Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 1, 2012
Yemen: Ansar al Sharia militants kill two policemen and wound three others in Jaar; Yemeni President reportedly refuses meeting with Iranian envoy; kidnapper of Italian embassy guard in Sana’a promises to release him within the next two days
Horn of Africa: Two would-be suicide bombers killed outside of National Constituent Assembly as it passed new constitution in Mogadishu; TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed visits Bal’ad; Qeybdid elected as new president of Galmudug; al Shabaab releases eight communiqués claiming the assassination of a Somali parliamentarian in Mogadishu and other attacks; Somali comedian killed in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Two suspected Ansar al Sharia militants on motorcycles killed two policemen and wounded three others when they opened fire at a police station in Jaar in Abyan governorate on July 31. The militants managed to escape.
- A Yemeni Foreign Ministry official reported that Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi refused to receive the visiting Iranian envoy. Hadi’s actions reportedly signaled an expression of Sana’a's discontent with Tehran's policy toward Yemen. Yemen authorities uncovered a spy ring led by a former commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard on July 18. The ring, which stationed operations in Sana’a, had also been reportedly operating in the Horn of Africa. Hadi has urged Iran to stay out of Yemen in response. The Iranian envoy had been sent to invite Hadi to the Non-Aligned Movement’s Tehran summit this August.
- The recently identified kidnapper of the Italian embassy guard in Sana’a, Ali Nasser Huraidkan, reported to Mareb Press that he will release abducted Alessandro Spadotto within the next two days. Huraidkan said, "yesterday we reached some objectives and I hope that the issue is resolved in a way that he will be freed today or tomorrow.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The National Constituent Assembly (NCA) passed Somalia’s constitution in Mogadishu. The 825-member group approved the constitution with 621 for, 13 against, and 11 abstentions. The new constitution states that the country’s laws must be in line with shari’a law. It also bans female circumcision and gives women the right to an abortion to save their lives. Before the vote, two suicide bombers tried to attack the meeting, but were shot and killed by Somali security forces at the gate, according to a police officer. One Somali soldier was wounded.
- Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed reportedly visited Bal’ad town, which was seized by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and TFG forces on June 26, in Middle Shabelle region. Sheikh Ahmed visited the town in order to assess the security situation and living conditions.
- Abdi Hassan Awale Qeybdid was elected as Galmudug’s new president. Qeybdid, a former Somali warlord, allegedly received 20 out of 22 votes. In a speech after being elected president, Qeybdid promised to bolster security in the region and improve relations with neighboring regional administrations.
- Al Shabaab released eight communiqués through its media arm, al Kata’ib Media Foundation, on jihadist forums on July 31. Al Shabaab reported on various attacks and activities throughout Somalia on July 10-11 and July 14-19. Most notably, al Shabaab claimed the assassination of parliamentarian Mahmoud Garweyne by rigging his vehicle with explosives which detonated on July 16 in Mogadishu.
- A witness reported that Somali comedian Abdi Jaylani Malaq was killed by two gunmen as he was heading home in Mogadishu’s Waaberi district on July 31. The gunmen managed to flee the scene. Malaq, also known as Marshaale, worked for Universal TV, a London-based Somali television channel.