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: High-ranking AQAP commander urges Sunni tribes to join fight against UAE-backed forces; Yemeni media reports increase in shipping activity in Hudaydah port; Houthis block imports from Aden port; UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs meets with US Secretary of State  

SFG announces new measures to combat terror financing; SNA secures two villages and clears havens from al Shabaab in north-central Somalia; SNA attacks al Shabaab fighters in central Somalia; Likely al Shabaab detonates an IED targeting KDF 


Yemen Security Brief

High-ranking al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) commander Sa’d bin ‘Atef al Awlaki appeared in a video for the first time on February 13.[i] Awlaki called on Sunni tribesmen in Abyan and Shabwa to join AQAP’s fight against UAE and Southern Transitional Council forces. Awlaki is from a Shabwani tribe.

Yemeni media outlet Khabar Agency reported an influx of ships entering Hudaydah port in recent days.[ii] Saudi news outlet Arab News reported that the Houthis are blocking commercial cargo imported through Aden from entering Houthi-controlled territory on February 13.[iii]

UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan met with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Washington, DC in part to discuss bilateral efforts to advance Middle Eastern stability and security on February 14.[iv]

Somalia Security Brief

The Somali Federal Government announced new financial laws to combat terror financing on February 14.[v] The laws require private companies to register customer information, including biometrics, and limits daily monetary transactions to $300 per customer.[vi]

The Somali National Army (SNA) and local militia secured Qey’ad and Las Ga’amey villages in Harardhere district, Mudug region, north-central Somalia, on February 14.[vii] 

The SNA cleared al Shabaab havens in Mudug region, on February 14. Somali officials claimed the operation killed 32 al Shabaab members.[viii]

The SNA and local militia attacked al Shabaab militants near Inji village, Jalalaqsi district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on February 15.[ix] The SNA claimed to foil al Shabaab’s attempt at crossing the Shabelle River.[x]

Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device targeting a Kenya Defense Force vehicle in Garissa County, northeastern Kenya, on February 14.[xi] The explosion killed three soldiers.[xii]

[i] SITE, “High-ranking AQAP Commander Urges Tribesman in Abyan and Shabwa Reject UAE, Embrace Jihad,” February 13, 2023, available by subscription at:

[ii] Khabar Agency, “Economists: The Hodeidah port agreement loses the Yemeni government a new resource and exacerbates the suffering of merchants and importers,” February 15, 2023,

[iii] Arab News, “Houthis block Yemeni traders from using government controlled ports,” February 13, 2023,

[iv] US Department of State, “Secretary Anthony Blinken and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan Before Their Meeting,” February 14, 2023,

[v]  Harun Maruf, @HarunMaruf, Twitter, February 14, 2023, 

[vi]  Garowe Online, @Garowe Online, Twitter, February 14, 2023,  

[vii] Somalia National News Agency, @SONNALIVE, Twitter, February 14, 2023,  

[viii] Somali National News Agency, @SONNALIVE, Twitter, February 14, 2023, 

[ix] Hiiraan Online, “Heavy fighting reported in Hiiraan region”, February 15, 2023,  

[x]  Caasimada, ”Fighting between Al-Shabaab and DF forces in Hiran”, February 15, 2023,

[xi] Shabelle Media,” An explosion caused damage to the Kenyan army in Garissa”, February 15, 2023,  

[xii] Caasimada, ”A KENYA soldier was killed in an explosion”, February 15, 2023, 

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