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: UN envoy travels to Riyadh, Muscat, and Sana’a for negotiations; Houthis reiterate position on truce; Houthis threaten foreign companies; top Houthi official accuses United States of obstructing truce extension
Somalia: US-trained special forces clear al Shabaab from a long-time stronghold for the second time in September; a disagreement between anti-al Shabaab commanders stalls the offensive in Galgudud region; SNA forces clear al Shabaab infrastructure in southern Somalia; Puntland police breakup two al Shabaab cells in north-central Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg traveled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Muscat, Oman; and Sana’a, Yemen, to discuss the truce with Omani, Yemeni, and Saudi officials.[i] Grundberg met with Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi and “senior Saudi officials” in two separate meetings on September 26. He then met with Omani Foreign Minister Badr al Busaidi and Houthi officials separately in Muscat on September 27. Grundberg traveled to Sana’a, Yemen, on September 28 to discuss the truce with key Houthi leaders.[ii]
Houthi Chief Negotiator Mohammed Abdul Salam reiterated the Houthi’s position on the truce negotiations after a meeting with Grundberg in Muscat on September 27.[iii] Abdul Salam called for an immediate reopening of Hudaydah port and Sana’a airport and the payment of salaries and pensions. The Saudi-led coalition is letting in some fuel ships through Hudaydah. Flights continue from Sana’a airport to Cairo and Amman.[iv]
The Houthi military spokesperson threatened “foreign companies,” calling on the companies to heed the warnings of Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi on September 26.[v] Houthi said that the “occupation” of Yemen’s resources must be “faced” in a speech on September 21.[vi] The threat may be a response to the visit of the French Ambassador to Yemen to Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen on September 26-27.[vii] The Yemeni government is also negotiating with a French energy company.[viii]
The Houthi deputy foreign minister accused the US Special Envoy to Yemen of “obstructing the extension” of the truce on September 26.[ix]
Somalia Security Brief:
US-trained Danab special forces cleared al Shabaab militants from Buqda, Bulo Burde district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on September 27.[x] Danab officials claimed to kill 11 al Shabaab militants. Al Shabaab had uncontested control of Buqda until Danab clashed attacked al Shabaab fighters near the town for the first time since 2015 on September 15, 2022.[xi]
A disagreement between anti-al Shabaab commanders stalled the SNA and clan militia thrust towards the al Shabaab stronghold of Elbur, Galgudud region, central Somalia, on September 26.[xii] The commanders reportedly disagreed on the best way to proceed into Elhele, a town over 40 miles north of Elbur in Dhusamareb district. The SNA head General Odawa Yusuf wanted to bomb al Shabaab positions that American drones spotted in the town. The local MP leading state and local clan forces, Yusuf Dhegey Ugas, wanted to launch a frontal ground assault to minimize the risk of civilian casualties. General Odawa Yusuf then reportedly ordered his troops to return to Dhusamareb.
Somali officials claimed SNA forces cleared an al Shabaab court and command center in two villages in Afgoi district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on September 27.[xiii]
Puntland police announced on September 28 that they arrested two al Shabaab cells and seized 150 explosive devices in the Mudug region of north-central Somalia.[xiv] Puntland officials said the cells were planning attacks in Puntland and Somaliland.
[i] Official of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, “UN Special Envoy for Yemen concludes a visit to Riyadh and Muscat,” September 27, 2022, https://osesgy.unmissions.org/un-special-envoy-yemen-concludes-visit-riyadh-and-muscat.
[ii] Mareb Press, “Urgent: The United Nations Envoy arrives in Sana’a and the Houthis set conditions that undermine the truce,” September 28, 2022, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=187496.
[iii] 26Sep (Houthi), “Abdul Salam informs the UN representative of our country’s latest position on the armistice,” September 27, 2022, https://26sep.net/index.php/local/44231-2022-09-27-18-09-44.
[iv] Yemen Airways, Facebook, September 27, 2022, https://www.facebook.com/YemenAirways/posts/pfbid021LTirGihV6JieJxH7kiVmJQMTVpN7cHEGeYbGSFnmeBnN8rw56829y2TMiT999TZl?__cft__=AZWYQUDd9QORNGEj1WCxUtEqbIxdO50X7s6eqFUKW3LlKq_YmWq8x_8FJClzW_PfrbyRFdyLx0_mJoZKpgfWuVi-fhxLcnwoyuORA37B6_ZO2p8OKQV10AABqAclJ8SWqpew9RAYXL1U-daQVlUAmgqlrk9oZz4Zrw-lQuuPsIowxA&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R; and US State Department, “Welcoming the Resumption of Flights Between Sana’a, Yemen, and Cairo, Egypt,” June 1, 2022, https://www.state.gov/welcoming-the-resumption-of-flights-between-sanaa-yemen-and-cairo-egypt/.
[v] Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’a, Twitter, September 26, 2022, https://twitter.com/army21ye/status/1574456684692512772.
[vi] Saba News (Houthi), “Text of the Speech of the Leader of the Revolution on the occasion of the eighth anniversary of the 21 September Revolution,” September 20, 2022, https://www.saba.ye/ar/news3203509.htm.
[vii] France in Yemen, Twitter, September 27, 2022, https://twitter.com/France_in_Yemen/status/1574703865530028033?s=20&t=25AFx02BZVoZ7TvkIoknqQ.
[viii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 26, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 26, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-september-26-2022.
[ix] Hussein al Ezzi, Twitter, September 26, 2022, https://twitter.com/hussinalezzi5/status/1574508184701747205?s=20.
[x] SONNA, “SNA's Danab forces kill 11 terrorists as they take over an important area,” September 26, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/09/26/snas-danab-forces-kill-11-terrorists-as-they-take-over-an-important-area/.
[xi] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 16, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 16, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-september-16-2022.
[xii] Zahra Axmed Gacal, “The operation to liberate Elbur failed and the army returned to Dhusamareb,” September 26, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/deg-deg-howlgalkii-xoreynta-ceelbuur-oo-fashilmay-iyo-ciidankii-ku-laabtay-dhuusamareeb/.
[xiii] SONNA, “SNA took control of important areas from the al Shabaab terrorists,” September 27, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/09/27/sna-took-control-of-important-areas-from-the-al-shabab-terrorists/.
[xiv] Qiraat Somali, “Puntland seizes 150 explosives to launch attacks in its regions and in Somaliland,” September 28, 2022, https://www.qiraatsomali.com/%d8%a8%d9%88%d9%86%d8%aa-%d9%84%d8%a7%d9%86%d8%af-%d8%aa%d8%b6%d8%a8%d8%b7-150-%d9%85%d8%aa%d9%81%d8%ac%d8%b1%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d9%84%d8%b4%d9%86-%d9%87%d8%ac%d9%85%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d9%81%d9%8a-%d9%85%d9%86/.