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: STC-backed forces continue military operation in Abyan governorate; STC-supported forces begin new military operation in Shabwah governorate; AQAP IED targets STC-backed forces convoy

Somalia: Likely al Shabaab suicide bombing targets civilians in northern Somalia; US-trained forces clear al Shabaab base in southern Somalia; al Shabaab IED attack targets a market in southern Somalia; Somali security forces secure villages in south-central Somalia; Somali and ATMIS troops clear al Shabaab bases in southwestern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief:

Southern Transitional Council (STC)-backed security forces continued their military operation in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, on September 11.[i] STC-backed forces entered Wadea, Mudiyah, and Lauder districts, Abyan governorate, on September 11. STC-backed forces also seized the Yemeni government-supported 3rd Presidential Protection Brigade’s camp without fighting. The 3rd Presidential Protection Brigade reportedly still occupies positions around the camp and may have vacated the camp after reaching a deal with the STC.[ii]

The UAE-backed Giants Brigades and Shabwah Defense Forces launched “Operation Arrows of the South” in Shabwah governorate, southern Yemen, on September 10.[iii] The operation aims to remove “terrorist organizations” from Shabwah governorate.

Likely al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated at least one improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an al Hizam Security Forces and Abyan Police convoy in Mudiyah district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, on September 12.[iv] The IED killed four al Hizam fighters and wounded five more.[v]

Somalia Security Brief:

A likely al Shabaab suicide bomber attacked a grocery store in Milho, Las Khorey district, Sanaag region, northern Somalia, on September 11.[vi] The explosion killed five people and injured at least 10 others. No group has claimed the attack. Al Shabaab was active around Milho in early 2022.[vii] Islamic State–Somalia also has a limited presence in northern Somalia but has not demonstrated suicide bombing capabilities or been active this far west in northern Somalia.

US-trained Danab forces attacked a suspected al Shabaab headquarters near Mubarak village, Afgoi district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on September 10.[viii] Military officials claimed Danab killed the al Shabaab deputy commander of the area, wounded 10 other al Shabaab militants, and freed several prisoners. The Somali government claimed al Shabaab used the base as a financial center for the area.

Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device in a market in Afgoi town, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on September 12.[ix] The attack killed two government officials and two civilians and injured at least three others.

Somali National Army and local militia forces secured Haro Lugoole and Fiidow villages in southern Hirshabelle State, south-central Somalia, on September 11.[x] The villages are located near the border of Jalalaqsi district, Hiraan region and Jowhar district, Middle Shabelle region.

Jubbaland State forces and Kenyan African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forces secured villages in Afmadow district, Lower Jubba, southwestern Somalia, on September 12.[xi] Security officials claimed to destroy al Shabaab bases and capture motorcycles in Midow, Harbole, and Qumbi villages.

[i] Al Hizam Security Forces, “Brig. Gen. al Sayyid: We are moving forward to purify all the lands of the south from the elements of terrorism,” September 11, 2022,

[ii] Mahra Post, “Abyan.. Transitional military formations enter Mudiyah and al Wadea, and others are deployed near the Khobar area,” September 11, 2022,

[iii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The STC announces the launch of “Arrows of the South” to cleans Shabwah of terrorism!” al Mashhad al Yemeni, September 10, 2022,

[iv] Al Masdar Online, Twitter, September 12, 2022,

[v] Al Masdar Online, “The killing and wounding of 9 members of al Hizam Security and Abyan Police in an IED attack targeting their convoy in Mudiyah district,” September 12, 2022,

[vi] Puntland Post, “Puntland: Suicide bombing in Milho,” September 11, 2022,

[vii] Somali Dispatch, “Puntland sends troops to al Shabaab hideout,” February 3, 2022,

[viii] Radio Risaala, “The Somali government said it killed a senior al Shabaab official,” September 10, 2022,

[ix] Halbeeg, “Four killed  in Afgoye market blast,” September 12, 2022,

[x] Puntland Post, “The government forces have driven al Shabaab out of areas in Hiraan region,” September 12, 2022,

[xi] Radio Risaala, “ATMIS forces of Jubbaland carried out a joint operation,” September 12, 2022,

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