Sana’a Government: The Continuation of the Calm Depends on Stopping Any Activity that Affects the Sovereignty of Yemen,” February 2, 2023, https://sputnikarabic.ae/20230212/%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%A4%D9%88%D9%84-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%88%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%B5%D9%86%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%AF%D8%A6%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%B1%D9%87%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%82%D9%81-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%A3%D9%8A-%D9%86%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B7-%D9%8A%D9%85%D8%B3-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86-1073431781.html.
[ii] US Embassy to Yemen, Twitter, February 13, 2023, https://twitter.com/USEmbassyYemen/status/1625207325748301851?s=20&t=CNnd8xhrYV4mJlI04UUToA.
[iii] Mahra Post, “Abyan: Clashes at the headquarters of the Special Forces, following the decision to appoint a Chief of Staff,” February 11, 2023, https://almahrahpost.com/news/36041
[iv] VOA News “12 Al-Shabaab Fighters Killed in Airstrike, US Military Says” February 12, 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/al-shabab-fighters-killed-in-airstrike-us-military-says/6960217.html
[v] Caasimada “Al-Shabaab killed 117 in the battle of Mudug and Bihi gave information”, February 11, 2023, https://www.caasimada.net/dhageyso-al-shabaab-oo-dagaalkii-mudug-looga-dilay-117-iyo-biixi-oo-xog-bixiyey/
[vi] U.S Africa Command “Somali, U.S. forces engage insurgents in support of the Federal Government of Somalia”, February 12, 2023, https://www.africom.mil/pressrelease/35141/somali-us-forces-engage-insurgents-in-support-of-the-federal-government-of-somalia
[vii] Somali National News Agency “Somali National Army foils attacks at SNA bases in Afmadow”, February 11, 2023, https://sonna.so/en/somali-national-army-foils-terrorist-attacks-at-sna-bases-in-afmadow/
[viii] Halbeeg “Somali soldiers fight back after deadly al-Shabaab raid”, February 11, 2023, https://en.halbeeg.com/2023/02/11/somali-soldiers-fight-back-after-deadly-al-shabaab-raid/
[ix] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Claims 110+ Casualties in Suicide Bombings, Major Offensives on Multiple Bases in Southern Somalia”, February 11, 2023, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com.
[x] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Claims 110+ Casualties in Suicide Bombings, Major Offensives on Multiple Bases in Southern Somalia.”
[xi] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Claims 110+ Casualties in Suicide Bombings, Major Offensives on Multiple Bases in Southern Somalia.”
[xii] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Claims 110+ Casualties in Suicide Bombings, Major Offensives on Multiple Bases in Southern Somalia.”
[xiii] Shabelle Media Network, “Somalia: Somali Army Kills 9 Al-Shabaab Militants in Fresh Operation” February 12, 2023, https://shabellemedia.com/somali-army-kills-9-al-shabaab-militants-in-fresh-operation/
[xiv] Somali National News Agency “Somali National Army kills 13 Al-Shabaab terrorists in operation”, February 11, 2023 https://sonna.so/en/somali-national-army-kills-13-al-shabaab-terrorists-in-operation/
[xv] Garowe Online, @GaroweOnline, Twitter, February 12, 2023, https://twitter.com/GaroweOnline/status/1624885092777598977?s=20&t=ZCkn3gXLRnso_eMw2ptM0g