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 releases video featuring AQAP emir; Saudi military committee moves from Abyan governorate to Aden; southern forces thwart al Houthi attack in Dhaleh governorate
Horn of Africa: Puntland State forces arrest 25 suspected al Shabaab and Islamic State militants; SNA attacks al Shabaab bases in Gedo region; suspected al Shabaab militants target telecommunications mast in Mandera County
Yemen Security Brief:
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a religious lecture video on January 8. The video featured AQAP emir Khaled Batarfi. AQAP ceased releasing videos belonging to this lecture series in May 2020 after a US airstrike killed an AQAP media official.[i]
A Saudi military committee moved from Shaqra town in southern Yemen’s Abyan governorate to Yemen’s de facto capital Aden on January 12. Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government and the Transitional Political Council of the South completed their military withdrawals from Abyan in mid-December as part of the power-sharing Riyadh Agreement. The Saudi committee arrived in Abyan in early December to oversee the implementation of the agreement’s military stipulations.[ii]
Southern forces claimed to thwart an al Houthi attack near Qataba district in southern Yemen’s Dhaleh governorate on January 12.[iii]
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
Puntland State forces arrested 25 suspected al Shabaab and Islamic State militants in Boosaaso town in northern Somalia’s Bari region on January 11. Puntland State Coast Guard forces claimed to target al Shabaab militants in Puntland State’s al Madow mountains in mid-December.[iv]
The Somali National Army (SNA) attacked al Shabaab bases in Bardhere town in southern Somalia’s Gedo region on January 13. The SNA killed eight al Shabaab militants in Bardhere on January 12.[v]
Suspected al Shabaab militants attacked a telecommunications mast in northeastern Kenya’s Mandera County on January 13. Al Shabaab militants attacked a telecommunications mast in Mandera County in mid-December.[vi]
[i] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, January 9, 2021 https://twitter.com/Dr_E_Kendall/status/1347893736022417408; and Jessica Kocan, “Yemen File: Al Houthi offensive escalates violence in central Yemen,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 14, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/yemen-file/yemen-file-al-houthi-offensive-escalates-violence-in-central-yemen.
[ii] “The Saudi military committee permanently leaves Abyan,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, January 13, 2021, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/191273; “Saudi military committee leaves Abyan,” Al Alam, January 13, 2021, https://www.alalamtv.net/news/5386376; and Jessica Kocan and Hannah Kuperman, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 18, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 18, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-december-18-2020
[iii] “Southern forces foil al Houthi attack northwest of Dhaleh’s frontlines,” Hadramawt, January 13, 2021, https://www.7adramout.net/almandebnews/7559293/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%B4%D9%84-%D9%87%D8%AC%D9%88%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%8B-%D9%84%D9%84%D9%85%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%B4%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%AB%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B1%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%B4%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%BA%D8%B1%D8%A8-%D8%AC%D8%A8%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9.html; and “Houthis killed and wounded in intense artillery shelling by the army west of Qataba in Dhaleh,” Aden al Ghad, January 13, 2021, https://www.adengd.net/news/518913/.
[iv] “Puntland forces nab 25 Al-Shabaab, ISIS suspects in Bosaso,” Goobjoog News, January 12, 2021, http://goobjoog.com/english/puntland-forces-nab-25-al-shabaab-isis-suspects-in-bosaso/; and Jessica Kocan and Hannah Kuperman, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 14, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 14, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-december-14-2020.
[v] Ardaan Yare, “Al-Shabaab blasts military commander and casualties,” Mareeg News, January 13, 2021, https://mareeg.com/al-shabaab-oo-qarax-la-beegsaday-taliye-ciidan-iyo-khasaaro-ka-dhashay/; and “Somalia army kills 8 militants in southern region,” Radio Shabelle, January 13, 2021, https://www.radioshabelle.com/somalia-army-kills-8-militants-in-southern-region/.
[vi] “Suspected al Shabaab militants bomb telco mast,” Hiiraan, January 13, 2021, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2021/Jan/181344/suspected_al_shabaab_militants_bomb_telco_mast.aspx; and Jessica Kocan and Hannah Kuperman, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 18, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 18, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-december-18-2020.