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 targets post office in Hadramawt governorate; UN envoy meets Houthi and Omani officials to discuss truce; Houthi negotiating delegation member discusses Houthi-Saudi talks; former ANA chief of staff says Iran is forcibly recruiting former ANA soldiers to fight in Yemen; Houthi media claims Israel deploys radars to the UAE
Somalia: Al Shabaab attacks the SFG Education Ministry with two SVBIEDs in deadliest attack since 2017; SNA special forces clear a major al Shabaab stronghold in south-central Somalia after days of fighting
Yemen Security Brief:
Likely al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters targeted a local post office al Hawtah, Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen on October 29. AQAP reportedly stole government salaries and pensions.[i]
UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg concluded his initial visit with Omani and Houthi officials in Muscat, Oman on October 30.[ii] The talks focused on renewing Yemen’s truce, which expired on October 2.[iii]
Houthi negotiating delegation member Abdul Malik al Ajri said on October 29 that Houthi and Saudi talks will not “exclude other Yemeni parties.”[iv] Ajri said that initial talks with Saudi Arabia aimed to “stop the war and lift the siege.” Ajri added that the remainder of Yemen’s parties would be “part of a political solution” but that the negotiations must first “terminate” the “dependency” of the Yemeni government on foreign power. Saudi Arabia and the Houthis met last to discuss a prisoner exchange in mid-October.[v]
The former Afghan National Army chief of staff claimed Iran may be forcibly recruiting Afghan soldiers and commandos to send to Yemen.[vi] The chief of staff said that when Afghan soldiers and commandos living in Iran went to Iranian immigration offices to renew their visas, Iran “asked [them] to go to war in Yemen in support of the Houthis.”
Somalia Security Brief:
Al Shabaab militants attacked the Somali Federal Government (SFG) Education Ministry with two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices near KM4 Junction, Mogadishu, on October 29.[ix] The SFG claimed that the attack killed at least 104 people and wounded over 300 others.[x] The attack is the deadliest al Shabaab attack since a suicide bombing in the same area in October 2017 that killed over 500 people.[xi]
Somali National Army (SNA) Gorgor and Danab special forces and local militia cleared the al Shabaab stronghold of Cali Gadud, Adale district, Middle Shabelle region, south-central Somalia, on October 30.[xii] The SNA claimed that the operation killed over 100 militants.[xiii] The operation to clear Cali Gadud began on October 22.[xiv]
[iii] Office of Special Envoy, Twitter, October 30, 2022 https://twitter.com/OSE_Yemen/status/1586762336706215945.
[iv] Abdul Malik al Ajri, Twitter, October 29, 2022, https://twitter.com/alejri77/status/1586437073933697024.
[v] Abdul Qader al Murtada, October 15, 2022, https://twitter.com/abdulqadermortd/status/1581313153086148608?s=20&t=9a9A5j2YsVLUFl-fSYYeeQ.
[vi] Voice of America (Pashto), “Alizi: Iran is forcing former Afghan soldiers to fight in Yemen,” October 31, 2022, https://www.pashtovoa.com/a/former-afghan-cojs-says-iran-is-recruiting-former-ana-for-yeman-war/6813371.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dlvr.it.
[viii] Atalayar, “Emirati Armed Forces train with US and French forces,” February 3, 2021, https://atalayar.com/en/content/emirati-armed-forces-train-us-and-french-forces.
[ix] Omar Faruk, “Somalia car bombings kill at least 100, president says,” The Washington Post, October 30, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/somalias-leader-says-at-least-100-killed-in-saturday-attack/2022/10/30/aaec1d10-580d-11ed-ac8b-08bbfab1c5a5_story.html.
[x] SONNA, ”President Hassan visits scene of Saturday’s heinous terrorist attacks,” October 30, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/10/30/president-hassan-visits-scene-of-saturdays-heinous-terrorist-attacks/.
[xi] Reuters, “Death toll from Somalia truck bomb in October now at 512: probe committee,” November 30, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-somalia-blast-toll/death-toll-from-somalia-truck-bomb-in-october-now-at-512-probe-committee-idUSKBN1DU2IC.
[xii] SONNA, ”SNA and the local forces take over Ali Gadud Mosque area in the Middle Shabelle,” October 30, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/10/30/sna-and-the-local-forces-take-over-ali-gadud-mosque-area-in-the-middle-shabelle/.
[xiii] Goobjoog News, @GoobjoogNews, Twitter, October 30, 2022, https://twitter.com/GoobjoogNews/status/1586624705225801731.
[xiv] Brian Carter and David Hessen, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – October 24, 2022,: Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 24, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-october-24-2022.