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 IED attack on STC-backed military vehicle; Houthi and ROYG officials commit to joint visits of each other’s detention facilities; Yemeni President receives ambassadors from the EU and the Netherlands; Yemeni President receives Chinese diplomat; US Ambassador to Yemen meets with Yemeni Prime Minister

Somalia: Al Shabaab launches a complex SVBIED attack targeting a local militia base in south-central Somalia; US-trained special forces clear al Shabaab from southwestern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed a March 10 improvised explosive device (IED) attack on a military vehicle belonging to Southern Transitional Council (STC)–backed forces in the al Mahfad region, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on March 18. AQAP claimed the attack wounded multiple STC-backed fighters. The STC did not report casualties.[i]

Houthi and Yemeni government (ROYG) officials committed to “undertake joint visits of each other's detention facilities” as part of the recent prisoner exchange deal, according to a March 20 joint statement by the office of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen and the International Committee of the Red Cross.[ii] A Yemeni news site reported that the visits will take place in Houthi-controlled Sana’a and ROYG-controlled Ma’rib governorates.[iii]

Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi met with the EU and Dutch ambassadors to Yemen in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 21.[iv] The meeting covered the renewed international efforts to extend the UN-mediated truce.

Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi met the Chargé D’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Yemen on March 21 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to discuss the Chinese role in the peace process in Yemen.[v]

US Ambassador to Yemen Steven Fagin met with Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik to discuss the UN-mediated peace process in Aden, Yemen on March 21.[vi]

Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab launched a complex suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack targeting a local fighter base in Daru Na’im village, Adan Yabal district, Middle Shabelle region, south-central Somalia, on March 21.[vii] Al Shabaab claimed they killed 28 local fighters and seized military vehicles and weapons.[viii] The Somali Federal Government claimed that Somali National Army soldiers and local fighters repelled the attack and killed 30 al Shabaab fighters.[ix]

US-trained Danab special forces cleared al Shabaab from several villages in western Kismayo district, Lower Jubba region, southwestern Somalia, on March 22.[x] The operation killed five al Shabaab members and arrested another.[xi]

[i] SITE Intelligence Group, “AQAP Claims Bombing Vehicle of UAE-Backed Forces in Abyan,” March 21, 2023, available at:

[ii] Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, “The Parties Agree on a Plan to Release Hundreds of Conflict-Related Detainees,” March 22, 2023,

[iii] Mareb Press, “An Agreement is the first between the two parties: A delegation from the legitimacy to Sanaa and another representing the Houthis will visit Marib,” March 21, 2023,

[iv] Yemen National Military Web: September 26 Newspaper, “President al-Alimi receives Ambassadors of European Union, the Netherlands,” March 21, 2023,

[v] Yemen National Military Web: September 26 Newspaper, “Chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council Receives the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China,” March 21, 2023,

[vi] US Embassy in Yemen, “Ambassador Steven Fagin’s Statement to the Press at the Conclusion of his Visit to Aden,” March 21, 2023,

[vii] Caasimada, “DF details the Al-Shabaab attack in Daru Nimca,” March 21, 2023,

[viii] Radio al Furqaan, “Details: The Damage Caused By This Morning’s Attack In Daru-Nicma Has Increased,” March 21, 2023,

[ix] Somali National News Agency, “Army Official: Over 30 Al-Shabaab terrorist militants killed in military operation”, March 21, 2023,; Somali National Television, @sntvnews1, Twitter, March 21, 2023,

[x] Somali National News Agency, “ Somali Army kills five Al-Shabaab militants, arrests one during operation,” March 22, 2023, ; Somali National Television, @sntvnews1, Twitter, March 22, 2023,

[xi] Radio Mogadishu, “The army killed a number of Khawarij in Lower Jubba,” March 22, 2023,

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