Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 19, 2013

Yemen: Twenty tribesmen storm hospital in Sana’a; sabotage suspect denies role in recent attack, blames General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar and Hamid al Ahmar; security forces arrest suspected AQAP member in Haddah, Sana’a governorate; Yemeni revolutionary committee calls to suspend sit-ins, al Houthi rebels urge persistence

 

Horn of Africa: Unknown gunmen kill nine in Garissa, Kenya; al Shabaab members fight in Bardhere, Gedo region; al Shabaab releases communiqué via Twitter; unnamed East African fighters release biography of slain jihadist; al Shabaab refutes claims that it conducted war crimes; Somali President listed in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people; elders leave Jubbaland talks; EU delegation visits Baidoa, Bay region; Somali cabinet passes anti-terror bill; Ugandan military leaders request U.S. support and training; officials ask Somali government to remove roadblocks in Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief  

  • More than twenty gunmen from the Sanhan tribe stormed a hospital in Sana’a linked to the dissolved Yemeni Republican Guard on April 19 following the death of one of their relatives early that morning.[1]  
  • Hassan Mabkhout al Hweik, a Yemeni contractor accused of sabotaging power lines in Ma’rib governorate, denied his involvement in the recent attack in Furdat Nihm, Sana’a governorate on April 19. He accused General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar and Hamid al Ahmar of being responsible for the attacks.[2]  
  • Security forces arrested a suspected member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on April 18 in Haddah, Sana’a governorate, according to sources from the Interior Ministry. The suspect was reportedly disguised as a woman working in a local shop and had been under surveillance.[3]  
  • The organizing committee of the popular youth revolution in Yemen called to suspend sit-ins across the country on April 18 for the first time since February 2011. According to the committee, the decision was made in light of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s decisions to restructure the armed forces, which marked a “victory of the revolution.” Following the announcement, tents were removed from Change Square in Sana’a. Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakul Karman followed suit, removing her tent from the square and announcing the next phase of the Yemeni revolution. The al Houthis rejected the decision, urging protesters to remain steadfast until all of their demands are achieved.[4]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief  

  • Unknown gunmen stormed a hotel in Garissa, Kenya on April 18, killing nine civilians. The gunmen were able to flee the scene and the reason behind the attack is not known.[5] 
  • Al Shabaab members fired on each other in Bardhere, Gedo region on April 19. The fighting started after two leaders disagreed over implementing a curfew in the town. Casualty numbers are not known and al Shabaab has not commented on the incident.[6]  
  • Al Shabaab released a communiqué via its Twitter on April 18 claiming it killed over 127 Somali intelligence agents since it began a campaign in Mogadishu in January 2013. The post said that the campaign targeted Somali intelligence and police officers and its success caused an “implosion” of the Somali intelligence apparatus.[7]  
  • An unnamed group of East African fighters released its fourth in a series of biographies on jihadist forums on April 15. The biography was of Bilal al Berjawi, a British national who worked for al Shabaab in Somalia and Great Britain and was killed in a drone strike in Somalia in January 2012.[8]  
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage refuted claims by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that al Shabaab terrorist attacks are war crimes. Rage said that the group does not recognize HRW and that it only targets people serving non-Muslims.[9]  
  • TIME Magazine named Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as one of its TIME 100 most influential people of the year for trying to rid Somalia of corrupt clan-based politics and for pursuing strong security and economic reforms.[10]  
  • Politicians and elders left the Jubbaland talks in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region because of fears that Ras Kamboni and Kenyan leaders are planning to sell Somalia’s natural resources to foreign interests. Leaders of the Jubbaland convention simultaneously criticized the Somali government for not participating in the talks.[11]  
  • Delegates from the European Union met with officials in Baidoa, Bay region on April 19 to discuss security matters facing the region.[12]  
  • The Somali Cabinet passed an anti-terror bill on April 19 in Mogadishu, Somalia. The prime minister and his cabinet will develop new measures to combat terrorism in the coming days.[13]
  • Ugandan military leaders requested the United States to support and train officers graduating from a newly established civil military operation affairs force in Uganda. [14]   
  • Officials in the Lower Shabelle region called on the Somali government to dismantle illegal roadblocks in the region.[15]   

[1] “20 gunmen from Sanhan storm Hospital 48, linked to the former Republican Guard, in Sana’a,” Al Tagheer, April 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://al-tagheer.com/news56521.html
[2] “Hweik denies links to attack on electrical lines, accuses Hamid al Ahmar,” Barakish, April 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=48705 “Suspect formally accused of blowing up power lines holds Ali Mohsen al Ahmar responsible for recent bombings,” Al Khabar, April 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.alkhabarnow.net/news/47403/2013/04/19/
[3] “Sana’a: Security forces arrest an AQAP suspect disguised as a woman,” Yemen Press, April 18, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://yemen-press.com/news18526.html
[4] “Revolutionary committee calls to "suspend sit-ins" in all Yemeni cities for the first time since February 2011,” Al Masdar Online, April 18, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44416
“Tawakul Karman announces the start of the second phase of the revolution,” Barakish, April 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=4871
“Revolutionary committee decides to remove tents and suspend sit-ins…the al Houthis reject the call,” Mareb Press, April 18, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: thttp://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54529&lng=arabic
[5] “Nine Shot Dead in Garissa Town,” Daily Standard, April 19, 2013. Available: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000081835&story_title=Kenya-Nine-shot-dead-in-Garissa-Town
[6] “Fighting between al Shabaab Members in Bardera Town,” Shabelle, April 19, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/fighting-between-alshabab-members-in-bardera-town/
[7] “Shabaab Claims Killing Over 127 Intelligence Agents and Spies in Campaign,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 18, 2013. Available at SITE. “PRESS RELEASE: Campaign of attacks against the Apostate Intelligence Agency,” HSMPress1, April 18, 2013. Available: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rjr4ke
[8] “East African Group Gives biography of Bilal al Berjawi,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 18, 2013. Available at SITE.
[9] “Somalia: Al Shabaab Fights Back Against ‘War Crimes’ Allegations,” Raxanreeb, April 18, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-al-shabab-fights-back-against-war-crimes-allegations/
[10] “Hassan Sheik Mohamud,” TIME, April 18, 2013. Available: http://time100.time.com/2013/04/18/time-100/slide/hassan-sheik-mohamud/
[11] “Somalia: Jubbaland Technical Committee Accuses SFG on Failing to Continue Dialogue,” Raxanreeb, April 19, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-jubbaland-technical-committee-accuses-sfg-on-failing-to-continue-dialogue/ “Politicians and Elders Withdraw From Juba Land Meeting,” Shabelle, April 19, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/politicians-and-elders-withdraw-from-juba-land-meeting/
[12] “Bay Administration Issue Statement after Meeting EU Delegation,” Shabelle, April 19, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/bai-administration-issue-a-statement-after-meeting-eu-delegation/
[13] “Members of the Cabinet Pass Anti-Terror Bill,” Shabelle, April 19, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/members-of-the-cabinet-pass-ant-terror-bill/
[14] “Uganda Appeals to US for Army Support,” New Vision, April 19, 2013. Available: http://hiiraan.com/news4/2013/Apr/28964/uganda_appeals_to_us_for_army_support.aspx
[15] “Lower Shabelle Admin: FGS Responsible for Road Barriers in the Region,” Shabelle, April 19, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/lower-shabelle-admin-fgs-responsible-for-road-barriers-in-the-region/