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-linked media unit says AQAP does not target Abyan’s tribes; AQAP fighters detonate IED targeting STC-backed forces in Abyan; Houthi forces arrest scores of peaceful protesters; STC media reports that STC-backed forces raid AQAP camp; AQAP fighters detonate three IEDs, killing 5 SDF fighters in Abyan

Somalia: Al Shabaab conducts three more suicide bombings; ATMIS countries support SFG request to delay ATMIS drawdown; Somali forces arrest al Shabaab arms dealer

Yemen Security Brief

An al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)-linked media unit said that AQAP does not target the tribes in Abyan, and that AQAP only fights the “apostate mercenaries.”[i]

Likely AQAP fighters detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting STC-backed forces on September 28 near Qarn Amaram, Mudiyah district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen.[ii] The IED killed no STC-backed fighters.

The Houthi movement arrested “scores” of peaceful protesters who were commemorating the September 26th Revolution.[iii] A local reporter told Amnesty International that the Houthis are holding “hundreds” of protesters in Sana’a. Houthi supporters also attacked protesters during the demonstrations on September 26.

Southern Transitional Council (STC) media reported on September 26 that STC-backed forces raided an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula camp and captured ammunition and explosive devices in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen.[iv] STC media said the site was an “AQAP stronghold” after they fled from Wadi Omran.

AQAP fighters detonated three IEDs targeting STC forces in the Hajla region of Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, on September 26.[v] The IEDs killed five STC fighters.

Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab conducted a double suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack near Dhusamareb town, Galgaduud region, north-central Somalia. One SVBIED detonated along the road leading to the town’s airport and the other near a checkpoint in the town.[vi] Al Shabaab claimed the SVBIEDs were targeting the presidential palace and the checkpoint guarding the palace, indicating security forces interdicted the SVBIEDs before they reached their intended targets.[vii] The Somali president and other Somali Federal Government (SFG) officials are in Dhusamareb rallying support for an offensive against al Shabaab’s remaining havens in central Somalia.[viii]

Al Shabaab conducted an SVBIED attack at a market in Bulo Burde town, Hiiraan region, central Somalia, on September 28.[ix] The attack killed six civilians and injured 15 others.

An al Shabaab suicide bomber targeted a restaurant near a state forces camp in Sayidka junction, Wardhigley district, Mogadishu, on September 29. The Somali police spokesperson said the attack killed at least five people, while local observers said it killed at least seven.[xi] Al Shabaab claimed the attack targeted a gathering of army officers, killing at least 11 people and injuring 18 others.[xii]

African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troop-contributing countries sent a letter to the UN Security Council on September 29 supporting Somalia’s request to delay the scheduled ATMIS drawdown.[xiii] Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, and Burundi co-signed the letter to delay the scheduled September 30 drawdown of 3,000 ATMIS troops.[xiv]

Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency forces (NISA) arrested an al Shabaab arms dealer on September 29. NISA officials said that the dealer was fleeing to al Shabaab–controlled territory and led a network that smuggled military equipment from abroad.[xv]

[i] SITE Intelligence Group, “AQAP-linked Unit Insists ‘Righteous Arrows’ Campaign Does Not Target Abyan Tribes, Assures Independent Retributions For Associates of UAE-backed STC Forces,” September 28, 2023, Available by Subscription At:

[ii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, ”A violent explosion targets security forces in Abyan after controlling the last stronghold of al Qaeda,” September 28, 2023,

[iii] Amnesty International, ”Yemen: Wave of Arrests by Houthi De Facto Authorities Following Demonstrations,” September 29, 2023,

[iv] Dera al Ganoob, ”Five heroes of our forces were martyred while clearing a new stronghold of terrorist elements east of Mudiyah district,” September 26, 2023,

[v] Dera al Ganoob, ”Five heroes of our forces were martyred while clearing a new stronghold of terrorist elements east of Mudiyah district,” September 26, 2023,

[vi] Garowe Online, “Twin al Shabaab morning car bomb attack targets Somalia,” September 28, 2023,

[vii] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Claims Double Suicide Bombing in Dhusamareb During Visit of Somali President,” September 28, 2023, available by subscription at

[viii] Jamaal Maxamed, “Photos: R/W the country’s deputy landed in Dhusamareb,” Caasimada, September 28, 2023,

[ix] Hussein Mohamed, @HussienM12, Twitter, September 28, 2023,

[x] Jamaal Maxamed, “A suicide bombing occurred in Buuloburde district,” Caasimada, September 28, 2023,

[xi] Hiraan Online, “5 dead as suicide bomber targets restaurant in Somali capital,” September 29, 2023,; Hussein Mohamed, @HussienM12, Twitter, September 29, 2023,

[xii] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Continues Suicide Bomber Deployment, Strikes Close to Presidential Palace in Capital,” September 29, 2023, available by subscription at

[xiii] Goobjoog News, “Regional states supports Somalia’s proposal to halt ATMIS troops drawdown,” September 29, 2023,

[xiv] The East African, “Somalia asks UN Security Council to delay Atmis troop drawdown,” September 22, 2023,

[xv] Goobjoog News, “NISA arrests suspected Al-Shabaab arms smuggler,” September 29, 2023,

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