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 denies responsibility for January 3 IED attack; AQAP detonates IED targeting STC-backed forces in Abyan; Saudi news outlet reports Houthis seized $3.3 billion of commercial bank assets
Somalia: Al Shabaab conducts a second suicide attack in three days in a complex suicide raid targeting a recently liberated village in south-central Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) denied responsibility on January 4 for the January 3 improvised explosive device (IED) attack targeting a tribal sheikh in Mudiyah district, Abyan governorate.[i]
Likely AQAP fighters detonated an IED targeting Southern Transitional Council (STC)-backed forces in Wadi Omran, Mudiyah district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, on January 6.[ii]
Saudi news outlet al Sharq al Awsat reported that the Houthis seized $3.3 billion of commercial bank assets in government debts “a few days before” January 6.[iii]
Somalia Security Brief:
Al Shabaab conducted a complex suicide raid targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) and local militia camp in Hilowle Gaab, El Dheere district, Galgadud region, south-central Somalia, on January 6.[iv] Al Shabaab used multiple suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) to begin the attack. Clan militia officials said the attack killed at least six anti-al Shabaab fighters, including some SNA officers.[v] Al Shabaab claimed the attack killed at least 31 soldiers and released photos of dead bodies.[vi] Al Shabaab also claimed to briefly capture the area and loot the base, but local officials and residents said defending forces repelled the attack.[vii] Anti-al Shabaab forces first entered Hilowle Gaab on December 29.[viii] This is the first significant al Shabaab counterattack and the first suicide raid in central Somalia since November 2022.[ix] Al Shabaab also used two isolated SVBIEDs in an attack nearly 75 miles north of Hilowle Gaab, near the Galgadud-Hiraan regional border on January 4.[x]
[i] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, January 4, 2022, https://twitter.com/Dr_E_Kendall/status/1610676536692154368?s=20&t=XILGEYVIm6Vj2E2AIm1buQ.
[iii] Mohammed Nasir, “The Houthis are preparing to seize bank funds in their areas of control,” al Sharq al Awsat, January 6, 2023, https://aawsat.com/home/article/4082656/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%AB%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%87%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%8A%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%A3%D9%85%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%81-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%82-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%B7%D8%B1%D8%AA%D9%87%D9%85.
[iv] Reuters, “Somalia militants kill six in raid on village they recently lost,” January 6, 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/somalia-militants-kill-six-raid-village-they-recently-lost-2023-01-06/.
[v] Guuleed Muuse, “The names of the officers who died in the Hilowle-Gaab attack and the latest news,” Caasimada, January 6, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/magacyada-saraakiisha-ku-dhintay-weerarkii-hilowle-gaab-iyo-wararkii-ugu-dambeeyey/; Reuters, “Somalia militants kill six in raid on village they recently lost.”
[vi] Radio al Furqaan, “Photos: Al Shabaab claims to have killed 31 soldiers in the Hilowle Gaab war,” January 6, 2023, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2023/01/sawirro-al-shabaab-oo-sheegay-in-31-askari-ay-df-kaga-dileen-dagaalkii-hilowle-gaab/.
[vii] Radio al Furqaan, “Al Shabaab engaged in a battle with the DF army base in Hilowle Gaab,” January 6, 2023, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2023/01/al-shabaab-oo-dagaal-kula-wareegay-saldhiggii-ciidanka-df-ee-hilowle-gaab/.
[viii] Garowe Online, @GaroweOnline, Twitter, December 29, 2022, https://twitter.com/GaroweOnline/status/1608452928133791745?s=20&t=zHzAKsxNOIv6EhojxBH94w.
[ix] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 7, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 7, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-7-2022-6369664d0dfb0.
[x] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 4, 2023,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 4, 2023, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-january-4-2023.