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: UN Special Envoy meets with top Yemeni officials in Riyadh; UN special envoy meets with senior Omani officials and chief Houthi negotiator in Muscat; Possible Houthi fighters detonate IED targeting STC-backed forces in Dhaleh governorate
Somalia: US and Turkish-trained special forces secure areas near recent large-scale al Shabaab attacks in north-central Somalia; al Shabaab attempts to assassinate former district police chief in Mogadishu; al Shabaab carries out two attacks in northeastern Kenya
Yemen Security Brief
UN Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg met with Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi and Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) Deputy Othman al Majali in Riyadh to discuss the peace process on June 4.[i] Grundberg separately met with President Alimi, PLC Deputy and Southern Transitional Council (STC) President Aydarus al Zubaidi, and other Yemeni government officials to discuss ways to improve living conditions and the nationwide ceasefire on the same day.[ii]
Grundberg met with “senior Omani officials” and chief Houthi negotiator Mohammed Abdul Salam in Muscat, Oman, on June 5 to discuss efforts to “advance…ongoing peace efforts.”[iii]
Possible Houthi fighters detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an STC-backed Dhaleh al Hizam Security Forces patrol near Qatabah, Dhaleh governorate, southern Yemen on June 6.[iv] The IED killed one al Hizam fighter. The al Hizam Security Forces commander in Dhaleh blamed unspecified “terrorists” for the attack, but Qatabah is along the frontline between STC-backed forces and Houthi forces.[v]
Somalia Security Brief
US-trained Danab and Turkish-trained Gorgor special forces secured areas near Gal’ad, El Dheere district, Galgudud region, north-central Somalia, on June 6.[vi] Somali officials said the operation was in response to the nearby al Shabaab attack on Masagaway on May 30.[vii]
Al Shabaab attempted to assassinate the former Hodan district police commander by detonating an IED at his house in the Shirkole neighborhood of Hodan district, Mogadishu, the night of June 5.[viii] The explosion killed four bodyguards and injured several others including the police chief. Security forces in the area arrested a suspect near the attack scene.
Al Shabaab ambushed a civilian bus between Olla and Lanfin, Banisa-Mandera Road, Mandera County, northeastern Kenya, on June 3.[ix] The attackers killed two passengers and critically wounded three others before nearby security forces repelled the attack.
Al Shabaab destroyed a telecom tower near Ogaralle, Wajir County, northeastern Kenya, on June 3.[x] The attackers also killed a police officer.
[ii] Office of the Special Envoy in Yemen, Twitter, June 5, 2023, https://twitter.com/OSE_Yemen/status/1665697219821854720?s=20.
[iii] Office of the Special Envoy in Yemen, Twitter, June 5, 2023, https://twitter.com/OSE_Yemen/status/1665697308741181440.
[iv] SMA News, “In a treacherous terrorist operation, a soldier was killed in the Dhaleh al Hizam Forces,” June 6, 2023, https://smanews.org/%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ac%d9%86%d9%88%d8%a8-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d8%b1%d8%a8%d9%8a/338915/.
[v] Brian Carter, “Understanding Military Units in Southern Yemen,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 16, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/understanding-military-units-in-southern-yemen.
[vi] Radio Risaala, “Government forces responded to the al Shabaab attack in Masagaway,” June 6, 2023, https://radiorisaala.com/ciidamada-dowladda-oo-ka-jawaabay-weerarkii-al-shabaab-ee-masagawaay; Somali National TV, @sntvnews1, Twitter, June 6, 2023, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1666088782091923459?s=20
[vii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – May 30, 2023,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 30, 2023, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-may-30-2023.
[viii] Shabelle Media Network, “Four dead, several wounded in bomb blast in Somali capital,” June 6, 2023, https://shabellemedia.com/four-dead-several-wounded-in-bomb-blast-in-somali-capital.
[ix] Halbeeg, “Three people killed in Mandera attacks,” June 5, 2023, https://en.halbeeg.com/2023/06/05/three-people-killed-in-mandera-attacks; Garowe Online, “Al Shabaab targets passenger bus in Kenya,” June 4, 2023, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/world/africa/al-shabaab-targets-passenger-bus-in-kenya.
[x] Halbeeg, “Three people killed in Mandera attacks.”