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: Houthi officials promise peace while threatening war; AQAP detonates an IED targeting STC-backed forces in Abyan; STC president appoints two PLC deputies and a key southern political figure as his new STC deputies
Somalia: Somali intelligence forces thwart complex al Shabaab suicide attack in Mogadishu; Somali forces arrest al Shabaab extortion officials in north-central Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
Houthi Intelligence Chief and key powerbroker Maj. Gen. Abu Ali al Hakim met the UN Special Envoy’s military advisor to discuss Yemen’s truce on May 7.[i] Hakim said the Houthis were prepared for peace, but that the movement is also “ready for the worst possibilities.” The Houthi deputy chief of the general staff reiterated this position and accused the United States of obstructing the truce in a separate statement on May 7.[ii]
Likely al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Southern Transitional Council (STC)-backed forces in Mudiyah district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on May 6.[iii] AQAP wounded four STC fighters in the attack.
STC President and Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) Deputy Aydarus al Zubaidi named PLC Deputies Faraj al Bahsani and Abdulrahman al Mahrami and STC National Assembly Chairman Ahmed bin Breik as his deputies within the STC on May 8.[iv] Mahrami is also a key UAE partner and commands the Giants Brigades.
Somalia Security Brief
Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) forces thwarted an imminent al Shabaab complex suicide attack targeting Peace Garden Park, Hamar Weyne district, Mogadishu, on May 6.[v] NISA forces claimed to arrest several members of an al Shabaab cell and seize a tuktuk, several IEDs, and multiple suicide vests.[vi]
Somali National Army troops arrested three al Shabaab officials responsible for zakat collection in El Dheere district, Galgudud region, north-central Somalia, on May 7.[vii]
[i] Ansarollah, “The head of the Intelligence Agency affirms keenness to achieve a just and honorable peace that preserves Yemen’s unity and independence,” May 7, 2023, https://www.ansarollah.com/archives/601836.
[ii] 26 September News (Houthi), “Maj. Gen. al Mushki: The armed forces are ready to consolidate peace as much as they are ready to return to fighting,” May 7, 2023, https://26sep.net/index.php/local/56604-2023-05-07-04-15-50.
[iv] Ali al Sakani, Twitter, May 8, 2023, https://twitter.com/Alsakaniali/status/1655640652170813460?s=20.
[v] SNTV News, @sntvnews1, Twitter, May 8, 2023, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1655518195535470592?s=20
[vi] Goobjoog News, “Security officials foil planned attack on Peace Park,” May 8, 2023, https://goobjoog.com/english/security-officials-foil-planned-attack-on-peace-park
[vii] SNTV News, @sntvnews1, Twitter, May 7, 2023, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1655166315449942018?s=20