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.

The Gulf of Aden Security Review will begin publishing twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays beginning Tuesday, May 30

Yemen: Hadrami leaders conclude two-day conference in Riyadh; PLC member meets with US ambassador to Yemen

Somalia: Al Shabaab complex suicide attack overruns Ugandan African Union base in southern Somalia; Somali police forces claim to disrupt al Shabaab suicide attack in central Somalia; Somali security forces seize al Shabaab weapons and explosives in Mogadishu  

Yemen Security Brief

Political and tribal leaders from Hadramout governorate concluded a two-day conference held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 25.[i] Hadrami leaders had been discussing efforts to have an independent Hadrami delegation involved in negotiations with the Houthis in recent weeks due to fears the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council is dominating southern Yemeni politics and attempting to diminish Hadrami rights of self-determination.[ii]

Presidential Leadership Council member Maj. Gen. Sultan al Arada met with US Ambassador to Yemen Stephen Fagin on May 25.[iii] The two discussed bilateral relations and measures to enhance US-Yemeni humanitarian and security cooperation.

Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab overran the Ugandan African Union base in Bulo Mareer, Marka district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on May 26. Al Shabaab used four to six suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) to breach the base’s perimeter.[iv] Al Shabaab claimed to kill 137 Ugandan soldiers and released pictures showing captured soldiers and equipment.[v] The African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) acknowledged the attack but did not disclose any casualty counts.[vi] Somali National Army troops and ATMIS air units attacked the retreating al Shabaab attackers after they left the town and claimed to kill at least 30 militants and destroy military vehicles and heavy weaponry that al Shabaab had stolen in the Kurtunwarey district.[vii]

Somali police forces claimed to intercept an al Shabaab suicide bomber moments before an attack in Beledweyne, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on May 25.[viii] Security forces stopped the alleged bomber, causing the bomber to drop their explosives and flee.

Somali security forces seized weapons and explosive material from a truck and warehouse near Bakaro Market, Howl Wadag district, Mogadishu, on May 25.[ix] Security forces published pictures of ammo, rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, and improvised explosive devices.

[i] Mahra Post, “Hadrami components conclude their internal consultations in Riyadh,” May 25, 2023,

[ii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – May 19, 2023,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 19, 2023,; Mahra Post, “After the transitional escalation, political forces from Hadramout are holding talks in Riyadh,” May 25, 2023,

[iii] Mareb Press, “The American administration informs the member of the Presidency Council, Major General Sultan al Arada, of its position on Yemeni unity,” May 25, 2023,; Al Thawra, “Al Arada discusses with the US ambassador ways to strengthen partnership and coordination and developments,” May 25, 2023,

[iv] Harun Maruf, “Al-Shabab Storms AU Peacekeeper Base in Southern Somalia,” Voice of America, May 26, 2023,

[v] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Overruns ATMIS Base in Lower Shabelle, Claims 137 Ugandan Troops Killed and Others Taken Prisoner,” May 26, 2023, available by subscription at

[vi] African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia, “Statement on Buulo Mareer FOB attack by Al-Shabaab,” May 26, 2023,

[vii] Somali National TV, @sntvnews1, Twitter, May 26, 2023,; African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia, “Statement on Buulo Mareer FOB attack by Al-Shabaab”

[viii] Garowe Online, “Somali forces foil major al Shabaab attack,” May 25, 2023,

[ix] Somali National TV, @sntvnews1, Twitter, May 26, 2023,

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