Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 17, 2013

Yemen: Al Houthi rebels raid house in Safra’a district, Sa’ada governorate, arrest two people; tribal gunmen attack power lines in Wadi Abeidah, Ma’rib governorate; troops from the 8th Brigade of the Missile Batteries Group protest against their commander in Bilad al Rus, Sana’a governorate; explosive device found and detonated at al Masdar’s office; AQAP has expanded openly in al ‘Udayn, Ibb governorate; Yemeni defense minister meets with U.S. ambassador in Sana’a; First Mountain Infantry Brigade withdraws from Rada’a, al Bayda governorate; security forces shell the area around government compound in Sanah, al Dhaleh governorate; troops from the Third Infantry Brigade shoot and wound qat vendor in Ma’rib governorate, sparking calls for strike

Horn of Africa: Clan-based militia storms prison in Caynabo, Sool region; Somali president orders review of courthouse security; 96 Somali Army officers graduate from training course in Mogadishu; Somali prime minister meets with EU delegation in Mogadishu; Somali president meets with UN delegation in Mogadishu; EU delegation travels to Garowe, Nugaal region; U.S. Bank agrees to Somali money transfer account 

Yemen Security Brief

  • Armed al Houthi rebels raided a house in Safra’a district, Sa’ada governorate on April 14. The rebels arrested the owner, who had reportedly criticized them in the past, as well as his son, and moved them to an unspecified location.[1]
  • Tribal gunmen attacked power lines in Wadi Abeidah, Ma’rib governorate on April 17 for the third time in 24 hours, shutting down the Ma’rib power station and causing blackouts. The gunmen, who are from al Huwaik, are demanding the release of their brother, who has been imprisoned in Hadramawt governorate pending a criminal case.[2]
  • Troops from the 8th Brigade of the Missile Batteries Group protested against their commander, Brigadier General Hussein Saleh Zeyad, on April 16 in Bilad al Rus, Sana’a governorate, accusing him of corruption and calling for his departure.[3]
  • An explosive device—reportedly TNT—was found at the office of the Yemeni newspaper al Masdar on April 17, according to the Journalists Syndicate. The police arrived at the office and detonated the device. The Syndicate is demanding that security forces immediately investigate the incident.[4]
  • Local sources reported that elements of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have begun to expand openly in al ‘Udayn, Ibb governorate, with the knowledge of the Yemeni security services, and under the leadership of two former Guantanamo Bay detainees. They also add that a local mosque is flying AQAP’s flag.[5]
  • Yemeni Defense Minister Major General Mohamed Nasser Ahmed met with U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein in Sana’a on April 17 to discuss counterterrorism cooperation.[6]
  • The First Mountain Infantry Brigade, which was part of the dissolved Yemeni Republican Guard, withdrew from Rada’a, al Bayda governorate on April 16 after weeks of violence and clashes that left six dead and nearly twenty wounded.[7]
  • Yemeni security forces shelled the area around a government compound in Sanah, al Dhaleh governorate on April 17, wounding one civilian.[8]
  • Troops from the Third Infantry Brigade shot and critically wounded a qat vendor in Ma’rib governorate on April 17. Civil society groups are calling for a mass strike to protest “repeated” attacks on civilians.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A clan-based militia stormed a prison in Caynabo, Sool region on April 16. The attackers were reportedly able to free dozens of inmates. Two police officers and one intelligence officer were killed in the assault. Somaliland authorities say that they were able to capture 26 of the attackers.[10]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud ordered a review of security procedures at Somali courts on April 16 following the April 14 al Shabaab attack on a Mogadishu courthouse.[11]
  • Ninety-six Somali Army officers graduated from an AMISOM non-commissioned officer training program in Mogadishu on April 16.[12]
  • Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon met with a delegation from the European Union on April 16 in Mogadishu. The EU delegation promised to provide Somalia with training and training facilities for its armed forces. Following the meeting Prime Minister Shirdon appealed to western countries to also help Somalia build a proper army.[13]
  • Somali President Mohamud met with a United Nations delegation in Villa Somalia, Mogadishu on April 17. The meeting was focused on being able to provide Somali farmers with the knowledge and technology to productively farm.[14]
  • A European Union delegation traveled to Garowe, Nugaal region on April 17 and met with Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole.[15]
  • America-based U.S. Bank has agreed to open an account with the Somalia-based bank Dahabshil, so that Somalis living in Minnesota can send money to their families in their homeland.[16]       

[1] “Sa’ada: Armed al Houthi elements raid house and move owner and one of his children to an unknown location,” Nashwan News, April 16, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://nashwannews.com/news.php?action=view&id=24949
[2] “Gunmen attack the Ma’rib-Sana’a power lines for the third time in 24 hours, demanding the release of a prisoner,” Al Tagheer, April 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.al-tagheer.com/news56468.html
“Third attack on the electricity towers within 24 hours, Ma’rib power station out of service,” Barakish, April 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=48606
[3] “Protests within the Eighth Brigade Missile Batteries Group against Commander Brigadier General Zeyad, calling for his departure,” Al Masdar Online, April 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44347
[4] “Explosive device found at al Masdar newspaper, Journalists Syndicate demands a quick investigation,” Al Tagheer, April 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://al-tagheer.com/news56476.html
“An explosive device weighing 400 grams was found at the entrance of al Masdar’s office,” Al Masdar Online, April 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44369
[5] “Al Qaeda flags waving in central Yemen,” Barakish, April 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=48618
[6] “Defense Minister discusses counterterrorism cooperation with U.S. ambassador to Yemen,” Al Tagheer, April 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.al-tagheer.com/news56461.html
[7] Nasser al Sanah, “The First Mountain Infantry Brigade of the dissolved Republican Guard leaves Rada’a,” Akhbar al Yom, April 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.akhbaralyom.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=66360
[8] “Young man wounded by security forces in Sanah, al Dhaleh,” Aden al Ghad, April 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://adenalghad.net/news/46989/
[9] “Ma’rib: Vendor injured by soldiers…Civil society groups calling for a strike,” Mareb Press, April 17, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54466&lng=arabic
[10] “Somalia: Somaliland Intelligence Officer Shot Dead after Prison Raid,” Raxanreeb, April 17, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-somaliland-intelligence-officer-shot-dead-after-prison-raid/
[11] “President Orders Courts Security Review,” Shabelle, April 17, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/president-orders-courts-security-review/
[12] “96 Somali Army Officers Graduate from AMISOM Training Course,” AMISOM, April 16, 2013. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/april-17-2013-daily-monitoring-report/
[13] “EU Promises to Give More Support to Somalia,” Shabelle, April 17, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/eu-promises-to-give-more-support-to-somalia/
“Somalia Government Pleads to Be Given and helping Hand to Build National Army,” Shabelle, April 17, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/somalia-government-pleads-to-be-given-a-helping-hand-to-build-national-army/
[14] “President of Somalia Welcomes UN Delegates in His Office,” Shabelle, April 17, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/president-of-somalia-welcomes-u-n-delegates-in-his-office/
[15] “A Delegation from the EU Arrives at Garowe,” Shabelle, April 17, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/a-delegation-from-the-eu-arrives-at-garowe/
[16] “US Bank to Open Somali Transfer Account,” AP, April 16, 2013. Available: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SOMALIA_MONEY_TRANSFERS?SECTION=HOME&SITE=AP&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT