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: Southern Yemeni security forces dismantle AQAP IED; Houthi cyber group is targeting NGOs in Yemen; envoy for Houthi leader meets with Iranian-backed Iraqi militia leader in Iraq; UN special envoy gives status report on truce

Somalia: Likely al Shabaab car bomb detonates outside of Mogadishu Mall but causes no casualties

Yemen Security Brief

On May 17, Shabwani Defense Forces and Support and Reinforcement Brigades units dismantled an improvised explosive device planted by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula near the al Taqwa Mosque in the Usaylan district center, Shabwah governorate, southern Yemen.[i]

US-based intelligence group Recorded Future reported that a pro-Houthi cyber group is attempting to target non-governmental organizations in Yemen.[ii] The cyber group is targeting media, international humanitarian, and development organizations by using Yemen’s Public Telecommunication Corporation, which is under Houthi control. 

An envoy for Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi and other Houthi representatives met with Iranian-backed Iraqi militia Kataib Sayyid al Shuhada’s secretary general in Iraq on May 17 to discuss the region and Iran’s Axis of Resistance.[iii]

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said there is a “clear determination on all sides to make progress towards a [permanent ceasefire]” in a statement at the UN on May 17.[iv] Grundberg reiterated his calls for an “inclusive and comprehensive political process” in Yemen.

Somalia Security Brief

Likely al Shabaab militants detonated a car bomb outside of Mogadishu Mall, Hamar Wayne district, Mogadishu.[v] Somali police arrested one suspect and said the explosion caused no casualties.[vi]

[i] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “Dismantling an explosive device planted near a mosque in Shabwah, and security forces deployed on the crossing line,” May 17, 2023,

[ii] Insikt Group, “OilAlpha: A Likely Pro-Houthi Group Targeting Entities Across the Arabian Peninsula,” Recorded Future, May 16, 2023,

[iii] Abu Alaa al Wala’I, Telegram, May 17, 2023,

[iv] United Nations, “UN Envoy Reports on Progress towards Yemen Peace Agreement,” May 17, 2023,

[v] Dalsan TV, @DalsanTv, Twitter, May 17, 2023,

[vi] Somali Police Force, Facebook, May 17, 2023,

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