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: International media identify AQAP leader killed in likely US drone strike; STC leaders jointly recommend independent negotiating team for southern Yemen; PLC Chairman meets with UAE Ambassador to Yemen

Somalia: Turkish drone strike kills al Shabaab commanders in central Somalia; al Shabaab kills several alleged kingpins in anti-drug operations in Mogadishu; US puts a $5 million bounty on al Shabaab spokesperson

Yemen Security Brief:

International and jihadist media identified high-ranking al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Hamad bin Hamoud al Uthman al Tamimi as the target killed in a likely US drone strike on February 26 in Marib governorate, Yemen.[i] Al Tamimi served as an AQAP “judge” and leader of the group’s Shura Council.[ii]

The Presidium of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) recommended that STC President Ayadrus al Zubaidi form an independent negotiating team to secure southern independence following meetings in Aden, Yemen, on February 28.[iii] The STC also condemned the procrastination on the question of southern independence.

The Yemeni president met with the UAE ambassador to Yemen to discuss the Yemeni security landscape and prospects for reviving the UN-brokered truce in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 1.[iv]  

Somalia Security Brief:

A likely Turkish drone strike supported by the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency targeted al Shabaab militants near Burweyn, Bulo Burde district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on February 28.[v] Somali officials claimed the strike hit a vehicle and killed ten militants, including three regional leaders.

Al Shabaab killed several more alleged drug smugglers as part of its anti-drug operations in Mogadishu on February 28. Al Shabaab claimed to detonate two improvised explosive devices targeting drug warehouses and assassinate at least seven other alleged dealers in two separate operations.[vi] Al Shabaab has claimed to close dozens of drug fronts since beginning anti-drug operations in Mogadishu on February 26.[vii]

The US State Department put a $5 million bounty on al Shabaab spokesperson Ali Mohamed Rage, who goes by the name Ali Dheere, on February 28.[viii]

[i] SITE Intelligence Group, “Prominent AQAP Figure Identified as Target of U.S. Airstrike in Marib,” February 28, 2023,

[ii] Barron’s, “Top Al Qaeda Figure Killed in Yemen Airstrike: Sources,” March 1, 2023,

[iii] STC Aden, “STC’s Presidium Recommends Forming Negotiating Team Representing Cause of the South,” February 28, 2023,

[iv] Saba News Agency (ROYG), “Leadership Council chairman receives Emirati ambassador,” March 1, 2023,

[v] Radio Mogadishu, “Somali intelligence and international friends killed Kharwaij leaders in an operation in Hiraan region,” February 28, 2023,

[vi] Somalimemo, “Operations that killed 7 in attacks in Mogadishu and other news,” February 28, 2023,   

[vii] Radio al Furqaan, “Al Shabaab destroyed a drug camp in Mogadishu this morning,” February 28, 2023,; Peter Denham and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – February 27, 2023,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 27, 2023,

[viii] Office of the Spokesperson, “Rewards for Justice – Reward Offer for Information on Ali Mohamed Rage,” US State Department, February 28, 2023,

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