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 claims responsibility for three IED attacks targeting STC forces; Houthi officials go to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj; Anti-STC Hadrami leaders form new Hadrami council
Somalia: SNA and international partner joint drone strike kills dozens of al Shabaab militants preparing to attack a nearby base in southern Somalia; al Shabaab briefly seizes village in central Somalia; al Shabaab kidnaps dozens of civilians in recently-liberated central Somalia; numerous businesses close due to IS–S extortion in northern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for three improvised explosive device attacks targeting UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces in al Baqira, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, on June 17.[i] AQAP claimed “a number” of casualties amongst STC forces.
Houthi officials including Maj. Gen. Yahya al Razami arrived in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj on June 20.[ii] The officials arrived on a flight from Sana’a airport carrying 180 other pilgrims.
Anti-STC Hadrami political and tribal leaders formed the National Hadrami Council on June 20 after a series of meetings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.[iii]
Somalia Security Brief
The Somali National Army (SNA) conducted a joint drone strike with unspecified international partner support targeting an al Shabaab gathering near Jamame, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia, on June 16.[iv] Somali officials said the strike killed at least 43 militants, including a commander and his deputy.[v] The militants were reportedly planning an attack on a nearby base.[vi]
Al Shabaab briefly seized Qalimow village in Bal’ad district, Middle Shabelle region, central Somalia, on June 17.[vii] Al Shabaab claimed Somali forces fled the area shortly after it attacked. Locals said al Shabaab vacated the village after two hours.
Al Shabaab abducted 30 clan elders and children in Daru Na’im, El Dheere district, Galgudud region, north-central Somalia, on June 18.[viii] Some local sources claimed that local militia retaliated by arresting family members of known al Shabaab militants in retaliation.[ix]
IS–Somalia has reportedly shut down numerous local businesses due to extortion threats in Bossaso, Bari region, northern Somalia, as of June 18.[x] Locals claimed to receive threatening phone calls and said a string of attacks on local businesses since April are connected to Islamic State militants. A local hospital reportedly closed for a week before paying an extortion fee to the group.
[i] SITE Intelligence Group, “AQAP Claims 3 Vehicle Bombings Targeting UAE-Backed Forces in Abyan,” June 19, 2023, Available by subscription at: ent.siteintelgroup.com.
[iii] Ali al Sakani, Twitter, June 20, 2023, https://twitter.com/Alsakaniali/status/1671241287155023873.
[iv] Goobjoog, “43 Al-Shabaab militants reportedly killed in Friday airstrike,” June 19, 2023, https://goobjoog.com/english/43-al-shabaab-militants-reportedly-killed-in-friday-airstrike.
[v] Abdiqani Abdullahi, “Somali National Forces Deal a Severe Blow to Extremist Group’s Leadership in DaringOoperation,” June 19, 2023, https://sonna.so/en/somali-national-forces-deal-a-severe-blow-to-extremist-groups-leadership-in-daring-operation.
[vi] Abdiqani Abdullahi, “Somali National Forces Deal a Severe Blow to Extremist Group’s Leadership in Daring Operation.”
[vii] Somali Digest, “Al-Shabab Briefly Seizes Control Over Qalimow in Middle Shabelle Region,” June 18, 2023, https://thesomalidigest.com/al-shabab-briefly-seizes-control-over-qalimow-in-middle-shabelle-region.
[viii] VOA Somali, “Al-Shabaab kidnapped 30 civilians from Ruun-Nirgood area,” June 18, 2023, https://www.voasomali.com/a/al-shabab-oo-30-qof-oo-shacab-ah-ka-afduubtay-deegaanka-ruun-nirgood-/7142206.html; Garowe Online, “Al Shabaab kidnaps 30 people in Somalia,” June 19, 2023, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/al-shabaab-kidnaps-30-people-in-somalia.
[ix] Somali Digest, “Unprecedented Wave of Kidnappings Strike Ruun-Nirigood, Sparking Fear and Outrage,” June 19, 2023, https://thesomalidigest.com/unprecedented-wave-of-kidnappings-strike-ruun-nirigood-sparking-fear-and-outrage.
[x] Garowe Online, “ISIS Extortion Threats Force Business Closures in Bosaso, Somalia,” June 18, 2023, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/puntland/isis-extortion-threats-force-business-closures-in-bosaso-somalia.