Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 25, 2013

Yemen: Explosive device targeting 27th Mechanized Brigade detonates in Ghayl Ba Wazir district, Hadramawt governorate; resident of Rada’a, al Bayda governorate with ties to Yemeni government-AQAP mediation committee shot and killed; Hadi presents Major General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar with new office; four al Houthi rebels die in accidental rocket explosion in Qahza, Sa’ada governorate; Saleh loyalists close medical clinic in Cairo district, Taiz governorate; Bulgarian diplomat escapes kidnapping attempt in Sana’a; Yemeni authorities prepare to deport 600 Ethiopians

Horn of Africa: AMISOM commanders claim dismantling al Shabaab ambush point near Hoosingo, Lower Jubba region; message criticizing al Shabaab leader posted to jihadist forums; Kenyan authorities say al Shabaab is profiting off illegal sugar trade; human rights organization accuses Kenyan police of human rights abuses in Garissa, Kenya; British government pledges to help Somali intelligence services; UK foreign minister opens embassy in Mogadishu, meets with Somali prime minister; Kenyan president meets with Ethiopian prime minister in Nairobi, Kenya; Ethiopian foreign ministry denies claims of troops withdrawal from Somalia; Somali prime minister visits Somali Army bases in Mogadishu; Somaliland president meets with U.S. senator in Washington, D.C.

Yemen Security Brief

  • An explosive device targeting a 27th Mechanized Brigade patrol was remotely detonated in Ghayl Ba Wazir district, Hadramawt governorate on April 24. There were no reported injuries.[1]
  • Abdel Hamid Hamid al Din, a resident of Rada’a, al Bayda governorate with ties to a member of the committee mediating between the Yemeni government and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was shot and killed by unknown gunmen on April 24. The gunmen, on a motorcycle, were thought to be targeting prominent local sheikh Abdul Salam al Nusairi.[2]
  • Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi presented Major General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, the presidential advisor on military and security affairs, with his new office in the presidential palace in Sana’a on April 23. Al Ahmar is the former commander of the First Armored Division.[3]
  • Four al Houthi rebels were killed when a rocket accidentally exploded in Qahza, Sa’ada governorate on April 23. In response, activists demanded that the al Houthis move their military sites and weapons warehouses away from populated areas.[4]
  • Gunmen loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh closed a medical clinic in Cairo district, Taiz governorate on April 24, preventing people from entering the building and calling for Saleh to return to power. Eyewitnesses report that some of these gunmen had also stormed the education office in Taiz on April 17.[5]
  • A Bulgarian diplomat reportedly escaped an armed kidnapping attempt in Sana’a over the past few days.[6]
  • Yemeni authorities are preparing to deport 600 Ethiopians who entered the country illegally.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Review

  • AMISOM commanders commented on the battle between their troops and al Shabaab forces outside Dhobley, Lower Jubba on April 23. Officials claimed that they were able to dismantle an al Shabaab ambush point, killing six militants and recovering several armaments.[8]
  • The Islamic World Issues Study Center released a message on its website and jihadist forums on April 24 in which a senior-level al Shabaab member criticized the organization’s leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair. The message was written by Zubair al Muhajir, a member of al Shabaab’s Shura Council, and described problems within al Shabaab, mainly the mistreatment and dismissal of foreign fighters.[9]
  • According to Kenyan authorities al Shabaab turned to the sugar trade to make money following the loss of Kismayo in October 2012, and is profiting off of illegal sugar exports to Kenya.[10]
  • A human rights organization accused Kenyan police officers of human rights violations during the recent security operations in Garissa, Kenya.[11]
  • The United Kingdom minister for African affairs, while attending a forum in Washington, D.C. on April 24, said that the British government will help build up Somali intelligence to better fight al Shabaab.[12]
  • British Foreign Secretary William Hague traveled to Mogadishu on April 25 in order to open the new British embassy in Somalia. Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon met with Secretary Hague during his visit.[13]
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailamariam Desalegn in Nairobi, Kenya on April 24. The two men reaffirmed that their countries would help rebuild Somalia.[14]
  • Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry refuted claims made by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn saying the country was planning on removing all of its troops from Somalia immediately.[15]
  • Somali Prime Minister Shirdon visited Somali Army bases around Mogadishu on April 24, urging the soldiers to make sure that their weapons did not fall into enemy hands.[16]
  • Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud “Silanyo” met with Senator Jeff Flake R-Arizona, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on African Affairs, in Washington, D.C. on April 24. President Silanyo told Senator Flake that Somaliland continues to push for recognition of independence.[17]     

