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: Suspected Houthi fighters attempt to seize sailboat near Hudaydah; STC and tribal forces refuse government military unit access to district in southern Yemen

Somalia: Gorgor secures villages in central Somalia; al Shabaab attempts to assassinate prominent Somali politician in Mogadishu; report reveals US-trained forces accidentally killed 22 civilians during infighting in northern Somalia in December 2021

Yemen Security Brief:

Suspected Houthi fighters may have attempted to seize a Hong Kong-flagged racing sailboat off the coast of Hudaydah, western Yemen, on May 19.[i] The fighters were likely not acting under orders from the Houthi movement. Key Houthi leader Muhammad Ali al Houthi denied responsibility for the attack on the sailboat.[ii]

Tribal forces and the Southern Transitional Council (STC)-aligned 111th Brigade refused to allow the Yemeni units under the Abyan Axis to enter Ahwar district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen.[iii]

Somalia Security Brief:

Turkish-trained Gorgor special forces secured villages in Beledweyne district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on May 19.[iv] Gorgor destroyed al Shabaab courts and bases in villages located between Beledweyne and Mataban. Al Shabaab left the villages before the security forces entered.

Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device attempting to assassinate Somali politician Abdullahi Sheikh Hassan in Wadajir district, Mogadishu, on May 20.[v] Hassan survived the explosion and a local hospital is treating him.[vi] Al Shabaab militants targeted Hassan as he was leaving a mosque after Friday prayers.

Vice World News reported that the US-trained Puntland Security Forces (PSF) accidentally killed 22 civilians using US-supplied mortars during infighting in Bossaso, Bari region, northern Somalia, in December 2021.[vii] The Vice report said the mortars were for training, but that the PSF deployed them “wildly” and inaccurately. The Puntland president sparked the infighting when he attempted to dismiss the PSF commander and integrate the PSF as part of the regular state forces.[viii] Navy Seals mentor and train the US-created paramilitary force to target Islamic State and al Shabaab militants operating in the mountains of northern Somalia.

[i] Jon Gambrell and Isabel Debre, “Famed racing sailboat attacked by gunmen off war-torn Yemen,” Associated Press, May 20, 2022,

[ii] Muhammad Ali al Houthi, Twitter, May 19, 2022,

[iii] SMA News, “The military leadership of the Southern Resistance in Ahwar refused to keep Zamki militias in the district,” May 19, 2022,; and 26Sep ROYG, “A joint security force from the Abyan axis carries out a field descent to Ahwar with the aim of securing the directorate and the international line,” May 18, 2022,

[iv] Radio Risaala, “Gorgor forces seize territory from al Shabaab,” May 19, 2022,

[v] SNTV News, Twitter, May 20, 2022,

[vi] Ali Muhiyaddiin, ‘Prominent Somali politician killed in Mogadishu blast,” Caasimada, May 20, 2022,

[vii] Amanda Sperber, “Revealed: CIA-Trained Militia Used US-Made Weapons in Deadly Attack,” Vice Global News, May 20, 2022,

[viii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 3, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 3, 2021,

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