Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 24, 2013

Yemen: Security forces interdict car in Bajel district, al Hudaydah governorate, discover weapons cache; soldier from the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade kills local resident in Ma’rib governorate; clashes break out between security forces and Southern Movement protesters in Aden, Aden governorate; youth activist killed in Sana’a; gun shots fired near the French Embassy in Sana’a; security forces arrest three bombing suspects in al Bayda, al Bayda governorate; troops from the 8th Brigade of the Missile Batteries Group prevent new commander from entering military camp in Bilad al Rus, Sana’a governorate; Yemeni testifies in front of U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee about drones; AQAP releases video of father and son’s confessions; former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh returns to Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab ambushes Kenyan troops outside Dhobley, Lower Jubba region; improvised explosive device detonates near Jowhar airport, Lower Shabelle region; Kenyan police arrest 500 in Garissa, Kenya; al Shabaab releases video showing repentance of Somali soldiers; U.S. government issues travel warning for Burundi; Ethiopia to accelerate removal of troops from Somalia; Somalia to sign 30 gas and oil sharing contracts this year; another delegation leaves the Jubbaland conference in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; demonstrators protest against Mogadishu mayor outside Villa Somalia, Mogadishu; German government asks for European Union help in training Somali and Malian soldiers

Yemen Security Brief

  • Security forces interdicted a car at a security checkpoint in Bajel district, al Hudaydah governorate on April 23 and found a cache of hidden weapons, explosives, and ammunition. The two passengers were heading to ‘Amran governorate from Dhamar governorate.[1]
  • A soldier from the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade shot and killed a local resident on April 23 after a dispute in a qat market in Ma’rib governorate.[2]
  • Clashes broke out between security forces and protesters linked to the Southern Movement in Aden, Aden governorate on April 24, leaving at least six people injured. The protesters were attempting to impose a civil disobedience campaign in Crater district, prompting security forces to intervene and fire teargas.[3]
  • An armed gang shot and killed Mounir Haydar, a Yemeni youth activist, at an internet café in Sana’a on April 24.[4]
  • Gun shots were fired near the French Embassy in Sana’a on April 24, according to the French Foreign Ministry, one day after an attack on the embassy in Tripoli, Libya that injured several people.[5]
  • Security forces arrested three people wanted for carrying out bombings and breaching security in al Bayda, al Bayda governorate on April 24.[6] 
  • Troops from the 8th Brigade of the Missile Batteries Group prevented their new commander, Brigadier General Hussein Saleh Zeyad, from entering the military camp in Bilad al Rus, Sana’a governorate on April 22. They accuse him of corruption and seizing their salaries. This is the second time they have barred Zeyad from entering the camp in less than ten days.[7]
  • A U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on the implications of drone strikes on April 23. Farea al Muslimi, a Yemeni youth activist, testified before the subcommittee. According to al Muslimi, ongoing drone strikes do more to empower AQAP than weaken it.[8]
  • Al Malahem Media Foundation, AQAP’s media arm, released a video on April 18 in which a Yemeni man and his son confess their roles in the killing of AQAP commander Adnan al Qadhi near Sana’a in November 2012. The son admitted to planting tracking chips on al Qadhi.[9]
  • Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned to Sana’a on April 23 after traveling to Saudi Arabia on April 1 for medical treatment.[10]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Kenyan convoy outside of Dhobley, Lower Jubba region on April 23, sparking a prolonged battle between the two sides. Both heavy and light artillery were used during the battle and the fighting ended after al Shabaab detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and launched rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) at the Kenyan fighters. Kenyan jets are now carrying out aerial attacks against nearby al Shabaab bases. Casualties from the incident have not been reported, however, al Shabaab claims to have killed 12 Kenyan fighters and injured 15 others.[11]
  • A roadside IED detonated near Jowhar airport, Lower Shabelle region on April 22, killing one Somali soldier and injuring two others. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[12]
  • Kenyan police continued to conduct security operations in Garissa, Kenya on April 24. So far, Kenyan authorities have detained 500 people, mostly ethnic Somalis.[13]
  • Al Shabaab released a video to jihadist forums on April 23 showing a ceremony welcoming eight Somali soldiers who left the Somali Army and joined al Shabaab. In the movie an al Shabaab official said that any defected Somali soldiers would be welcomed in al Shabaab’s ranks.[14]
  • The United States Government reissued a travel warning for Burundi on April 22. The warning states that the Somali terrorist organization al Shabaab has threatened terrorist attacks in Burundi due to the country’s intervention in Somalia, and that al Shabaab may also be targeting western interests in Burundi.[15]
  • Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn announced that Ethiopia was beginning to accelerate its total removal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia. The country has been waiting on AMISOM reinforcements to take over areas under Ethiopian control but reinforcements are slow-coming and Ethiopia no longer wants to shoulder the financial burden of keeping troops in Somalia.[16]
  • Somalia is planning to sign 30 different oil and gas sharing contracts this year. Several of the companies interested in signing contracts are Shell, Eni SpA and ConocoPhilips.[17]
  • Another delegation of elders attending the Jubbaland conference left Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on April 24, saying that local leaders and elders were not allowed to voice their opinion.[18]
  • Protestetors gathered outside Villa Somalia, Mogadishu on April 24 to protest Mogadishu Mayor Mohamed Nur Tarsan and the corrupt land-grabbing schemes carried out by his administration.[19]
  • The German government asked the European Union for help facilitating training missions for Somali and Malian troops.[20]       

