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: US Navy 5th Fleet commander and US ambassador meet with Yemeni government officials in Mahra; PLC Deputy and NRF commander meets with Saudi-led coalition officials; AQAP detonates IED targeting STC-backed forces in Abyan; Yemeni Information Minister accused Houthis of instituting forced demographic change near Sana’a

Somalia: Likely al Shabaab militants attack a cafe in southern Somalia; SNA clears an al Shabaab base in north-central Somalia; US-trained special forces and Jubbaland State forces clear al Shabaab in southwestern Somalia; Somali police forces arrest suspected al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet commander and the US ambassador to Yemen met with Yemeni government officials in Mahra governorate, eastern Yemen, on March 2.[i] The two parties discussed establishing a small boat operations course for the Yemeni Coast Guard and increasing maritime cooperation.

Presidential Leadership Council Deputy and National Resistance Forces Commander Tariq Saleh met with the Saudi-led coalition Support and Reinforcement Forces (SRF) commander and the commander of Saudi forces in Aden in Mocha, Taiz governorate, western Yemen, to discuss the war in Yemen on March 3.[ii] The overall Saudi-led coalition commander reportedly organized the meeting.[iii]

Likely al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a likely Southern Transitional Council (STC)-backed 5th Support and Reinforcement Brigade patrol at the mouth of Wadi Omran, Mudiyah district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on March 6.[iv] The AQAP IED killed and wounded five STC-backed soldiers.

The Yemeni information minister accused the Houthis of instituting forced population displacement around Sana’a on March 4.[v] The minister said that the Houthis aim to displace Sana’a residents through “allegations of state lands, endowments, and judicial rulings,” in order to replace them with Saada locals close to the Houthi movement. 

Somalia Security Brief

Likely al Shabaab militants attacked a cafe with a grenade and small arms in Darusalam, Afgoi district, Mogadishu outskirts, on March 4.[vi] The attack killed five civilians and wounded three others.[vii]

The Somali National Army cleared an al Shabaab base near Amara town, Hobyo district, Mudug region, north-central Somalia, on March 4.[viii]

US-trained Danab special forces and Jubbaland State forces cleared al Shabaab from Turdho village, Jamaame district, Lower Jubba region, southwestern Somalia, on March 3.[ix] The operation killed 13 al Shabaab militants, including a regional commander.[x]

[i] US Naval Forces Central Command, “US Leaders Deepen Maritime Cooperation During Yemen Visit,” March 2, 2023,

[ii] Tariq Mohammed Saleh, Twitter, March 3, 2023, 

[iii] Al Mashhad al Yemen, “’SPA’ publishes, in a video, details of a meeting between senior Saudi military leaders, Brig. Gen. Tariq Saleh,” March 4, 2023,

[iv] Mahra Post, “Abyan.. An Officer Was Killed and Four Soldiers Were Wounded When an Explosive Device Exploded in Mudiyah,” March 6, 2023,   

[v] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “Unprecedented Houthi Movements to Change the Demographics in the Districts of the Sana’a Belt, and the Legitimacy Condemns and Denounces,” March 4, 2023,   

[vi] Shabelle Media Network, “Five killed, 3 hurt in a shooting at Mogadishu café,” March 5, 2023,

[vii] Shabelle Media Network, “Five killed, 3 hurt in a shooting at Mogadishu café”

[viii] Shabelle Media Network, “Somali army attacks Al-Shabaab base in Galmudug State,” March 4, 2023,

[ix] Garowe Online, “ Special Forces Kill Senior Al-Shabaab Commander In Somalia,” March 5, 2023,

[x] Caasimada, “Danab forces eliminate top Al-Shabab commander,” March 5, 2023,

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