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: AQAP kidnaps UN workers; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target Houthi Telecommunications Ministry
Somalia: Al Shabaab IED kills 15 soldiers in southeastern Kenya; al Shabaab IED kills five civilians in southern Somalia; rebel faction reaches truce with state forces in central Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
Likely al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters kidnapped five UN workers between al Khadirah and Mudiyah, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, on February 12.[i] The AQAP fighters stopped a convoy travelling from Aden city and kidnapped “military police,” a UN translator, a foreign UN official, and three local UN officials.[ii] Local armed groups negotiated the release of the military police personnel.
The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes targeting the Houthi-controlled Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministry in Sana’a, Yemen, on February 13.[iii] The airstrikes reportedly destroyed TeleYemen’s headquarters. Saudi Arabia accused the Houthis of using the ministry to “launch hostile operations.”
Somalia Security Brief
Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) convoy near Mangay Village, Lamu County, southeastern Kenya, on February 12.[iv] Al Shabaab claims the explosion killed 15 KDF soldiers.
A civilian vehicle struck a likely al Shabaab-planted IED near Hanshaley village, Middle Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on February 15.[v] The explosion killed at least four civilians.
Hirshabelle State President Ali Gudlawe and rebel leader Col. Nur Dheere reportedly agreed to a truce in Beledweyne, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on February 12. Dheere’s anti-Hirshabelle State soldiers began fighting state forces in late December 2021. The fighting stalled planned Hirshabelle lower house elections in Beledweyne.[vi]
[i] Aden News Agency, “Al Qaeda kidnaps a UN team in Abyan,” February 12, 2022, https://www.adennewsagencey.com/132461/; and al Jazeera, “5 UN staff members were kidnapped in Abyan, southern Yemen, by unknown gunmen,” February 13, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2022/2/13/%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%8a%d9%85%d9%86-55.
[iii] Reuters, “Saudi-led coalition strikes target satellites station in Yemen’s Sanaa –residents,” February 13, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/saudi-led-coalition-asks-civilians-yemeni-ministries-sanaa-evacuate-state-media-2022-02-13/.
[iv] Somali Dispatch, “Al Shabaab claims to have killed 15 Kenyan troops near Lamu,” February 13, 2022, https://www.somalidispatch.com/latest-news/al-shabaab-claims-to-have-killed-15-kenyan-troops-near-lamu/.
[v] Halbeeg, “Roadside bomb blast near Jowhar kills 4 civilians,” February 14, 2022, https://en.halbeeg.com/2022/02/14/roadside-bomb-blast-near-jowhar-kills-4-civilians/.
[vi] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 26, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 26, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-january-26-2022; Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – February 7, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 7, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-february-7-2022.