[1] “Security checkpoint in al Hudaydah seizes weapons and explosives hidden inside a car,” Al Masdar Online, April 23, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44634
[2] “Ma’rib: Young man shot dead by a soldier from the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade in a dispute over qat,” Mareb Press, April 23, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54733&lng=arabic
[3] “6 people injured in clashes in Aden,” Al Tagheer, April 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.al-tagheer.com/news56685.html
[4] “Youth activist killed by armed gang in Sana’a,” Mareb Press, April 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54760&lng=arabic
[6] “3 arrested for bombings in al Bayda,” Barakish, April 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=49043
[7] “The ‘Orjan’ missiles brigade expels its commander from the camp without a car,” Akbar al Yom, April 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.akhbaralyom.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=66617
[8] Tabassum Zakaria, “Yemeni at U.S. hearing describes drone strike on his village,” Yahoo News, April 23, 2013. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/yemeni-u-hearing-describes-drone-strike-village-000458591.html
“Testimony of Farea Al-Muslimi,” YouTube, April 23, 2013. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIb0wMfOFhw
[9] “AQAP Video Shows Confessions of Spy, Child for Roles in Killing Official,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 19, 2013. Available at SITE
[10] “Saleh returns to Sana’a after a month-long medical trip,” Mareb Press, April 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54746&lng=arabic
[11] “Heavy Fighting Between Kenyan Troops and Al Shabaab in Dobley,” Shabelle, April 23, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/heavy-fighting-between-kenyan-troops-and-alshabab-in-dobley/
“Tweet about Attack on Kenyan’s in Dhobley,” HSMPress1, April 23, 2013. Available: https://twitter.com/HSMPRESS1/status/326769899739443200
[12] “Soldier Killed in an Explosion in Middle Shabelle,” Radio Dalsan, April 23, 2013. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/april-24-2013-morning-headlines/
[13] “Kenyan Security Forces Arrest 500 People Mostly Somali Ethnic in Garissa Town,” Raxanreeb, April 24, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/kenyan-security-forces-arrest-500-people-mostly-somali-ethnic/
[14] “Shabaab Video Shows Ceremony for Repentance of 8 Somali Soldiers,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 23, 2013. Available at SITE.
[15] “Travel Warning: Burundi,” U.S. State Department, April 22, 2013. Available: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5934.html
[16] “Ethiopia Says Preparing to Pull Troops out of Somalia,” Reuters, April 23, 2013. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/23/us-somalia-ethiopia-troops-idUSBRE93M19C20130423?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews
[17] “Somali Targets Shell, Eni for Oil, Gas Output-Sharing Contracts,” Bloomberg, April 22, 2013. Available: http://origin-www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-22/somalia-targets-shell-eni-for-oil-gas-output-sharing-contracts.html
[18] “Another Delegation Withdraws From the Kismayu Meeting,” Shabelle, April 24, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/another-delegation-withdraws-from-the-kismayu-meeting/
[19] “Demonstrations against the Mayor of Mogadishu,” Shabelle, April 24, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/demonstrations-against-the-mayor-of-mogadishu/
[20] “Germany Asks the EU to Help Train Somalia and Mali Troops,” April 24, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/germany-asks-the-eu-to-help-train-somalia-and-mali-troops/