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: STC hosts meeting of southern Yemeni political factions to discuss peace efforts; several southern political groups boycott STC meeting; likely AQAP IED attack targets STC military ambulance; AQAP claims mortar attack on STC-backed military position in Abyan

Somalia: Al Shabaab publicly executes alleged spies working with Somali and American governments in southern Somalia; SNA and local forces secure villages in north-central Somalia; SNA and local forces clear al Shabaab bases in central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

The Southern Transitional Council (STC) hosted a meeting with southern Yemeni political factions in Aden, Yemen to discuss ongoing peace efforts and southern political unity on May 4.[i] STC President Aydarus al Zubaidi delivered a speech in which he stressed southern support for Saudi, Emirati, and international peace efforts. Zubaidi also emphasized the necessity of a unified vision regarding the creation of an independent southern negotiating team to participate in ongoing Yemeni peace efforts.

Several southern political groups in Hadramawt and Shabwah governorates boycotted the STC’s consultative meeting held in Aden, Yemen on May 4.[ii] The al Mahrah sit-in committee, the Hadramawt Tribes Reference, the Hadramawt Inclusive Conference, and the Southern National Coalition announced the boycott, saying the STC’s efforts did not represent the south.

Likely al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated an improvised explosive device targeting an STC-backed military ambulance in al Mudiyah, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on May 5.[iii] Southern Yemeni media outlet Aden Lang reported that the attack killed the driver and wounded three other soldiers.

AQAP shelled an STC-backed military compound in al Mahfad district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen with mortars on May 4.[iv] AQAP reported that the STC-backed soldiers “escaped” and did not report any casualties.

Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab executed five alleged spies in the group in a public square in Jilib district, Middle Juba region, southern Somalia, on May 5.[v] Al Shabaab claimed the men worked with the Somali and American governments.[vi]

The Somali National Army (SNA) and local forces secured villages west of Harardhere town, Harardhere district, Mudug region, north-central Somalia, on May 4.[vii]

The SNA and local forces cleared al Shabaab bases in Mohamed Hassan area, Beledweyne district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on May 5.[viii] Somali government-affiliated media claimed the SNA killed 20 al Shabaab militants.[ix]

[i] SMA News, “President Al-Zubaidi delivers an important speech at the opening of the activities of the consultative meeting of the southern political components (text of the speech),” May 4, 2023,

[ii] Al Mahra Post, “The start of the transitional dialogue in Aden, amid a boycott, and the rejection of prominent southern and Hadrami components,” May 4, 2023,; Al Mahriah TV, @AlMahriahTV, Twitter, May 4, 2023,; Al Mahriah TV, @AlMahriahTV, Twitter, May 4, 2023,

[iii] Aden Lang, “One dead and 3 injured when an explosive device exploded targeting an ambulance in “Mudiya,” Tyre,” May 5, 2023,

[iv] SITE Intelligence Group, “AQAP Claims Mortar Attack on Position of UAE-Backed Forces in Abyan,” May 4, 2023,

[v] Hiran Online, @Hiiraan, Twitter, May, 5, 2023,

[vi] Guuleed Muuse, “Al-Shabaab shot five people ‘whom they called spies’ + Names,” May 5, 2023, Caasimada,

[vii] Mohamed Osman, “Somali National Army takes control of new areas west of Harardhere town,” May 4, 2023, Somali National News Agency,; Mohamed Hassan, “The army forces have taken over areas in the western district of Harardhere,” May 4, 2023, Radio Mogadishu,

[viii] Radio Daslan, “Fighting between the government forces and Al-Shabaab in Hiran,” May 5, 2023,; Hiiraan Online, “Intense fighting erupts between Somali government forces and al-Shabaab on outskirts of Beledweyne,” May 5, 2023,

[ix] Mohamed Osman, “Update: Somali, Macawisley forces kill 20 militants south of Beledweyne town,” May 5, 2023, Somali National News Agency,

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