Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 4, 2012
Yemen: Kidnapped Filipino sailors freed by their captors; Republican Guards renew shelling of tribal areas in Arhab; engineering team repairing oil pipeline attacked in Shabwah governorate; defense minister says he will resign if military removes presence from Sana’a; air force officers and soldiers threaten more sit-ins if commander is not fired
Horn of Africa: Suicide bombing at Mogadishu’s national theater kills at least ten people; TFG and AMISOM improve information sharing; Kenyan president appeals for support for AMISOM; IGAD and EU officials meet
Yemen Security Brief
- Three Filipino sailors, kidnapped by Bani Jabr tribesmen in Ma'rib governorate on March 20, were freed by their captors. The kidnappers, who had held the sailors in hopes of releasing one of their fellow tribesmen from jail, agreed to tribal mediation and released the men without having their demands answered.
- The Republican Guard renewed its shelling of tribal areas in Arhab, killing one person and wounding another in the village of Bani Jarmuz. A local source has indicated that Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the eldest son of the former president and head of the Republican Guard, has refused President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s request stop bombardment of these areas.
- Gunmen attacked an engineering team that was working on repairing an oil pipeline in Shabwah governorate on April 3. One worker was injured. The pipeline had been blown up by militants the previous day. An unnamed group “linked to al Qaeda” claimed responsibility for both attacks.
- Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed said on April 3 that he would resign if the Yemeni Military Committee carried out its plans to withdraw its forces and military checkpoints from Sana’a. “We faced many impediments, but we will stay in Sana’a whatever the circumstances are,” he said. He also said that the expansion of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was in some cases due to such withdrawals.
- Officers and soldiers of the Yemen Air Force vowed on April 3 to resume their sit-ins if President Hadi does not fulfill his promise of firing the air force commander, Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar, half-brother of former President Saleh.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A suicide bombing targeted a ceremony at the newly-reopened national theater in Mogadishu attended by Transitional Federal Government (TFG) officials. TFG Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali was speaking when the bomb detonated; he escaped without injury.. At least ten people were killed in the blast, including the Somali Olympic Committee president, Aden Yabarow Wiis, and the head of the football federation, Said Mohamed Nur. The head of Mogadishu’s ambulance service reported that dozens of people were wounded, including Somalia’s national planning minister. Some reports say that the suicide bomber was female. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, but said that the explosive devices had been planted ahead of time and it was not a suicide operation.
- Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki appealed to Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress for support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
- AMISOM and the TFG launched the Joint Fusion and Liaison Unit to improve information sharing. Head of AMISOM’s analysis cell, Fred Ngogo Gatereste, said that the information sharing has “enabled the defeat of al-Shabaab terrorists in the Daynile area.”
- The European Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on April 3. Representatives from each body discussed stability in the Horn of Africa, and urged Somali leaders to take the necessary political steps to establish a permanent government.