Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 29, 2013

Yemen: Suspected AQAP militants kill five soldiers in Rada'a, al Bayda governorate; suspected AQAP militants assassinate security official in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate; militants attack power lines in al Shabwan, Ma’rib governorate; security forces, gunmen clash in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate; pro-south demonstrations mark anniversary of the 1994 Yemeni civil war; Southern Movement supporters take to the streets in Hadramawt, Shabwah, Abyan, Lahij, and al Mahrah governorates; Yemeni Air Force reportedly strikes AQAP targets in Ma’rib and Abyan governorates; soldiers from the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade rebel against their commander, deploy in Ma’rib, Ma’rib governorate; soldiers from the Tenth Brigade cut off road in al Hudaydah governorate, demand the release of their commander; AQAP releases English transcript of December 2012 video; President Hadi orders the release of four Southern Movement leaders from jail

Horn of Africa: Ugandan authorities receive intelligence of potential al Shabaab attack; Somali president meets with Kenyan president in Mombasa, Kenya; Somali President meets with Puntland president in Garowe, Nugaal region; Somali speaker of parliament travels to Istanbul, Turkey 

Yemen Security Brief  

  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants killed five Yemeni soldiers in an attack on a security checkpoint in Rada'a, al Bayda governorate on April 27. Two militants were also killed in the attack.[1]  
  • Suspected AQAP militants shot and killed Brigadier General Ali Ahmed Abdulrazzaq, a military intelligence official, in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on April 27.[2]  
  • Militants attacked the Ma’rib-Sana’a power lines in al Shabwan, Ma’rib governorate on April 28, several hours after the Yemeni military commission vowed to curb attacks on state infrastructure.[3]  
  • Clashes broke out between security forces and gunmen in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on April 28 after the gunmen blocked a street to protest the arrest of a tribal sheikh. One officer was killed and several others were wounded.[4]  
  • Tens of thousands of people demonstrated across Yemen on April 27 to mark the nineteenth anniversary of the 1994 Yemeni civil war. Southern Movement supporters took to the streets in Hadramawt, Shabwah, Abyan, Lahij, and al Mahrah governorates, shutting down shops and local facilities in a wide-spread civil disobedience campaign.[5]  
  • The Yemeni Air Force reportedly launched strikes in Ma’rib and Abyan governorates on April 28, targeting areas linked to AQAP.[6]  
  • Soldiers from the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade, which operates in Ma’rib governorate, are reportedly rebelling against their commander, Brigadier General Mansour 'Ayed. According to sources, the brigade deployed in Ma’rib and erected checkpoints last week to capture the tribal militants responsible for an attack that killed four soldiers. Brigadier General ‘Ayed and Brigadier General Ahmed Saif al Yafa'i, the commander of the Third Military District, have been unable to control the troops.[7]  
  • Soldiers from the Tenth Brigade, which operates in al Hudaydah governorate, cut off the road connecting al Hudaydah and Sana’a on April 28, demanding the release of their commander who is being held in a military prison in Sana’a. They brought out tanks and armored vehicles to block the road and detained more than 200 trucks. The commander, called “The Russian,” is accused of inciting the brigade to seize the property of local citizens and insubordination.[8]  
  • AQAP released a booklet on April 26 with an edited English transcript of "Jihad of the Ummah," a video it first released on December 23, 2012. Abu Humeid al Ansari wrote and edited the transcript, which is the first in a series.[9]   
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi ordered the release of four Southern Movement leaders from the central prisons in Sana’a and Aden on April 29.[10]  

Horn of Africa Security Brief  

  • Ugandan authorities said that they have received intelligence that al Shabaab militants are planning to carry out a terrorist attack in East Africa and specifically Uganda. Ugandan police are taking extra security precautions to prevent a potential attack.[11]  
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa, Kenya on April 28. The two leaders said that they are both focused on defeating al Shabaab because it is Somalia’s biggest impediment to unity.[12]  
  • President Mohamud traveled to Garowe, Nugaal region on April 28, and met with Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole. President Mohamud urged greater Somali unity, and President Farole asked for members of the Somali parliament, who previously committed war crimes, to be tried.[13]
  • Somali Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Osman Jawari traveled to Istanbul, Turkey on April 28, and thanked several aid agencies for their efforts in helping Somalia rebuild.[14]  

[2] “Yemen military intelligence official assassinated,” Reuters, April 27, 2013. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/27/us-yemen-assassination-idUSBRE93Q05W20130427
[3] “New sabotage attack on power lines in al Shabwan, Ma’rib knocking the second circuit out of service,” Saba Net, April 28, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/ar/news307739.htm
[4] “Soldier killed, three others wounded in clashes with gunmen in Mukalla after tribal sheikh arrested,” Al Masdar Online, April 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44863
[5] “Large protest in southern Yemen to mark anniversary of start of civil war, demand secession,” Washington Post, April 27, 2013. Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/5-soldiers-2-al-qaida-militants-killed-in-central-yemen-intelligence-officer-assassinated/2013/04/27/135a4320-af3c-11e2-b59e-adb43da03a8a_story.html “Disobedience and demonstrations in southern Yemen on the anniversary of the civil war,” Al Jazeera, April 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.aljazeera.net/news/pages/bd004702-bae9-48ba-86e8-cb00e236d470
[6] “Airplanes launch strikes against AQAP militants in Abyan and Ma’rib,” Mareb Press, April 28, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54911&lng=arabic
[7] “Rebellious military brigade, led by one soldier, is trying to control the city of Ma’rib,” Barakish, April 28, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=49279
[8] “Al Hudaydah: Soldiers detain 200 trucks at the 16th kilometer…protests denouncing the neglect of residents of al Salif,” Mareb Press, April 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54964&lng=arabic
[9] “AQAP Releases Booklet with English Transcript of ‘Jihad of the Ummah’ Video,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 26, 2013. Available at SITE
[10] “Four Southern Movement detainees released, including Bajjash al Aghbari,” Al Masdar Online, April 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44875
[11] “Uganda on Alert over al Shabaab Threat,” Sabahi Online, April 28, 2013. Available: http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/04/28/newsbrief-02
[12] “Kenya and Somalia Vow to Fights Terrorism Threat,” Daily Nation, April 28, 2013. Available: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Kenya-and-Somalia-vow-to-fight-terrorism-threat/-/1056/1761038/-/uvrd7fz/-/index.html
[13] “Somalia and Puntland President Hold Joint Press Conference in Garowe,” Raxanreeb, April 28, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-and-puntland-presidents-hold-joint-press-conference-in-garawe/ “Somalia: United Somalia is the Only Option We Have, President Says,” Raxanreeb, April 29, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-united-somalia-is-the-only-option-we-have-president-says/ “Somalia: Farole Calls for Prosecution of Warlords in Somalia Parliament,” Markacadeey, April 29, 2013. Available: http://www.markacadeey.com/April2013/20130429_1e.htm
[14] “Somalia: Speaker Jawari in Turkey for Talks with Government and Agencies,” Raxanreeb, April 29, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-speaker-jawari-in-turkey-for-talks-with-government-and-agencies/