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: Al Houthis threaten to resume targeting the UAE; Saudi military officials visit Yemeni frontlines; UAE-backed forces threaten the rear of al Houthi southern Ma’rib offensive
Somalia: Al Shabaab SVBIED kills at least eight near Aden Adde International Airport; US threatens to sanction those undermining Somali elections; al Shabaab ambushes a police vehicle in eastern Kenya
Yemen Security Brief:
Al Houthi Political Bureau Member Muhammad al Bukhaiti said the al Houthis would “resume targeting” the UAE on an al Jazeera television program on January 12. Al Masirah TV, an al Houthi media group, said the UAE would face “great consequences” for “reentering” the war in Yemen.
The Saudi-led Coalition spokesperson and UAE-supported Shabwah governor held a joint press conference in Ataq, Shabwah governorate, to announce a new military operation on January 11.[i] The spokesperson said the new operation would occur on all fronts. The commander of the Saudi-led Coalition inspected the frontline in Ma’rib governorate on January 11.[ii]
The UAE-backed Giants Forces advanced from two directions on al Houthi-controlled Harib city, southern Ma’rib governorate, on January 11.[iii] Pro-government forces simultaneously recaptured al Houthi-held positions near Umm Reesh, al Jubah district, Ma’rib governorate.[iv] Pro-government and al Houthi clashes continued near eastern al Balaq mountain, south of Ma’rib city.
Somalia Security Brief:
Al Shabaab detonated a suicide, vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) near the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu on January 12.[v] The explosion killed at least nine people and wounded ten others. Al Shabaab claimed the attacker targeted a convoy of “white officials.” Private security contractor Janus Security Services reportedly operated the convoy.[vi] The UN denied its personnel or contractors were in the convoy.[vii]
The United States threatened to impose visa restrictions and take “other actions” against anyone that undermines the “integrity” of Somalia’s elections on January 11.[viii] The US State Department said the United States recognized the positive outcomes of the recent National Consultative Council meetings, but it is prepared to respond to any further delays.
Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Kenyan police vehicle between Liboi and Kulan in Garissa County, eastern Kenya, on January 11.[ix] The attackers killed four police officers and took AK47 rifles and ammunition. This is at least the eighth al Shabaab attack in Kenya’s eastern border counties since the beginning of 2022.
[i] Mareb Press, “The ‘Coalition’ announces the state of the ‘Happy Freedom of Yemen’ operation on all fronts and axes,” January 11, 2022, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=181257&lang=arabic.
[ii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “Good news for the Yemeni people… ‘Bin Aziz’ and a Saudi military commander inspect the fighting fronts south of Ma’rib, amid rapid progress of the army and Giants,” January 11, 2022, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/223804.
[iii] Baraa Shiban, Twitter, January 11, 2022, https://twitter.com/BShtwtr/status/1481056026115858433?s=20.
[iv] Ali al Sakani, Twitter, January 11, 2022, https://twitter.com/Alsakaniali/status/1481020908051566593?s=20.
[v] Hassan Barise, “Car bomb hits outside Mogadishu airport in Somalia; 8 killed,” Associated Press, January 12, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/africa-explosions-somalia-mogadishu-al-qaida-86577ca5cad299f691aa187025aac7fd.
[vi] Goobjoog News, Twitter, https://twitter.com/GoobjoogNews/status/1481277745720172549, January 12, 2022.
[vii] United Nations Mission in Somalia, Twitter, https://twitter.com/UNSomalia/status/1481247188177010691, January 12, 2022.
[viii] Ned Price, “Department Press Briefing – January 11, 2022,” US State Department, January 11, 2022, https://www.state.gov/briefings/department-press-briefing-january-11-2022/#post-305823-SOMALIA.
[ix] Halbeeg, “Al Shabaab kills four soldiers in Garissa,” January 12, 2022, https://en.halbeeg.com/2022/01/12/al-shabaab-kills-four-soldiers-in-garissa/.