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 spokesperson threatens the UAE; UAE-backed forces advance in southern Ma’rib; UAE-backed force announces end of anti-Houthi offensive; Emirati media reports US Central Command resumes ISR over Yemen

Somalia: Al Shabaab publicly executes two people in southern Somalia; al Shabaab kills villagers in retaliation for aiding counterterrorism operations in southern Somalia; European embassies warn of impending terror attacks in Kenya; Somali prime minister and president clash over the deployment of special forces to central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

A Houthi spokesperson threatened further attacks targeting the UAE due to its “aggression” in Yemen on January 26.[i]

The UAE-backed Giants Brigades entered al Abdiyah district, southern Ma’rib governorate, on January 26-27.[ii] A separate Giants Brigades maneuver east of Harib city, Harib district, southern Ma’rib governorate, aimed to link up with Yemeni Army forces southeast of Ma’rib city.[iii]

The UAE-backed Giants Brigades announced the end of their operations in Shabwah and southern Ma’rib governorates, north-central Yemen, on January 28.[iv] At least two Giants Brigades withdrew from Harib district, southern Ma’rib governorate. Two Giants Brigades remained in Harib district.[v] The Giants Brigades may have appointed a local Ma’ribi tribal fighter to lead one brigade.[vi]

Emirati-based Sky News Arabia reported US Central Command resumed flights over Yemen to “monitor” Houthi missile sites.[vii]

Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab publicly executed a police officer and a National Intelligence and Security Agency officer in Qunya Barrow, Middle Jubba region, southern Somalia, on January 28.[viii]

Al Shabaab killed villagers in retaliation for cooperating in counterterrorism operations in Muku Dheere village, Middle Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on January 28.[ix] The attackers executed at least five women and burnt farm equipment. Many villagers fled to nearby Bal’ad town. Somali Danab forces claimed to kill 15 al Shabaab militants during operations in the area on January 27.[x] Somali National Army regulars claimed to kill 28 more militants on January 28.[xi]

European embassies warned their citizens of impending terrorist attacks targeting Western nationals on January 27, causing Kenyan security forces to increase their readiness on January 28.[xii] The French and German embassies warned that terrorists could target “restaurants, hotels and shopping centers.”

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and the Council of Ministers ordered federal forces to withdraw from Beledweyne, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on January 27.[xiii] President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmaajo) ordered special force Gorgor and Haramcaad troops into Beledweyne to “secure election sites” from a rebelling militia on January 26.[xiv]

[i] Muhammad Abdul Salam, Twitter, January 26, 2022,

[ii] Fares al Hemyari, Twitter, January 26, 2022,; and Al Araby al Jadeed, “Houthi fortifications collapse south of Ma’rib in front of the incursion of pro-government forces,” January 26, 2022,

[iii] Wars of the Middle East, Twitter, January 27, 2022,

[iv] Asil al Saqladi, Twitter, January 28, 2022,

[v] Ali al Sakani, Twitter, January 28, 2022,

[vi] Ali al Sakani, Twitter, January 28, 2022,; and al Mashhad al Yemeni, “News about the appointment of a sheikh from Ma’rib as commander of the Fourth Giants Brigade (name and photo),” January 28, 2022,

[vii] Sky News Arabia, “The Pentagon is conducting air sorties to monitor the movement of the Houthi militia,” January 27, 2022,

[viii] Radio Dalsan, “Al Shabaab executes two alleged government soldiers in public,” January 28, 2022,

[ix] Harun Maruf, Twitter, January 28, 2022,

[x] SONNA, “SNA kills 15 Al-Shabaab militants in Middle Shabelle Region,” January 27, 2022,

[xi] SONNA, “SNA forces conduct military operation in Middle Shabelle region,” January 28, 2022,

[xii] Al Jazeera, “Kenya beefs up security after warnings of possible attacks,” January 28, 2022,

[xiii] Hiraan Online, “PM Roble orders withdrawal of troops deployed in Beletweyne,” January 27, 2022,

[xiv] Abdirisak Tuuyare, “Brewing tension as soldiers deployed to Baladweyne to push back terrorist,” January 26, 2022,

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