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: UN envoy to Yemen meets with Houthi officials in Sana’a to discuss framework for ceasefire and Saudi-Houthi peace negotiations; UN envoy to Yemen meets with Yemeni president in Aden to discuss peace negotiations; US special envoy to Yemen meets with Saudi ambassador to Yemen to discuss Saudi role in peace negotiations; Yemeni defense minister meets with Egyptian military commander-in-chief to discuss bilateral military cooperation; AQAP leader urges Yemeni Sunnis to unite in jihad against Houthis

Somalia: Somali forces ambush an al Shabaab convoy transporting weapons and explosives along the Somali coast in north-central Somalia; NISA forces with clear al Shabaab camps with international partner support in southern Somalia; al Shabaab kills police in IED attack in northeastern Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

UN Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg met with Houthi officials in Sana’a, Yemen on May 3 to discuss a new ceasefire agreement and preparations for the next round of negotiations between the Saudis and Houthis. Grundberg met with Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi in Aden on the same day to discuss developments in the peace talks.[i]

US Special Envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking met with the Saudi ambassador to Yemen in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 3 to discuss developments in the peace process and the Saudi role in ceasefire and peace negotiations.[ii]

The Yemeni defense minister met with the Egyptian defense minister in Cairo, Egypt to discuss bilateral military cooperation and issues of mutual security concern on May 2.[iii]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Khalid Batarfi released a video on April 29 in which he urged Sunni Muslims in Yemen to unite in jihad against the Houthis. Batarfi argued in the video that the Saudis and Emiratis are “disengaging militarily” in Yemen and blamed them for leaving Yemenis worse off in Houthi control.[iv]

Somalia Security Brief

Turkish-trained Gorgor special forces and local militia ambushed an al Shabaab convoy near El Qabobe, El Dheere district, Galgudud region, north-central Somalia, on May 2.[v] The Somali National Army (SNA) head said informants alerted the SNA that al Shabaab was unloading explosives and other weapons from a boat along the coast.[vi] Somali officials claimed that the ambush killed at least 67 al Shabaab militants—including foreign fighters—and destroyed at least one vehicle carrying explosives.[vii] Somali forces arrested two al Shabaab militants fleeing the fighting near the Howldey area, between El Dheere and Harardhere.[viii]

Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) forces with unspecified international partner support cleared al Shabaab camps near Nungare, Afgoi district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on May 2.[ix] Somali officials claimed the operation killed more than 40 al Shabaab fighters—including at least 10 foreign fighters.

Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device targeting Kenyan General Service Unit police between Rhamu and Mandera town, Mandera County, northeastern Kenya, on May 2. The attack killed at least one officer and critically wounded two others.[x] Al Shabaab claimed the attack killed four soldiers and wounded eight others.[xi]

[i] Yemen News, “The UN envoy arrives in Aden, after he ended discussions he described as ‘frank and encouraging’ with the Houthis in Sana’a,” May 3, 2023,

[ii] Aden Time, “A meeting brings together Ambassador Al Jaber with the US envoy to Yemen,” May 3, 2023,

[iii] 26 September News, “The Minister of Defense meets the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces,” May 2, 2023,

[iv] SITE Intelligence Group, “AQAP Leader Urges Unity in Face of Houthis, Bemoans KSA and UAE Leaving Yemenis in State Worsened by War,” May 1, 2023,

[v] Guuleed Muuse, “Al Shabaab’s response to the El Qaboobe attack in El Dheer,” Caasimada, May 3, 2023,

[vi] Guuleed Muuse, “General Bihi ‘gave new information’ about an operation in which many al Shabaab were killed,” Caasimada, May 2, 2023, 

[vii] Guuleed Muuse, “An elder who announced that they killed foreigners belonging to al Shabaab and captured some,” Caasimada, May 2, 2023,; Hiraan Online, “General Odawa said that a planned operation killed foreigners belonging to Al-Shabaab,” May 2, 2023,

[viii] Radio Dalsan, “Officials of the Government Army introduced members of al Shabaab,” May 2, 2023,  

[ix] Radio Risaala, “The government said that an operation killed members of al Shabaab who are foreign Somalis,” May 3, 2023,

[x] Halbeeg, “Kenyan security officers attacked in Mandera,” May 3, 2023

[xi] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Claims 12 Casualties in Mandera Bombing, Capturing Strategic Somali Town After Soldiers Allegedly Fled in Fear,” May 2, 2023, available by subscription at

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