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: Pro-government forces reverse some al Houthi gains in Ma’rib; AQAP conducts two attacks in al Bayda; Islah and STC forces carry out competing deployments in Abyan

Somalia: Somali officials urge regional governments to hold lower house elections; SFG expels African Union representative

Yemen Security Brief

Pro–Yemeni government forces counterattacked the al Houthi movement in al Jubah district, Ma’rib governorate on November 5.[i] The counterattack caused a minor al Houthi retreat to new positions between al Amoud and Yara villages. The al Houthis captured the headquarters of the 117th Yemeni Army Brigade, southeast of Ma’rib city, on November 4.[ii]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) conducted two attacks targeting al Houthi fighters in al Bayda governorate on November 1 and 2.[iii] AQAP claimed the second attack caused casualties. These are the third and fourth AQAP attacks in al Bayda since October 28.

Islah-backed forces deployed near Shaqra in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, on November 3.[iv] Four Southern Transitional Council (STC)–aligned brigades deployed between Sheikh Salem, Abyan, and Shaqra on November 2.[v] Islah and the STC fought each other for control of Abyan in 2020.

Somalia Security Brief

Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble and the chairperson of Somalia’s Federal Electoral Implementation Team pressed state governments to begin lower house elections. Roble said the elections are an urgent matter and must be accelerated.[vi] Chairperson Mohamed Hassan Irro declared elections should begin in the “coming weeks.”[vii] Both made it clear the regional governments received all required materials to hold elections. Somaliland became the first and only federal member state to begin its lower house elections on November 1.[viii]

The Somali Federal Government (SFG) ordered the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia to leave the country in seven days. The SFG declared Simon Mulongo persona non grata for “engaging in activities contrary to the AMISOM mandate and security strategy.”[ix]

[i] Fares al Hemyari, Twitter, November 5, 2021,

[ii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The first statement of the Houthis after advancing towards the city of Ma’rib and controlling the headquarters of the 117th Infantry Brigade,” November 5, 2021,

[iii] SITE Intelligence Group, “AQAP claims attacks on Houthis in Bayda’, photographs bomb blast on truck,” November 4, 2021, available by subscription at

[iv] Aden Lang, “Brotherhood militias push military reinforcements from Ataq to Shaqra,” November 3, 2021,; and Aden24, “With the aim of blowing up the situation, the Brotherhood militias develop new sites in Qurn al-Klasi,” November 4, 2021,

[v] Al Masirah English, “Failure of ‘Riyadh Agreement’, STC sends four military brigades to Abyan,” November 2, 2021,; and NewsYemen, “Isolation Shabwah and handing it over to Iran’s arm… The Brotherhood’s plan actually starts from Shoqra,” November 2, 2021,

[vi] Guuleed Muuse, “Roble Says He Will Step Down Immediately if,” Caasimada, November 05, 2021,; and Puntland Post, “Roble Sends a Message to State Governments,” November 04, 2021,

[vii] Warqaad, “The Chairman of the Electoral Commission has issued a new statement on the upcoming parliamentary elections,” November 04, 2021,

[viii] Garowe Online, “The election of Somaliland MPs in Lower House will start on Nov 1, says SEIT,” October 31, 2021,

[ix] T. Roble, “Somalia expels AMISOM deputy, declares him unwanted,” Goobjoog, November 04, 2021,; and Radio Risaala, “Somali government expels African Union deputy ambassador to Somalia,” November 04, 2021,

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