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: AQAP ambushes STC-backed unit in Abyan governorate; STC-backed forces raid an AQAP safehouse in Abyan governorate; STC-aligned officials discuss responses to the al Dabba attack and PLC unity; Yemeni PLC commission calls for the “reconsideration” of Stockholm Agreement and truce; ROYG council classifies Houthis as a terrorist group
Somalia: Al Shabaab targets anti-al Shabaab offensive meetings in southern Somalia with a complex suicide siege; SNA forces attack an al Shabaab stronghold in south-central Somalia; SNA forces clash with al Shabaab militants in central Somalia, killing al Shabaab’s regional finance director
Yemen Security Brief:
Likely al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters ambushed a 3rd Support and Reinforcement Brigade medical vehicle near Wadi Homran, Mahfad district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on October 22.[i]
Unspecified Southern Transitional Council (STC)-backed forces raided an AQAP safehouse in Wadea district, Abyan governorate, on October 22. The STC forces killed two AQAP fighters.[ii]
The STC-aligned head of the Consultation and Reconciliation Commission of the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) said that the STC will not “go to war” unless the PLC determines the status of the southern issue on October 24.[iii] The STC National Assembly Speaker Ahmed bin Breik called on October 24 for the PLC to liberate Hudaydah after the Houthi attacks on oil facilities in Hadramawt on October 21.[iv]
The Yemeni National Consultation and Reconciliation Commission called on the PLC to “reconsider” the Stockholm Agreement and the truce in Yemen on October 22.[v]
The Yemeni National Defense Council classified the Houthis as a terrorist group on October 22.[vi] The Council said that it will penalize “entities or individuals” providing support, assistance, facilities, or cooperation to the Houthis.
Somalia Security Brief:
Al Shabaab militants attacked a hotel in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia, on October 23.[vii] The militants used a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device to destroy the hotel gates and gain entry.[viii] Three militants began shooting hotel guests and staff after entering the hotel compound. Local security forces battled the militants for 15 hours before killing them.[ix] Government officials claimed the attack killed nine civilians and wounded 47 more. Al Shabaab claimed the attack killed 27 people and wounded 53 more.[x] Local officials were reportedly meeting in the hotel to discuss plans for an anti-al Shabaab offensive.[xi] Al Shabaab warned on October 24 that it knows the time, place, and decisions of all meetings coordinating anti-al Shabaab operations and that it would continue to attack the meetings.[xii]
Somali National Army (SNA) and local militia forces attacked the al Shabaab stronghold of Cali Gadud in Adale district, Middle Shabelle region, south-central Somalia, on October 22.[xiii] Somali sources reported Turkish or American drones provided air support.[xiv] The SNA claimed to have cleared the settlement while other sources claimed that fighting is still ongoing. The SNA claimed the operation killed over 100 al Shabaab militants, including two senior commanders.[xv]
SNA forces fought al Shabaab militants in several places throughout Hiraan region, central Somalia. SNA commandos cleared the town of Qorfo, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on October 23. The SNA claimed the operation killed 20 al Shabaab militants.[xvi] SNA forces clashed with al Shabaab militants in Moqokori, Bulo Burde district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on October 24. The SNA claimed to have killed al Shabaab’s finance director for the Hiraan region in the fighting.[xvii]
[iii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The STC announces that its forces will not participate in any future battles against the Houthis unless this condition is met,” October 24, 2022, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/242557.
[iv] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “Bin Breik accuses the coalition of encouraging the Houthis and says that the STC’s response to targeting Hadramawt will be to liberate Hudaydah,” October 24, 2022, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/242557.
[v] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The first official Yemeni announcement to reconsider the Stockholm and truce in the wake of the Houthi militia’s aggression on the Dabba oil port,” October 22, 2022, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/242444.
[vii] Horn Diplomat, “Somalia: Nine dead and 47 wounded in Tawakal Hotel Attack in Kismayo,” October 24, 2022, https://www.horndiplomat.com/2022/10/24/somalia-nine-dead-and-47-wounded-in-tawakal-hotel-attack-in-kismayo/.
[viii] Hiiraan Online, ”Update: Multiple dead and dozens injured following militant siege in Somalia,” October 23, 2022, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2022/Oct/188383/update_multiple_dead_and_dozens_injured_following_militant_attack_in_somalia.aspx.
[ix] SITE Intelligence Group, “At Conclusion of Tawakal Hotel Raid in Kismayo, Shabaab Claims 80 Casualties and Wars All who Threaten its Territories,” October 24, 2022, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com.
[x] SITE Intelligence Group,” At Conclusion of Tawakal Hotel Raid in Kismayo, Shabaab Claims 80 Casualties and Wars All who Threaten its Territories.”
[xi] Garowe Online, @GaroweOnline, Twitter, October 24, 2022, https://twitter.com/GaroweOnline/status/1584134664448450561?s=20&t=Xc8Mm3oDnbs4OWpYwdiTkw.
[xii] SITE Intelligence Group, “At Conclusion of Tawakal Hotel Raid in Kismayo, Shabaab Claims 80 Casualties and Warns All who Threaten its Territories.”
[xiii] SONNA, ”National Army took over key villages from Al-Shabab militants,” October 22, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/10/22/national-army-took-over-key-villages-from-al-shabab-militants/.
[xiv] Horseed Media, ”The drones bombarded the area of the Ali Gudud Mosque,” October 23, 2022, https://horseedmedia.net/diyaaradaha-aan-duuliyaha-laheyn-oo-duqeyn-ka-geystay-deegaanka-masaajid-cali-guduud-374693; Ishtar Cabdi Yusuf, ”Turkish planes bombed the area of the Aligudud Mosque” Caasimada, October 23, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/diyaaradaha-turkiga-oo-ku-biiray-dagaalka-deegaanka-masaajid-caliguduud/; Garowe Online, @GaroweOnline, Twitter, October 24, 2022, https://twitter.com/GaroweOnline/status/1584500333895507970?s=20&t=Xc8Mm3oDnbs4OWpYwdiTkw.
[xv] Garowe Online, @GaroweOnline, Twitter, October 24, 2022, https://twitter.com/GaroweOnline/status/1584518289346088961.
[xvi] Halbeeg, ”Somali elite forces kill 20 al-Shabaab fighters,” October 24, 2022, https://en.halbeeg.com/2022/10/24/somali-elite-forces-kill-20-al-shabaab-fighters/.
[xvii] Halbeeg, “Senior Al-Shabaab leader killed in central Somalia,” October 23, 2022, https://en.halbeeg.com/2022/10/23/senior-al-shabaab-leader-killed-in-central-somalia/.