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: The Houthis target oil facilities in Yemen with two explosive drones; Houthis frame drone attack as a “warning strike”; anonymous Houthi sources claim the Houthis reached an agreement with Russia to restrict energy resource exports; AQAP attacks STC-backed forces in Abyan; CENTCOM commander visits US Navy SSBN
Somalia: Turkish-trained special forces clear al Shabaab militants from villages in south-central Somalia; al Shabaab attacks SNA forces throughout Mogadishu; SFG warns companies in the Port of Mogadishu to not pay al Shabaab taxes; Twitter suspends al Shabaab-affiliated accounts
Yemen Security Brief:
The Houthi Movement launched two explosive-laden drones targeting an oil tanker in al Dabba Port, Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen, on October 21.[i] The attack did not cause any damage. The Hadramawt governor said the Houthis launched the two drones from the Ma’rib-al Jawf governorate border in northern Yemen.[ii]
The Houthis framed the drone attack on al Dabba Port as a “warning strike” in a statement claiming the attack on October 21.[iii]
Anonymous “private and high-ranking” Houthi sources told Mareb Press on October 21 that the al Dabba Port attack is the result of a Houthi agreement with Russia. The sources claimed the Houthis agreed to prevent oil and gas from leaving Yemeni ports during Houthi-Russian meetings in Moscow in early August.[iv]
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continued to contest Southern Transitional Council (STC) control of Abyan governorate, southern Yemen. The STC-backed 14th Thunderbolt Brigade repelled an AQAP attack in Mahfad district, Abyan governorate, on October 20.[v] STC-backed Abyan Security Belt Forces raided an AQAP compound in Wadea district, Abyan governorate, on the same day.[vi]
The commander of US Central Command visited a US Navy nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine in the Arabian Sea on October 19.[vii]
Somalia Security Brief:
Turkish-trained Gorgor special forces cleared several villages in Adale district, Middle Shabelle region, south-central Somalia, on October 20. Somali National Army (SNA) officials claimed that the fighting killed 10 al Shabaab militants.[viii]
Al Shabaab claimed to attack SNA forces multiple times around Mogadishu on October 20.[ix] One of the attacks killed one SNA soldier. Local civilians arrested two al Shabaab militants as they tried to flee that attack.[x]
The Somali Federal Government (SFG) warned companies operating in the Port of Mogadishu on October 20 that it will prosecute anyone paying taxes to al Shabaab.[xi] The SFG has taken several steps to target al Shabaab financial networks since declaring a “financial war” against al Shabaab on September 30.[xii]
Twitter likely suspended several al Shabaab–affiliated accounts on October 20.[xiii] The move followed the SFG banning of al Shabaab–affiliated media on October 8.[xiv]
[i] Ali al Sakani, Twitter, October 21, 2022, https://twitter.com/Alsakaniali/status/1583455889167880199?s=20&t=0dPGRmy3dy0n04oulfmw2Q.
[ii] SMA News, “The governor of Hadramawt reveals the location of the drones that targeted the Dabba oil port,” October 21, 2022, https://smanews.org/%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ac%d9%86%d9%88%d8%a8-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d8%b1%d8%a8%d9%8a/303338/.
[iii] Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’a, Twitter, October 21, 2022, https://twitter.com/army21ye/status/1583503827403087873?s=20&t=0dPGRmy3dy0n04oulfmw2Q.
[iv] Mareb Press, “Urgent: Houthi militias pledge to Moscow to strike oil facilities in Yemen and to prevent any export of gas or oil to the European continent… details of the veto deal,” October 21, 2022, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=188007.
[v] SMA News, “The Southern Armed Forces thwarted an infiltration attempt by al Qaeda terrorist elements in Abyan,” October 20, 2022, https://smanews.org/%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ac%d9%86%d9%88%d8%a8-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d8%b1%d8%a8%d9%8a/303100/.
[vi] SMA News, “Abyan.. two terrorist elements were killed in a qualitative operation in al Wadea,” October 21, 2022, https://smanews.org/%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ac%d9%86%d9%88%d8%a8-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d8%b1%d8%a8%d9%8a/281748/.
[vii] US Central Command, “CENTCOM Commander embarks USS West Virginia Ballistic Missile Submarine,” October 20, 2022, https://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/PRESS-RELEASES/Press-Release-View/Article/3194433/centcom-commander-embarks-uss-west-virginia-ballistic-missile-submarine/.
[viii] Guuleed Muuse, “Al-Shabaab forces have taken over areas in front of them,” Caasimada, October 20, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/ciidamada-oo-deegaano-hor-leh-kala-wareegay-al-shabaab/.
[ix] Somalimemo, ”Armed attacks in the districts of Banadir region,” October 20, 2022, https://somalimemo.info/articles/17126/Weeraro-hubaysan-oo-ka-dhacay-xaafado-katirsan-degmooyinka-gobolka-Banaadir.
[x] Radio Mogdishu, ”The people of Karaan district arrested two conspirators who belonged to Al-Shabaab,” October 20, 2022, https://radiomuqdisho.so/shacabka-degmada-kaaraan-oo-qabtay-laba-dhagarqabe-oo-ka-tirsanaa-al-shabaab/.
[xi] Somali Dispatch, “Agencies operating in Mogadishu Port warned against working with Al-Shabaab,” October 20, 2022, https://www.somalidispatch.com/latest-news/agencies-operating-in-mogadishu-port-warned-against-working-with-al-shabaab/.
[xii] Radio Dalsan, ”The government of Somalia has declared financial war and sent a strong warning,” September 30, 2022, https://www.radiodalsan.com/wararka-idaacadda/dowladda-soomaaliya-oo-ku-dhawaaqay-dagaal-maalliyadeed-digniin-adagna-dirtay/.
[xiii] Harun Maruf, @HarunMaruf, Twitter, October 20, 2022, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1583085633987149825?s=20&t=Ga5YQaz6kgUPim4hxttGxw.
[xiv] Brian Carter, David Hessen, and Liam Karr. ”Gulf of Aden Security Review - October 12, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 12, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-october-12-2022.