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: PLC attempts to secure investment from French energy company in Belhaf; UNSC, EU, Germany, Kuwait, and Sweden issue joint statement on truce extension; US envoy expresses confidence about truce extension
Somalia: Al Shabaab suicide bombing targets SNA and clan militia recruits in Mogadishu; NISA arrests al Shabaab suspects; SFG claims to secure 15 villages in central and southwest Somalia; al Shabaab launches a large but isolated counterattack in north-central Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council President Rashad al Alimi said on September 24 that he is attempting to secure French energy company Total’s return to Belhaf liquid natural gas plant in southern Yemen.[i] Total is reportedly concerned about “security issues,” namely the threat of Houthi attacks. The Houthis called the effort to bring back Total a “national crime,” and suggested the UAE aimed to export the gas to Europe.[ii]
Ministers and senior officials from the EU, Germany, Kuwait, Sweden, and each UN Security Council country (P5+4) met to discuss support for a truce extension in Yemen on September 21.[iii] The officials called for “maximal flexibility” from the warring parties. The officials also explicitly cited Houthi attacks in Taiz as an example of attacks that “threaten to derail the truce.” The P5+4 said it will continue to meet regularly “at different levels.”
US Envoy to Yemen Timothy Lenderking expressed confidence in the extension and expansion of the truce in Yemen during an interview with al Jazeera on September 22.[iv] Lenderking also said a six-month truce extension has international support. Lenderking hedged his statements on September 23, adding the extension is “not guaranteed” will rely upon the warring parties “implementing their obligations.”[v]
Somalia Security Brief:
An al Shabaab suicide bomber targeted recent Somali National Army (SNA) recruits at a military in Dharkenley district, Mogadishu, on September 25.[vi] The attack killed at least 11 people and wounded at least 18 others.[vii] Al Shabaab inflated its claim to at least 32 killed and 40 wounded.[viii] An al Shabaab–affiliated website claimed the attack was a “pre-emptive” strike targeting clan militia recruits that the government was training at the camp.[ix]
Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) forces arrested ten people with suspected links to al Shabaab in Mogadishu on September 25.[x] The agency said it will target “anyone who interacts, obeys, works, or facilitates al Shabaab activity.”[xi]
The Somali Federal Government (SFG) claimed on September 25 that SNA and local militia cleared and secured 15 villages in the Hiraan and Galgudud regions of central Somalia and Bay region, southwest Somalia.[xii] The SFG claimed the anti–al Shabaab forces killed at least 30 al Shabaab militants while liberating two villages in Hiraan, five in Galgadud, and six in Bay over an unspecified period.[xiii]
Al Shabaab counterattacked SNA forces in the Dhisaqa and Adakibir areas of Dhusamareb district, Galgaduud region, north-central Somalia, on September 25.[xiv] Al Shabaab–affiliated media reported the group killed at least 50 SNA soldiers.[xv] Somali officials claimed that it repelled the al Shabaab attacks, killing at least 30 al Shabaab militants and wounding at least 55.[xvi] The SFG also included Dhisaqa and Adakibir in its list of recently secured areas later on September 25.[xvii]
[iii] US State Department, “Joint Statement – Concrete Steps to Support Expansion of UN-mediated Truce in Yemen,” September 23, 2022, https://www.state.gov/joint-statement-concrete-steps-to-support-expansion-of-un-mediated-truce-in-yemen/.
[iv] Mareb Press, “The US envoy to Yemen announces tacit approval of the Houthi conditions and the payment of the salaries of employees and speaks confidently about extending the truce,” September 22, 2022, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=187345.
[vi] Radio Dalsan, “Al Shabaab issued a statement on the suicide bombing that took place in Mogadishu today,” September 25, 2022, https://www.radiodalsan.com/wararka-idaacadda/al-shabaab-oo-war-kasoo-saartay-qaraxii-is-miidaaminta-ee-maanta-ka-dhacay-muqdisho/.
[vii] Mohammed Omar Ahmed, “Suicide Bombing Kills at Least 11 at Army Camp in Somalia,” Bloomberg, September 25, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-25/suicide-bombing-kills-at-least-11-at-army-camp-in-somali-capital.
[viii] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Says Suicide Bombing Executed as "Preemptive Strike" in Capital Inflicts 72+ Casualties Among Somali Militia Recruits,” September 25, 2022, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com.
[x] SONNA, “NISA apprehends 10 individuals working with the terrorists,” September 25, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/09/25/nisa-apprehends-10-individuals-working-with-the-terrorists/.
[xi] NISA, @HSNQ_NISA, Twitter, September 25, 2022, https://twitter.com/HSNQ_NISA/status/1574044054693847044.
[xii] Somali National Television, @sntvnews1, Twitter, September 25, 2022, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1574108441668460545?s=20&t=beRC6-XP7xzj8CNmngJEoQ.
[xiii] SONNA, “SNA kills 30 Al-Shabab terrorists in a planned operations,” September 25, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/09/25/sna-kills-30-al-shabab-terrorists-in-a-planned-operations/.
[xiv] Zahra Axmed Gacal, “DF released information about many al Shabaab killed in Galgudud this afternoon,” September 25, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/df-oo-shaacisay-xogta-shabaab-badan-oo-galabta-lagu-laayey-galgaduud/.
[xv] Radio al Furqaan, “About 50 soldiers were killed in the fighting in Adakibir,” September 25, 2022, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2022/09/ku-dhawaad-50-askari-oo-df-looga-dilay-dagaal-ka-dhacay-cadokibir/.
[xvi] Radio Mogadishu, “The army killed 30 al Shabaab militants,” September 26, 2022, https://radiomuqdisho.so/ciidanka-xoogga-dalka-oo-dilay-30-ka-tirsan-maleeshiyada-al-shabaab/.
[xvii] Somali National Television, @sntvnews1, Twitter, September 25, 2022, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1574108441668460545?s=20&t=beRC6-XP7xzj8CNmngJEoQ.