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 claims two IED attacks; Yemeni Prime Minister blames Houthis for stalled peace talks; PLC Chairman meets with US Secretary of State

Somalia: Anti-al Shabaab forces attack al Shabaab militants in central Somalia; SNA clears al Shabaab hideouts in north-central Somalia with US air support; al Shabaab overruns a military base in southwest Somalia; Puntland armed Forces Command clears al Shabaab from village in northern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed two improvised explosive device (IED) attacks that killed multiple UAE-backed soldiers in the village of al Baqira, Abyan governorate, Yemen on February 16.[i]  

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed blamed the failure to renew the UN Armistice on Houthi intransigence in a TV interview on February 17. Abdulmalik asserted that the Houthis have undermined the peace talks through continued political obstruction and escalation. Abdulmalik reiterated calls on the international community to designate the Houthi militia as a terrorist group.[ii]

Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) Chairman Rashad al Alimi met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Munich, Germany, on February 17. Blinken expressed the US’ “strong support” for the PLC and reiterated the US goal of advancing peace in Yemen.[iii]

Somalia Security Brief

The Somali National Army (SNA) and local militia continued fighting with al Shabaab militants in Inji, Jalalaqsi district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, through February 16.[iv] Somali forces likely initiated the fighting by attacking al Shabaab militants in the area on February 15.[v] The SNA claimed to kill over 200 al Shabaab militants, including key leaders, and seize weapons, medicine, and food.[vi]

The SNA with US drone support cleared al Shabaab hideouts in Ba’adweyne, Mudug region, north-central Somalia on February 16.[vii] The clearing operation likely began on February 14 and included a US drone strike that killed five al Shabaab militants on February 15.[viii]

Al Shabaab overran a Jubbaland military base in Bar-Sanguni, Lower Jubba region, southwest Somalia, on February 16.[ix]Al Shabaab claimed to kill 36 soldiers and released pictures showing they overran the base.[x] Jubbaland State forces claimed they thwarted the attack, losing at least five soldiers but killing several militants and destroying vehicles.[xi] 

Puntland State forces cleared al Shabaab from Habley village, ‘Almis Mountains, Bari region, northern Somalia, on February 15.[xii]

[i] SITE, “AQAP Claims Twin Bombings on UAE-backed Infantrymen and Military Ambulance in Abyan,” February 16, 2023,

[ii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The Yemeni government officially announces the failure of the peace negotiations with the Houthi group, and reveals the most prominent items that it has reneged on implementing,” February 17, 2023,

[iii] Twitter, Antony Blinken, February 17, 2023,

[iv] Shabelle Media, “Al-Shabaab was overpowered in the Hiran battle, airstrikes as territory lost,” February 16, 2023, 

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

[vi] Shabelle Media, “Al-Shabaab was overpowered in the Hiran battle, airstrikes as territory lost.”

[vii]  Somali National News Agency, @SONNALIVE, Twitter, February 16, 2023,  

[viii] U.S Africa Command, “Somali, U.S. forces engage insurgents in support of the Federal Government of Somalia,” February 16, 2023,  

[ix]  Radio Risaala, “Details: Al-Shabaab attacked a base in Lower Jubba causing casualties,” February 16, 2023, 

[x]  Horseed Media, “The attack started with strong explosions in the Lower Jubba region,” February 16, 2023,; Christopher Anzalone, @IbnSiqilli, Twitter, February 16, 2023,  

[xi] Radio Risaala,  “Al-Shabaab attacked a base in Lower Jubba causing casualties”; Harun Maruf, @HarunMaruf, Twitter, February 16, 2023,  

[xii] Puntland Post, “The PSF forces have driven Al-Shabaab out of Calmis territory,” February 15, 2023, 


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