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 leader condemns Israel and the US; US sends naval forces and aircraft to UAE; Unknown militants attempt to assassinate Yemeni official; Houthi missile targets UAE-backed forces

Somalia: Al Shabaab targets civilians with a roadside IED in eastern Kenya; al Shabaab conducts assassinations in western Mogadishu; al Shabaab provides drought aid in southern and central Somalia; EU outlines its demands to the AU and SFG to secure funding for the planned AMISOM transition

Yemen Security Brief

Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi called Israel and “its loyalists” a common enemy of the Yemeni people on February 1.[i] Houthi added the Israelis and Americans are the “real enemy of Muslims” and aim to “exploit problems” within Yemen. Houthi accused the UAE and Saudi Arabia of cooperating with the Israelis.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed discussed recent Houthi attacks on civilian targets and al Dhafra airbase in a phone call on February 1.[ii] Austin said the United States will deploy a US Navy guided-missile destroyer to “partner with the UAE Navy.” The United States is also deploying high-end stealth fighters to al Dhafra.

Unknown militants detonated an explosive device targeting the director of the Yemeni Interior Ministry’s Finance Department in Aden city, southern Yemen on February 2.[iii] The bomb did not kill the official.

The Houthi movement launched a ballistic missile targeting an operations center for UAE-backed forces in Usaylan district, Shabwah governorate, central Yemen on February 1.[iv] The Houthi military spokesperson claimed the attack killed many UAE-backed fighters, including Emirati nationals supporting UAE-backed forces.

Somalia Security Brief

Likely al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a civilian car along the Wajir-Gerile road, southern Wajir County, eastern Kenya, on February 2.[v] Local authorities claim the explosion killed four people.

Al Shabaab-affiliated website Radio al Furqaan reported al Shabaab assassinated a Somali National Army and Somali Federal Government (SFG) official in two separate operations in Karaan district, western Mogadishu, on February 2.[vi] Al Shabaab has conducted 13 assassination operations in Mogadishu since January 20.

Al Shabaab’s drought relief committee provided food and supplies in drought-affected areas in the Bakool region, southern Somalia, and Galgududd region, central Somalia, on January 30 and 31. Al Shabaab-affiliated website SomaliMemo reported the committee gave out supplies in Rabdhure[vii] and Burdhuhule,[viii] northwestern Bakool region, and Elbur, central Galguduud.[ix] Al Shabaab said their efforts to “help all Somalis” outweighed the SFG’s, who waste millions of dollars on “rigged elections.”

The European Union (EU) high representative for foreign affairs and security policy said the planned restructuring of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) must focus on rebuilding institutions to secure EU funding.[x] The SFG and the AU agreed on January 23 to eventually replace AMISOM with the African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) after the AMISOM mandate expires on March 31, 2022.[xi] The EU funds 90% of AMISOM’s operational budget. The EU high representative demanded ATMIS focus on rebuilding institutions in addition to combat and troop deployment.

[i] 26 September (Houthi), “The Leader of the Revolution meets tribal delegations from al Jawf and Ma’rib,” February 1, 2022,

[ii] US Department of Defense, “Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s call with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed al Nahyan of the UAE,” February 1, 2022,

[iii] Mareb Press, “A high-ranking official is exposed to an assassination attempt with an explosive device in Aden,” February 2, 2022,

[iv] Yahya Sarea, Twitter, February 1, 2022,

[v] Goobjoog News, “Four killed after vehicle runs over IED in Kenya’s Wajir County,” February 2, 2022,

[vi] Radio al Furqaan, “Assassinations take place in Mogadishu today,” February 2, 2022,

[vii] SomaliMemo, “Al-Shabaab Drought Relief Committee launches food distribution in Bakol region,” January 30, 2022,

[viii] SomaliMemo, “Drought Relief Committee-re-distributes food in Bakol region,” January 31, 2022,

[ix] SomaliMemo, “Drought Affected Displaced People El-Bur Delivered PHOTOS,” January 30, 2022,

[x] The East African, “Fontelles: EU to continue funding Amisom, if it reforms,” February 1, 2022,

[xi] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 24, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 24, 2022,

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