Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 26, 2013

Yemen: Interior Ministry raises readiness in response to AQAP plots in al Bayda governorate; Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) urges President Obama to consider lifting a ban on repatriating Yemenis from Guantanamo Bay; al Houthi youth refuse to vacate Change Square in Sana’a, demand implementation of President Hadi’s military decrees; General People’s Congress (GPC) leader in Ibb governorate assassinated; Ma’rib tribes threaten to disrupt oil facilities; Abyani popular committees apprehend two AQAP spies in Jaar

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab assassin attempts to kill Omar Hammami; Somali deputy chief prosecutor shot and killed in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu; newspaper journalist survives assassination attempt in Hargeisa, Woqooyi Galbeed region; UN political chief calls for in-country UN Mission in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni Interior Ministry announced on April 26 that it has detected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) plots to target military and security sites in al Bayda governorate and has heightened its readiness in response.[1]
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, sent a letter to National Security Advisor Tom Donilon on April 25 urging the White House to consider lifting a ban on repatriating 56 low-level Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen. Feinstein had asked the administration to halt all transfers to Yemen until the country stabilized in 2009 following the attempted bombing of an American airplane by AQAP.[2]
  • Youth linked to the al Houthi front group Ansar Allah refused to vacate Change Square in Sana’a on April 26, despite the decision made by the organizing committee of the revolution last week to halt sit-ins and protests across the country.  They issued a statement saying that they would not leave the square until Major General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, former commander of the First Armored Decision, implements President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s military decrees.[3]
  • One of the leaders of the General People’s Congress (GPC) in Ibb governorate, Sheikh Mohamed Hamid Daris, was assassinated on April 24 by unknown gunmen.[4]
  • A delegation made up of tribesmen from Abeidah and al Ashraf in Ma’rib governorate has given the Yemeni government until April 29 to move the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade out of Ma’rib and change the leadership of the Third Military District. If not, then they have threatened to block all oil facilities in the Safir region.[5]
  • Ali al Sayyed, vice president of the popular committees in Khanfar district, Abyan governorate, said that the committees had apprehended two spies working for AQAP in Jaar. The spies reportedly confessed that AQAP had bought them motorcycles, among other things, in return for monitoring members of the committees.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Omar Hammami tweeted that a well-known al Shabaab assassin shot him in the neck, but that the injury was not critical, on April 25. Hammami also tweeted that al Shabaab attacked his camp with an army saying “Abu Zubayr has gone mad. He’s starting a civil war.”[7]
  • The Deputy Chief Prosecutor in Somalia was shot and killed in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu on April 25. One other person was wounded in the shooting. The gunmen were able to flee the scene and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[8]
  • A newspaper journalist survived an assassination attempt in Hargeisa, Woqooyi Galbeed region on April 25. Two men dressed in police uniforms began to beat the journalist and attempted to shoot him before coworkers were able to defuse the situation. One of the attackers was arrested but the other was able to flee the scene. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[9]
  • The United Nations political chief told the UN Security Council that an in-country UN Mission was needed in Somalia in order to better assist in state- and peace-building.[10]      

[1] “Yemen reveals terrorist plots targeting military and security sites, raises state of readiness,” Mareb Press, April 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54832&lng=arabic
[2]Ryan J. Reilly, “Dianne Feinstein: Guantanamo Desperation ‘Unprecedented,’” Huffington Post, April 25, 2013. Available: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/guantanamo-dianne-feinstein_n_3157000.html
[3] “Tension hangs over Sana’a after the youth refuse to evacuate the square,” Al Mogaz, April 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almogaz.com/news/politics/2013/04/26/877234
[4] “Sheikh Daris assassinated in the middle of Ibb,” Barakish, April 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=49123
[5] “Ma’rib: Abeidah and Ashraf tribes give state 5 days to move Third Mountain Infantry Brigade out of the governorate, threaten to stop all facilities in Safer,” Mareb Press, April 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54808&lng=arabic
[6] “Abyan: Committees apprehend two AQAP spies in Ja’ar,” Akhbar al Yom, April 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.akhbaralyom.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=66671
[7] “American Jihadi in Somalia Tweets on Kill Attempt,” AP, April 26, 2013. Available: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AF_SOMALIA_WANTED_AMERICAN?SECTION=HOME&SITE=AP&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
“Omar Hammami Tweet About Being Shot in the Neck,” Twitter, April 25, 2013. Available: https://twitter.com/abumamerican/status/327478460891156480
“Omar Hammami Tweet: Zubayr Gone Mad,” Twitter, April 25, 2013. Available: https://twitter.com/abumamerican/status/327633960245014528
[8] “Mogadishu Shooting: Top Somali Legal Official Killed,” BBC, April 26, 2013. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22306625?
“Somalia: Gunmen Shot and Killed Somalia Deputy National Prosecutor in Mogadishu,” Raxanreeb, April 26, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-gunmen-shot-and-killed-somalia-national-prosecutor-in-mogadishu/
[9] “Somalia: A Journalist in Somaliland Survives Planned Assasination Attempt,” Raxanreeb, April 25, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-a-journalist-in-somaliland-survives-planned-assassination-attempt/
[10] “Given Challenges Still Facing Somalia, a UN Mission is needed to Consolidate Peace, Official Says,” UN News Centre, April 25, 2013. Available: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44756&Cr=somalia&Cr1=#.UXqA-UIqmSp