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: Houthis will continue targeting the UAE; Houthis fire at least one ballistic missile targeting UAE
Somalia: Al Shabaab retaliates against a village in southern Somalia; likely al Shabaab IED kills 10 civilians in northeastern Kenya; Somali police set up new police stations to counter reported IS-S extortion efforts
Yemen Security Brief
The Houthi ambassador to Iran called the withdrawal of UAE-backed forces in southern Ma’rib governorate, northern Yemen a “deception” on January 30.[i] The ambassador added the Houthi movement would continue targeting the UAE and other countries of “aggression.”
The Houthi movement fired at least one ballistic missile targeting Abu Dhabi, UAE, on January 30.[ii] Emirati air defenses intercepted the missile. The Houthi military spokesperson claimed the Houthis targeted Abu Dhabi with Zulfiqar ballistic missiles and targeted Dubai with Sammad-3 drones.[iii] The spokesperson added the UAE would be “unsafe” while the UAE continues to use “Israeli tools” to attack Yemen.[iv] The Emirati Air Force conducted a retaliatory strike on a Houthi missile site in al Jawf governorate, northern Yemen.[v] The attack occurred during the visit of the Israeli president to Abu Dhabi.[vi]
Somalia Security Brief
Al Shabaab militants raided Marere village, near Bal’ad town in the Middle Shabelle region of southern Somalia on January 29.[vii] The attackers burned several houses. Many villagers fled to Bal’ad town. Al Shabaab raided another nearby village, Muku Dheere, on January 28 in retaliation for villagers cooperating with counterterrorism forces.[viii]
Likely al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device targeting a civilian bus near Mandera town, Mandera county, northeastern Kenya, on January 31.[ix] The explosion killed at least ten people. Kenyan police say the attackers fled towards the Kenyan-Somali border.
Somali Police set up two new police stations in Bakara Market, Hawl Wadag district, Mogadishu on January 30.[x] Shopkeepers closed their Bakara Market storefronts on January 26 in response to reports Islamic State–Somalia were extorting and bombing shopkeepers in the area.[xi]
[ii] UAE MOD|Ministry of Defense, Twitter, January 30, 2022, https://twitter.com/modgovae/status/1487901321244160001?s=20&t=8F45NjnILXfQWX_u6q3fYA.
[iii] Yahya Sarea, Twitter, January 31, 2022, https://twitter.com/army21ye/status/1488065024379822086?s=20&t=AjMknROH0oE-KpAX6x49fw.
[iv] Yahya Sarea, Twitter, January 31, 2022, https://twitter.com/Yahya_Saree/status/1488161606127300609?s=20&t=dsgAF0xyIna0lbBg-APFpw.
[v] UAE MOD|Ministry of Defense, Twitter, January 30, 2022, https://twitter.com/modgovae/status/1487928011089457155?s=20&t=8F45NjnILXfQWX_u6q3fYA.
[vi] Mahmoud Mourad and Alexander Cornwell, “UAE blocks missile strike as Israeli president visits,” Reuters, January 31, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/yemens-houthis-say-disclose-details-new-military-operation-against-uae-tweet-2022-01-30/.
[vii] Somali Dispatch, “Al-Shabaab Scorches Villages in Middle Shabelle Region,” January 30, 2022, https://www.somalidispatch.com/latest-news/al-shabaab-scorches-villages-in-middle-shabelle-region/.
[viii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 28, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 28, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-january-28-2022.
[ix] Associated Press, “At least 10 killed in Kenya when vehicle runs over explosive,” January 31, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/technology-africa-kenya-al-shabab-87c9873d8cc171f42e662cab05cee6e6.
[x] Halbeeg, “Government pledges to strengthen security of Bakara market,” January 30, 2022, https://en.halbeeg.com/2022/01/30/government-pledges-to-strengthen-security-of-bakara-market/.
[xi] Harun Maruf, Twitter, January 27, 2022, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1486688195295203330.