Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 23, 2013

Yemen: Eleven AQAP militants sentenced to jail in Sana’a; security forces detain five suspected AQAP militants in Haradh district, Hajjah governorate trying to cross the border into Saudi Arabia; AQAP militants attack military camp near Rada’a, al Bayda governorate; Aden court postpones trial of nine suspects in the case of Iranian arms smuggling ship; security forces, armed militants clash in al Hudaydah, al Hudaydah governorate, killing two people; kidnapped staff officer released after mediation efforts in Shabwah governorate; family of Interior Ministry official denies assassination reports

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases video showing ambush on Kenyan troops; Kenyan police continue to conduct security operations in Garissa, Kenya; Somali and AMISOM troops conducting security operations in Mogadishu; Somali government officials meets with IMF personnel in Washington, D.C.; Puntland president meets UN delegation in Garowe, Nugaal region; international governments and organizations condemn the April 21 killing of a Somali journalist

Yemen Security Brief

  • Eleven al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants were sentenced to jail in a Sana’a court on April 23 for plotting attacks in Yemen. One of the defendants, Ahmed al Hababi, made death threats against the judge while two others waved the AQAP flag in the courtroom. They were arrested in Shabwah governorate in 2011.[1]
  • Security forces in Haradh district, Hajjah governorate detained five foreigners—three Egyptians, one Syrian, and one Pakistani—who were in the process of illegally crossing the border into Saudi Arabia on April 22. The detainees, who are thought to belong to AQAP, were reportedly plotting to carry out attacks in Saudi Arabia.[2]
  • AQAP militants staged a violent attack on a military camp in Tha’alib Mountain near Rada’a, al Bayda governorate on April 23 in attempt to seize control of it. Clashes between the soldiers and militants are ongoing. At least ten people were killed and several others were wounded.[3]
  • A criminal court in Aden, Aden governorate postponed the trial of nine suspects in the case of the Jihan 1, the Iranian ship seized in late January with over forty tons of weapons and explosives, until April 30.[4]
  • Security forces clashed with armed militants in al Hudaydah, al Hudaydah governorate on April 22. One security solider and one militant were killed, while several others were wounded.[5]
  • Brigadier General Abdallah Ahmed Abdallah, a staff officer in the naval brigade who was being held by tribesmen in Shabwah governorate, was released on April 22 after mediation between military leaders and local officials.[6]
  • The family of Brigadier General Abdullah Yahya Jaber Bordefan, director of communications at the Ministry of Interior in Sana'a, denied news reports of his assassination on April 23.[7] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab released a video on jihadist forums on April 19 showing an undated ambush on a Kenyan convoy. The video shows the militants planting an improvised explosive device (IED) in the road, the subsequent attack on the Kenyan troops, and the aftermath of the battle.[8]
  • Kenyan police continue to conduct security operations in Garissa, Kenya, capturing over 100 suspected militants on April 22 and 23.[9]
  • Somali and AMISOM troops are conducting security operations in the Hamar Jadid area of Mogadishu on April 23. Helicopters were seen flying over the area and troops were searching door-to-door for al Shabaab militants.[10]
  • A Somali government delegation met with officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at IMF headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Somali officials requested financial aid to rebuild their country and the IMF agreed to give Somalia monetary support and forgive its $300 billion debt.[11]
  • President of Puntland Abdirahman Mohamed Farole met with a United Nation delegation in Garowe, Nugaal region on April 22. The UN envoys were in the region to check up on several projects in the area.[12]
  • Representatives from around the world condemned the April 21 killing of a Somali journalist in Mogadishu. The African Union, European Union, French government and British government all spoke out against the killing.[13]

[1] “Yemen court sentences 11 alleged al-Qaida militants to up to 10 years in prison,” Washington Post, April 23, 2013. Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/yemen-court-sentences-11-alleged-al-qaida-militants-to-up-to-10-years-in-prison/2013/04/23/301821f2-ac04-11e2-9493-2ff3bf26c4b4_story.html
“Jailed Qaeda militants vow death to Yemen judge,” Global Post, April 23, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130423/jailed-qaeda-militants-vow-death-yemen-judge
[2] “Three Egyptians, a Pakistani, and a Syrian arrested on the Yemeni-Saudi border,” Barakish, April 23, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=48951
[3] “Urgent: AQAP attacks army camp in Rada’a, fierce fighting leaves casualties,” Barakish, April 23, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=48943
“Casualties in armed attack on camp in Tha’alib Mountain near Rada’a,” Al Masdar Online, April 23, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44605
[4] “Yemeni court postpones the trial of suspects in Jihan 1 case to April 30,” Al Tagheer, April 23, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.al-tagheer.com/news56649.html
[5] “Soldier, security suspect killed during clashes in al Hudaydah,” Al Masdar Online, April 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44577
[6] “Mediation succeeds to release staff officer of the naval brigade in Shabwah from tribesmen,” Al Masdar Online, April 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44574
[7] “Brigadier General Jaber’s family denies reports of his assassination today in Sana'a,” Barakish, April 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=48939
[8] “Shabaab Video Shows Ambush of Kenyan Soldiers in Lower Juba, Somalia,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 22, 2013. Available at SITE.
[9] “Over 100 Arrested in Massive Garissa Police Crackdown,” Hiraan Online, April 23, 2013. Available: http://hiiraan.com/news4/2013/Apr/29003/over_100_arrested_in_massive_garissa_police_crackdown.aspx
[10] “Choppers Conduct Heavy Operation in the Capital Today,” Shabelle, April 23, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/choopers-conduct-heavy-operation-in-the-capital-today/
“Somalia: AMISOM and Somali Armed Forces Mount Their Biggest Security Operation Ever in Mogadishu,” Raxanreeb, April 23, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-amisom-and-somali-armed-forces-mount-their-biggest-security-operation-ever-in-mogadishu/
[11] “Somali Government Requests the World Bank to Give Them Funds to Rebuilding the Country,” Shabelle, April 23, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/somali-government-requests-the-world-bank-to-give-them-funds-to-rebuilding-the-country/
[12] “Somalia: Puntland President Meets with Senior UN Official in Garowe,” Raxanreeb, April 22, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-puntland-president-meets-with-senior-un-official-in-garowe/
[13] “France Condemns Killing of another Journalist in Somalia,” Kuwaiti News Agency, April 22, 2013. Available: http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2306213&language=en
“AMISOM Head Condemns Assassination of Somali Journalist Mohamed Ibrahim Rageh,” Hiiraan Online, April 23, 2013. Available: http://hiiraan.com/news4/2013/Apr/29001/amisom_head_condemns_assassination_of_somali_journalist_mohamed_ibrahim_rageh.aspx
“Statement by the EU Special Envoy to Somalia on the Killing of Senior Journalist Mohamed Ibrahim Rageh,” Shabelle, April 23, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/statement-by-the-eu-special-envoy-to-somalia-on-the-killing-of-seniorjournalist-mohamed-ibrahim-rageh/
“Ambassador Matt Baugh Condemns Murder of Somali Journalist Mohamed Ibrahim,” Hiiraan Online, April 22, 2013. Available: http://hiiraan.com/news4/2013/Apr/28985/ambassador_matt_baugh_condemns_murder_of_somali_journalist_mohamed_ibrahim.aspx