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: New Houthi-ROYG negotiations on prisoner exchange to begin on March 10; Key Saudi officials meet with Yemeni president and four deputies; Houthi transportation minister accuses Saudi-led coalition of preventing flights from Sana’a to destinations other than Amman, Jordan; Yemeni government creates new committee to negotiate with Houthis

Al Shabaab attacks a military base in southwestern Somalia; Ethiopia sends additional troops into southwestern Somalia for offensive operations


Yemen Security Brief

An informed source told a Yemeni journalist on March 7 that negotiations between the Yemeni government and the Houthis will begin on March 10 in Geneva, Switzerland.[i] The negotiations will focus on prisoner exchanges.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi and Presidential Leadership Council Deputies Faraj al Bahsani, Othman al Mujaili, Sultan al Aradah, and Abdullah al Alimi on March 7 to discuss a Yemeni “political solution under the [United Nations’] auspices.”[ii] The Saudi General Intelligence chief and ambassador to Yemen also attended the meeting.

The Houthi transportation minister accused the Saudi-led coalition of “procrastinating” and refusing to allow flights from Sana’a to India and Cairo on March 8.[iii] The Houthi director general of Sana’a Airport similarly falsely claimed that Sana’a Airport is “still under siege.” Sana’a Airport has been open for flights to and from Amman, Jordan as agreed to by the Houthis under the April 2022 ceasefire since May 2022.[iv]

The Yemeni government created a new committee to negotiation with the Houthis on March 8.[v] The new committee will “recognize” the southern issue in accordance with the Riyadh Agreement.

 Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab attacked a military base targeting US-trained Danab special forces and Somali National Army soldiers in Janay Abdalle district, Lower Jubba region, southwestern Somalia, on March 7.[vi] Al Shabaab claimed to kill 89 soldiers, destroy 20 vehicles, and capture large quantities of weapons and military equipment.[vii] Jubbaland officials reported the attack killed five soldiers and injured ten others.[viii]

Ethiopia deployed 1,000 troops independent of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forces to participate in offensive operations in Jubbaland region, southwestern Somalia, on March 8.[ix] The Somali national security advisor announced on March 2 that additional non-ATMIS troops would arrive from Kenya and Djibouti within eight weeks.[x] This joint operation is the second phase of the Somali government’s counterterrorism offensive.[xi]

[i] Fares al Hemyari, Twitter, March 7, 2023,

[ii] Saudi Press Agency, Twitter, March 7, 2023,; Saudi Press Agency, “His Highness the Crown Prince Meets With The President of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council and They Review Developments in the Yemeni Arena,” March 8, 2023,; Ali al Sakani, Twitter, March 7, 2023,; Ali al Sakani, Twitter, March 7, 2023,  

[iii] Ansarollah, “Minister of Transport: Aggression is Delaying Flights to Cairo and India,” March 8, 2023,

[iv] United Nations, “Return of Commercial Flights from Yemeni Capital After 6 Years, An ‘Important’ Step,” May 16, 2022,

[v] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “Urgent: Formation of a Delegation to Negotiate with the Houthi Militia Under the Supervision of the Presidential Leadership Council,” March 8, 2023,

[vi] Reuters, “Somalia’s al Shabaab recaptures base it lost to military offensive,” March 7, 2023,­_; Shabelle Media Network, “The latest news about the attack on Janay Abdelle Khasara,” March 7, 2023,

[vii] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Claims 89 Killed in Major Offensive on Base of U.S- and UAE-Trained and Backed Forces Outside Kismayo,” March 7, 2023, Available by Subscription at ; Radio al Furqaan, “‘I killed 89 soldiers in the attack this morning.’ (Abu Musab),” March 7, 2023,

[viii] Harun Maruf, @HarunMaruf, Twitter, March 7, 2023,

[ix] Hussein Mohamed, @HussienM12, Twitter, March 8, 2023,

[x] Garowe Online, “Ethiopia sends non-ATMIS troops to Somalia in fight against Al-Shabaab,” March 8, 2023,; Harun Maruf, “Somalia's Neighbors to Send Additional Troops to Fight Al-Shabab,” Voice of America, March 2, 2023,

[xi] Harun Maruf, “Somalia’s Neighbors to Send Additional Troops to Fight Al-Shabaab.”

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