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: Houthis and ROYG fail to renew Yemen’s truce; Houthis threaten oil companies in Saudi Arabia in the UAE; truce negotiations create new rifts within the PLC
Somalia: AFRICOM drone strike kills al Shabaab’s second in command; al Shabaab attacks government offices with three SVBIEDs in central Somalia; al Shabaab claims to have secured 12 towns in central Somalia after SNA and local militia forces withdraw
Yemen Security Brief:
The Houthi movement and the Yemeni government failed to renew the truce in Yemen on October 2.[i] UN Envoy Hans Grundberg submitted another extension agreement that would have extended the truce for six months on October 1, though the Houthis rejected the extension.
The Houthi military spokesperson threatened oil companies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE if they did not “leave” Saudi Arabia and the UAE.[ii] He said that the Houthis will “deprive the Saudis and Emiratis of their resources” if the UAE and Saudis continue to use Yemeni resources.[iii]
Attempts to submit new concessions by Grundberg and the Yemeni government reportedly created additional rifts within the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC).[iv] PLC Deputy and Southern Transitional Council President Aidarous al Zubaidi was “strongly opposed” to providing public sector salaries to the Houthis. Zubaidi said that the Yemeni government should transfer the revenues from the Central Banks in Sana’a, Hudaydah, and Ma’rib to Aden before redistributing the revenue from Aden to Sana’a.
Somalia Security Brief:
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) killed Abdullahi Nadir, a senior leader and co-founder of al Shabaab, with a drone strike near Haramka, Jilib district, Middle Jubba region, southwestern Somalia, on October 1.[v] Nadir was first in line for leadership succession and managed al Shabaab’s finances.[vi] This is the first strike targeting an al Shabaab leader since US President Joe Biden gave US forces standing authority to target a list of high-ranking al Shabaab officials in May 2021.[vii]
Al Shabaab attacked Hirshabelle State government administrative buildings with three suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) in Beledweyne, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on October 3.[viii] The attack killed dozens of people, including several state cabinet officials and MPs.[ix] Al Shabaab also claims that the explosion killed Djiboutian African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) soldiers.[x]
Al Shabaab claimed to seize 12 towns near the Moqokori area in Burlo Burde district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on October 1.[xi] The Somali National Army (SNA) confirmed that SNA troops and local Ma’awisley militia forces that had secured the area withdrew as part of a deliberate military strategy.[xii] There are reports claiming that a leadership dispute between different SNA commanders caused the withdrawal.[xiii] Al Shabaab has provided food aid to families in the towns.[xiv]
[i] Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, “Statement from the UN Special Envoy on the Negotiations to Extend and Expand the Nationwide Truce in Yemen,” October 2, 2022, https://osesgy.unmissions.org/statement-un-special-envoy-negotiations-extend-and-expand-nationwide-truce-yemen.
[ii] Yahya Sare’a, Twitter, October 2, 2022, https://twitter.com/army21ye/status/1576620949561954304?s=20&t=Qlry9diYvDU8P7GVBd-Xiw.
[iii] Yahya Sare’a, Twitter, October 2, 2022, https://twitter.com/army21ye/status/1576623634726400001?s=20&t=Qlry9diYvDU8P7GVBd-Xiw.
[v] Hiiraan Online, “Al Shabaab’s #2 man killed by Somali government forces,” October 3, 2022, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2022/Oct/188085/al_shabaab_s_2_man_killed_by_somali_government_forces.aspx; U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs, ”U.S. forces conduct strike in Somalia targeting al-Shabaab leader,” United States Africa Command, October 3, 2022, https://www.africom.mil/pressrelease/34758/us-forces-conduct-strike-in-somalia-targeting-al-shabaab-leader.
[vi] Deutche Welte, “Somalia: Al-Shabab co-founder killed in joint strike, authorities say,” October 3, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/somalia-al-shabab-co-founder-killed-in-joint-strike-authorities-say/a-63320386?maca=en-rss-en-world-4025-rdf.
[vii] Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt, “Biden Approves Plan to Redeploy Several Hundred Ground Forces Into Somalia,” New York Times, May 16, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/16/us/politics/biden-military-somalia.html.
[viii] Goobjoog News, @GoobjoogNews, Twitter, October 3, 2022, https://twitter.com/GoobjoogNews/status/1576909254631428097.
[ix] Jamal Ahmed Osman, @jaahos, Twitter, https://twitter.com/jaahos/status/1576930019057709056; Halbeeg, “Ten killed in two Beledweyne blasts,“ October 3, 2022, https://en.halbeeg.com/2022/10/03/ten-killed-in-two-beledweyne-blasts/.
[xi] Radio al Furqaan, “Al-Shabaab has moved back to more than 12 areas in East Hiran,” October 1, 2022, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2022/10/al-shabaab-oo-dib-ula-wareegay-in-ka-badan-12-degaan-oo-bariga-hiiraan-ah/.
[xii] Zahra Axmed Gacal, ”The reason why DF forces withdrew from the occupied areas in Hiran has been announced,” Caasimada, October 1, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/sababta-ay-ciidanka-df-uga-soo-baxeen-deegaanadii-ay-qabsadeen-ee-hiiraan-oo-la-shaaciyey-dhageyso/.
[xiii] Istar Cabdi Yuusuf, “The government forces have cleared areas that were taken over by Al-Shabaab,” Caasimada, October 1, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/ciidamada-df-oo-soo-baneeyey-deegaano-ay-kala-waregeen-al-shabaab-sababta/.
[xiv] Radio al Furqaan, “Photos: Al-Shabaab distributed food to 420 families in Moqokori,” October 1, 2022, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2022/10/sawirro-al-shabaab-oo-420-qoys-raashin-iyo-iidaankiisa-ugu-qeybiyay-moqokori/.