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 secretary of state meets with Yemeni foreign minister; high-level Saudi delegation meets with US national security advisor; UN special envoy to Yemen provides an update on UN-brokered truce in Yemen

Somalia: Security forces recapture base in southern Somalia overran by al Shabaab in early May; SNA claims to destroy a courthouse and bases in al Shabaab-controlled southwestern Somalia; Kenyan police arrest al Shabaab members in northeastern Kenya; al Shabaab mortars state forces’ base in northern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief:

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak in Washington, DC to discuss Yemen’s UN-brokered truce on May 17.[i] Blinken emphasized the importance of reopening roads around Taiz, southwestern Yemen, a key condition of the truce. Bin Mubarak accused the Houthis of blocking the reopening of roads in Taiz.[ii]

A high-level Saudi delegation including the Saudi deputy defense minister and Saudi ambassador to Yemen met with the US national security advisor in Washington, DC on May 18.[iii] The two parties discussed Yemen’s truce, global economic resilience, and the US-Saudi partnership. Saudi state media did not mention a discussion of global economic resilience.[iv] US-Saudi relations have been strained as oil prices rise during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.[v] 

The UN special envoy to Yemen provided an update on the UN-brokered truce in Yemen.[vi] He confirmed the Yemeni government allowed 11 of 18 fuel ships required under the truce to enter Hudaydah’s port. The envoy said the Yemeni government also appointed a delegation to attend talks with the Houthis in Amman, Jordan to discuss reopening roads in Taiz. The Houthis have not appointed a delegation.

Somalia Security Brief:

Somali National Army (SNA) and Burundian African Union Transition Mission in Somalia forces recaptured their base in El Baraf, Jowhar district, Middle Shabelle, southern Somalia, on May 17.[vii] Security forces mortared the base before using helicopters to airlift troops into the base.[viii] Al Shabaab militants overran the base on May 3 and killed dozens of Burundian soldiers.[ix]

SNA forces claimed to destroy an al Shabaab courthouse and several bases in southern Bay region, southwestern Somalia, on May 18.[x] SNA commanders said troops destroyed a courthouse and several bases near Moodo-Moodo, Baidoa district; Bula Fulay, Burhakaba district; and Rama Addey, Dinsoor district. Al Shabaab has controlled areas of Bula Fulay district for years and published photos of Eid al Fitr celebrations in Bula Fulay district on May 6.[xi]

Kenyan police arrested at least six al Shabaab militants in Mandera town, Mandera County, northeastern Kenya, on May 17. The police acted on a tip from the public.[xii]

Al Shabaab mortared a Puntland State forces base in Galgala, Bossaso district, Bari region, northern Somalia, on May 17.[xiii] Al Shabaab claims the attack wounded eight soldiers, though independent media initially reported one injured soldier.[xiv]

[i] US Department of State, “Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Yemen Foreign Minister Bin Mubarak,” May 17, 2022,

[ii] Al Masdar Online, “Foreign Minister during his meeting with his American counterpart: The Houthi militia is procrastinating in implementing its commitments related to lifting the siege on the city of Taiz,” May 18, 2022,

[iii] The White House, “ Readout from NSC Spokesperson Adrienne Watson on National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s Meeting with Saudi Vice Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman,” May 17, 2022,

[iv] Saudi Press Agency, “By order of the Crown Prince … Deputy Defense Minister arrived in Washington on an official visit and met with US National Security Advisor,” May 18, 2022,

[v] Martin Chulov, “Biden rebuffed as US relations with Saudi Arabia and UAE hit new low,” The Guardian, April 3, 2022,

[vi] UN Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, “Special Envoy’s Remarks to the Press Following Closed Consultations with the Security Council,” May 17, 2022,

[vii] SONNA, “Somali, AU forces recapture El-Baraf base in Middle Shabelle region,” May 17, 2022,

[viii] Istar Abdi Yusuf, “Burundian forces retake El-Baraf,” Caasimada, May 17, 2022,

[ix] Christopher Muth and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – May 4, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 4, 2022,

[x] Radio Risaala, “Government forces seize areas in Bay region,” May 18, 2022,

[xi] Calamada, “Pictures of celebration in Bulo Fulay,” May 6, 2022,

[xii] Halbeeg, “Kenya arrests six al Shabaab suspects in Mandera,” May 18, 2022,

[xiii] Puntland Post, “Al-Shabaab launches mortar attack on Puntland military base in Galgala,” May 17, 2022,

[xiv] Radio al Furqan, “Soldiers Killed in Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle,” May 17, 2022,

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