Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 30, 2013

Yemen: Gunmen blow up oil pipeline in Wadi Abeidah, Ma’rib governorate; suspected AQAP militants ambush truck in al Zahra district, al Bayda governorate, killing one; security forces, armed Southern Movement supporters clash in al Dhaleh, al Dhaleh governorate; Sana’a Criminal Court suspends work following death threats; Yemeni state news denies prime minister’s resignation; tribes clash in al Hatarish, Sana’a governorate; UN Special Advisor Jamal Benomar arrives in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Omar Hammami tweets about standoff with al Shabaab militants; al Shabaab militants attack Somali Army base at Kismayo airport, Lower Jubba region; Somali and AMISOM police forces conduct security operations in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu; Puntland authorities execute 13 al Shabaab militants in Boosaaso, Bari region; police in Kampala, Uganda prepare security for upcoming police training conference; AMISOM troops replace withdrawing Ethiopian soldiers in Gofgadud, Bay region; UN Secretary General appoints new representative to Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Gunmen blew up an oil pipeline in Wadi Abeidah, Ma’rib governorate on April 30, halting oil flow to Ras Issa terminal on the Red Sea. The same gunmen blew up power lines in Ma’rib yesterday. In response, President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi held an extraordinary meeting with his cabinet and instructed the ministers of defense, interior, and justice to apprehend the gunmen.[1]
     
  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants ambushed a mail truck in al Zahra district, al Bayda governorate on April 30, killing a postal official and wounding three other people. The militants stole 20 million Yemeni riyals—the truck was transporting 320 million riyals—before fleeing the scene. [2]
  • Clashes broke out between security forces and armed Southern Movement supporters near the governorate building in al Dhaleh, al Dhaleh governorate on April 30. Four local civilians were injured. The Southern Movement supporters have been laying siege to the building for nearly one month.[3]
  • The Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a suspended the cases dealing with state security on April 30 after receiving death threats from AQAP. The court was scheduled to sentence fifteen individuals today accused of belonging to an armed group that follows AQAP.[4]
  • Yemeni state news denied reports on April 29 that Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa, who is currently in Jordan undergoing medical treatment, is resigning and seeking political asylum abroad.[5]
  • Clashes between tribesmen from Bani Hushaysh and Bani al Harith that began on April 28 continued in al Hatarish, Sana’a governorate on April 29, leaving several dead and wounded. Local tribes are reportedly mediating between the two sides.[6]
  • Jamal Benomar, the UN Special Advisor on Yemen, arrived in Sana’a on April 30.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Omar Hammami resurfaced on Twitter on April 29 detailing his standoff with al Shabaab militants. He tweeted that militants made him appear before a court, which ultimately found him innocent, for saying two jihadist suicide bombers went to hell and feeling sorry for the “apostates” that were killed in the April 14 Mogadishu court bombing. After being told his life was still threatened, he and his comrades fled into the forest where they engaged with al Shabaab fighters, killing three of them. The struggle is ongoing.[8]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali Army base at Kismayo airport, Lower Jubba region on April 30. Al Shabaab militants launched rocket propelled grenades at the base and Somali troops immediately engaged al Shabaab soldiers in a firefight. Kenyan troops provided back up. The fighting lasted for several hours and caused many casualties but exact numbers are not known.[9]
  • Somali and AMISOM police forces conducted security operations in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu on April 29. The Somali and AMISOM troops captured hundreds of youths whom they thought suspicious.[10]
  • Puntland authorities executed 13 al Shabaab militants in Boosaaso, Bari region on April 30. The twelve men and one woman had been incarcerated since being found guilty by a Puntland court one month prior.[11]
  • Al Shabaab commander in Middle Shabelle, Mohamed Abu Cabdalla, said that he received hundreds of newly recruited jihadi fighters to help increase al Shabaab’s war effort. These new fighters were seen staging a march near Barawe, Lower Shabelle region.[12] 
  • Police in Kampala, Uganda carried out security and anti-terror procedures on April 29 to ensure safety for the upcoming Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) operational training.[13]
  • AMISOM troops replaced withdrawing Ethiopian soldiers in Gofgadud, Bay region on April 30.[14]
  • United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed a new Special Representative to Somalia on April 29. British diplomat Nicholas Kay will replace outgoing representative Augustine Mahiga on June 3.[15]   

[1] “Yemen pipeline attacked, oil flow halts: officials,” AFP, April 30, 2013. Available: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Apr-30/215585-yemen-pipeline-attacked-oil-flow-halts-officials.ashx#axzz2Rx9t4o9z
“Hadi angrily tells his Cabinet ministers: Apprehend the terrorists and bring them to justice,” Al Masdar Online, April 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44934
[2] “Postal official killed in ambush and looting by suspected AQAP militants in al Bayda,” Al Masdar Online, April 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44933
“Post office official in al Bayda killed in ambush,” 26 September, April 30, 201 [Arabic]. Available: http://26sep.net/news_details.php?sid=91195
[3] “Al Dhaleh: 4 injured in clashes between security forces and gunmen surrounding the governorate building,” Mareb Press, April 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=54969&lng=arabic
[4] “Sana'a Criminal Court suspends work because of AQAP death threats,” Barakish, April 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=49391
[5] “Official sources deny rumors surrounding Prime Minister Basendwa,” Yemen Post, April 29, 2013. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=6831&MainCat=3
“Official source confirms that the Prime Minister will return soon and exercise  his duties after he completes his medical trip,” Saba Net, April 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/ar/news307921.htm
[6] “Casualties from clashes in al Hatarish, north of Sana’a, and news reports of mediation efforts to stop the violence,” Akhbar al Yom, April 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.akhbaralyom.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=66781
[7] “Jamal Benomar arrives in Sana’a for his twentieth trip to Yemen,” Al Masdar Online, April 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44929
[8] “Surrounded by Somali Militants, American Jihadi Live-Tweets His Standoff,” Wired, April 29, 2013. Available: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/04/omar-hammami-standoff/
“Hammami Tweet: Killed Three al Shabaab Militants,” Twitter, April 29, 2013. Available: https://twitter.com/abumamerican/status/328944707394736128
[9] “Reports of Kismayu Fighting,” Shabelle, April 30, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/reports-of-kismayu-fighting/
[10] “Somalia: Government Forces Conduct Security Operations in Areas of the Capital Today,” Raxanreeb, April 29, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-government-forces-conduct-security-operations-in-areas-of-the-capital-today/
[11] “Somalia: Puntland Executes 13 Convicted al Shabaab Members,” Raxanreeb, April 30, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-puntland-executes-13-convicted-alshabab-members/
[12] “Somalia: Al Shabaab Says They Have Got Newly Trained Fighters in Somalia,” Raxanreeb, April 30, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-al-shabab-says-they-have-got-newly-trained-fighters-in-somalia/
[13] “Police Prepare for Regional Terror Attacks,” Daily Monitor, April 30, 2013. Available: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Police-prepare-for-regional-terror-attacks/-/688334/1762156/-/ryv19k/-/index.html
[14] “Somalia: Ethiopian Forces Withdraw New Town in Somalia, AMISOM Took it Immediately,” Raxanreeb, April 30, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-ethiopian-forces-withdraw-new-town-in-somalia-amisom-took-it-immediately/
[15] “Ban Appoints British Diplomat as New UN Envoy for Somalia,” UN News Centre, April 29, 2013. Available: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44783&Cr=somalia&Cr1=#.UX_IC0IqmSp