Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 12, 2011

Yemen: Lawder locals arrest fifteen-man al Qaeda cell; gunmen attack security checkpoint, violate Taiz ceasefire; Yemenis protest countrywide; Abdul Janadi  warns  JMP against establishing a national council

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab release video eulogizing Osama bin Laden; al Shabaab officials give statements demonstrating internal tensions; bomb explodes in area previously controlled by al Shabaab; al Shabaab forcibly recruits new members; Somali TFG and AMISOM troops control fourteen districts of Mogadishu; Somali TFG troops clash with Ras Kamboni militias; Somali military commander accuses local administrations in Badbado incident; U.S. Secretary of State Clinton announces more aid for Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Locals supporting armed tribesmen arrested a cell of fifteen al Qaeda-affiliated militants in Lawder. The fifteen militants were arrested after they reportedly “placed a bomb inside the car of member of one of the popular committees to blow up the hospital where the car was parked.” The individuals arrested were detained at a makeshift prison in a local school.[1]
  • Yemeni government security officials in Taiz reported that gunmen from a militia affiliated with the Yemeni Islah Party attacked a security checkpoint in Taiz, violating a newly implemented ceasefire agreement. The gunmen killed one soldier and wounded another at the checkpoint. Two civilians were also injured. Yemeni officials in Taiz claimed the attack was a deliberate breach of the ceasefire designed to upset peace and security.[2]
  • Information Minister Abdul Janadi warned the Yemeni opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) against establishing a national council. Janadi stated, “This council will either be born dead as happened before or will be a call for war.” Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis launched protests across Yemen demanding the end of President Saleh and his regime. Pro-Saleh supporters held a counter-demonstration during Friday prayers at a mosque in close proximity to the presidential palace in Sana’a.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab released a video in which various officials eulogized former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The video includes eulogies offered by al Shabaab commander Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, also known as Abu Mansur; al Shabaab official Muhammad Hajj Ismail; and al Shabaab militants including Abu ‘Ammar, Hajer, Abu Hamza, and Abu Usama.[4]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, claimed in a radio interview that al Shabaab fighters still remained in Mogadishu. Rage also accused Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, newly in control of Bakara Market, of looting shops and robbing locals. Another al Shabaab leader, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, confirmed that al Shabaab had indeed chosen to withdraw from Mogadishu. Aweys claimed that the withdrawal was partially due to internal conflict within al Shabaab. Also, Aweys noted al Shabaab fighters were averse “to have face to face fighting with troops armed with tanks.”[5]
  • A bomb exploded in Mogadishu’s Abdi Aziz district, seriously injuring at least four people. The Abdi Aziz district had been under the control of al Shabaab for almost a year until the group recent withdrawal from Mogadishu. The bomb detonated when scavengers looking to collect wire to sell, pulled at the wires attached to the bomb.[6] 
  • Al Shabaab fighters have begun “to forcibly recruit” Somalis of various ages to fight against Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM forces. Witnesses reported that al Shabaab fighters arrested herders, farmers, and other people badly affected by the situation caused by the famine and drought, particularly those in the Lower Shabelle region. Reportedly al Shabaab deposited roughly 200 forced recruits into Lanta Buro training camp near Afgoi.[7]
  • Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM troops have continued expanding their control over the capital, Mogadishu. A Somali military official reported that Mogadishu’s fourteen districts are currently under Somali government control. The official added that those al Shabaab militants remaining in the capital are concentrated in the Heliwa and Daynile districts. According to the Somali government, police are being deployed to reinforce gains made by the military and help maintain security.[8]
  • Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces clashed with Ras Kamboni militias in Dhobley in southern Somalia. The clash reportedly began when Somali forces tried to free detainees being held in Dhobley. At least one TFG soldier was killed in the clash. Witnesses reported that at least two men from the Ras Kamboni militia were wounded.[9]
  • Somali military commander Gen. Abdikarim Yusuf Adam accused the Banadir administration, along with some others, of being responsible for a deadly incident in the Badbaado IDP camp. Several people died and dozens were wounded when soldiers looting food aid opened fire on the IDP inhabitants. Adam claimed that the soldiers who were responsible did not belong to the national army, but rather to a local administration. The general also denied allegations of Somali forces looting in Mogadishu.[10]
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. plans to provide an additional $17 million of aid to East Africa. In a talk at the International Food Policy Research Institute on August 11, Clinton stated, “The United States is the largest single-country contributor of food and humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa…we are making available an additional $105 million in emergency funding. Today, I’m announcing another 17 million on top of that with 12 million designed specifically for helping the people of Somalia. That brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance to the region to more than $580 million this year.”[11] 

[1] “People Arrest 15 Al-Qaeda Militants in South Yemen – Agency,” Yemen Post, August 11, 2011. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=3907
“Abyan: Neighborhood watch in Lawder arrests a cell of 15 al Qaeda affiliates attempting to execute assassinations,” Al Masdar, August 11, 2011. Available: http://www.almasdaronline.com/index.php?page=news&article-section=1&news_id=22498 [AR]
“Local committees in Abyan arrest 15 al Qaeda affiliates during an attempt to blow up a hospital in Lawder,” Mareb Press, August 12, 2011. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=35911&lng=arabic [AR]
[2] “Yemen says soldier killed in protest city of Taiz,” Reuters, August 12, 2011. Available: http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE77B1F220110812
“Four Injured in Yemeni Violence-Rocked Taiz City,” Yemen Post, August 12, 2011. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=3906 
“Security source in Taiz: One soldier killed and three people wounded in attack launched by Islah Party elements,” 26Sep.net, August 12, 2011. Available: http://26sep.net/news_details.php?sid=75647 [AR] 
[3] “Yemeni official warns opposition against forming national council,” SABA, August 11, 2011. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/en/news245693.htm 
“Yemen Says Opposition National Council Is Call to War,” Yemen Post, August 11, 2011. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=3904&MainCat=3
Ahmed al Haj, “Yemenis stage rallies, demand president step down,” AP, August 12, 2011. Available: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/08/12/general-ml-yemen_8620172.html   
[4] “Shabaab Officials, Fighters Eulogize Usama bin Laden in Video,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 11, 2011. Available at SITE. 
[5] “Al shabaab says their fighters still in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, August 12, 2011. Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=9629 
 “Shabaab leader says it is wrong to go war with forces armed with tanks,” Mareeg Online, August 12, 2011. Available: http://mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=20721&tirsan=3 
[6] “Four wounded in Mogadishu bomb explosion,” Shabelle Media Network, August 11, 2011. Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=9605 
[7] “Al shabaab strats to forcibly conscript old and young people,” Shabelle Media Network, August 11, 2011. Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=9602 
[8] Abdi Hajji Hussein, “Somali forces, AU peacekeepers gradually expand control in Mogadishu,” AHN, August 11, 2011. Available: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/90056853?Somali%20forces%2C%20AU%20peacekeepers%20gradually%20expand%20control%20in%20Mogadishu#ixzz1UoZbyIHx 
[9] “One soldier killed in southern Somalia clash,” Shabelle Media Network, August 12, 2011. Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=9628 
[10] “Somali military charges Benadir admin with bothering IDPs,” Shabelle Media Network, August 12, 2011. Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=9630 
[11] Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Remarks on the Food Crisis in the Horn of Africa,” U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Remarks, August 11, 2011. Available: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/08/170417.htm 
David Lerman, “Clinton Calls for East Africa Famine Aid as U.S. Commits Extra $17 Million,” Bloomberg, August 11, 2011. Available: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-11/clinton-calls-for-east-africa-famine-aid-as-u-s-commits-extra-17-million.html