[1] “Interior: Military patrol survives bombing in Hadramawt,” Al Masdar Online, April 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44678
[2] “Local resident killed shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Rada’a,” 26 September, April 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://26sep.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=91037
“Breaking: Escape of Sheikh al Nusairi from assassination attempt and killing of his companion in downtown Rada’a,” Barakish, April 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=49052
[3] “Newspaper: President Hadi presents Major General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar his new office in the presidential palace,” Al Tagheer, April 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.al-tagheer.com/news56723.html
[4] “Sa’ada: 4 al Houthis killed in accidental rocket explosion…activists are demanding they move weapons warehouses from residential neighborhoods,” Akhbar al Yom, April 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.akhbaralyom.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=66648
[5] “Taiz: Gunmen close ‘October 14' clinic and call for Saleh’s return to power,” Mareb Press, April 24, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54759&lng=arabic
[6] “Bulgarian diplomat escapes kidnapping attempt in Sana'a,” Barakish, April 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=49069
[7] “Arrangements are being made to deport 600 Ethiopian infiltrators,” Barakish, April 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=22&id=49083
[8] “AMISOM Troops Dismantle a Terrorist Ambush Point in Southern Somalia,” AMISOM, April 21, 2013. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/april-25-2013-morning-headlines/
[9] “Second Shabaab Official Publicly Criticizes Leader over Fighter Grievances,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 24, 2013. Available at SITE.
[10] “Sugar Imports from Somali Fund al Shabaab Kenyan Officials Say,” Sabahi Online, April 24, 2013. Available: http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2013/04/24/feature-01
[11] “Police Accused of Abuse in Garissa Operation,” The Kenyan Star, April 24, 2013. Available: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-118144/police-accused-abuse-garissa-operation
[12] “U.K. to Support Somalia’s Intelligence Organ,” Shabelle, April 25, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/u-k-to-support-somalias-intelligence-organ/
[13] “William Hague Opens New British Embassy in Somalia,” ITV News, April 25, 2013. Available: http://hiiraan.com/news4/2013/Apr/29034/william_hague_opens_new_british_embassy_in_somalia.aspx
“Somalia: The World Will See That Somalia Has Turned The Corner, Prime Minister Tells UK Foreign Secretary,” Raxanreeb, April 25, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-the-world-will-see-that-somalia-has-turned-the-corner-prime-minister-tells-uk-foreign-secretary/
[14] “Kenya, Ethiopia to Help Rebuild Somalia,” Capital FM, April 24, 2013. Available: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2013/04/kenya-ethiopia-to-help-rebuild-somalia/
[15] “Ethiopia Denies Planning Immediate Pullout from Somalia,” Shabelle, April 25, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/ethiopia-denies-planning-immediate-pullout-from-somalia/
[16] “Somalia Prime Minister Visits Army Bases,” Shabelle, April 24, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/somalia-prime-minster-visits-army-bases/
[17] “Somaliland: President Silanyo Meets with a Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for African Affairs,” Somaliland Press, April 24, 2013. Available: http://somalilandpress.com/somalilandpresident-silanyo-meets-with-a-ranking-member-of-the-senate-committee-on-foreign-relations-for-african-affairs-41237