Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 14, 2012

Yemen: Clashes outside Defense Ministry in Sana’a; British counterterrorism adviser meets with Yemeni Chief of General Staff

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab reports attacks in Lower Shabelle; Al Kata’ib Foundation’s “The Atmosphere in Kismayo Port” released on jihadist forums; concerns over delays is parliament selection; Ugandan MI-24 helicopters located; Kenyan navy shells Afmadow district; al Shabaab diverts food aid in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Fighting broke out near Yemen’s Defense Ministry building in Sana’a between Republican Guard troops and Yemeni soldiers guarding the ministry. Republican Guard troops reportedly attacked the Defense Ministry and the ensuing clashes killed four people and injured nine others, according to a ministry official. Witnesses reported that the troops used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the attack.[1]
  • Yemeni Chief of General Staff Major General Ahmed Ali al Ashwal met with British Deputy National Security Adviser Oliver Robbins in Sana’a on August 14 to discuss counterterrorism cooperation efforts. The meeting was also attended by the Yemeni director of military intelligence Brigadier Mujahid al Ghashem and the British Ambassador to Yemen Nicholas Hopton. Robbins met with Yemen’s Interior Minister on August 13.[2]   

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab reported a series of attacks in Somalia over its Twitter feed on August 13. Al Shabaab claimed that it destroy one armored personnel carrier (APC) and damage two others in an ambush on a Ugandan convoy between K50 and Dhanaane in Lower Shabelle. The group also said that it conducted “operations” in several districts of Mogadishu on the night of August 12.[3]
  • Al Shabaab posted a video titled, “The Atmosphere in Kismayo Port,” on jihadist forums on August 11. The reporting includes footage of dock workers receiving a lecture and interviews with three port employees who say that they are happy with the city’s peace and security. The video was produced by al Shabaab’s media arm, al Kata’ib Foundation, and runs about eight minutes long.[4]
  • The spokesman for Ban Ki-moon expressed the UN Secretary-General’s concern over the delayed selection of the new Somali Parliament on August 13. He warned that the Technical Selection Committee (TSC) must be allowed to operate without intimidation or bias. The Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Wafalu Wamunyinyi, also expressed his distress at efforts to intimidate TSC members with anonymous death threats on August 14.[5]
  • The three Ugandan MI-24 helicopters that were reported missing on August 12 have been located. The seven crew members of the first were rescued from a crash site in Mount Kenya forest on August 13. The other two helicopters were also located in the Mount Kenya forest on August 14 according to the Kenyan Defense Ministry. One was suspended from trees and the second appeared partially burned. Rescue operations are underway. The bodies of at least two Ugandan airmen have been uncovered; the fate of the rest of the crew is unknown.[6]
  • Ships belonging to the Kenyan navy reportedly shelled Afmadow district in Lower Jubba on the night of August 13. No casualty figures were reported.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants reportedly hijacked nine truckloads of food relief on August 14. The trucks were en route to Mahas from Beledweyne in Hiraan region when they were stopped in Mir-Ade area, about 55 km east of Beledweyne.[8]    

[1] “Clashes in Yemeni Capital over Army Restructuring,” Reuters, August 14, 2012. Available: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/clashes-in-yemeni-capital-over-army-restructuring
Hakim Almasmari, “Yemen elite forces attack Defense Ministry, source says,” CNN, August 14, 2012. Available: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/14/world/meast/yemen-clashes/index.html
“Pro-Saleh Troops Attack Yemen’s Defense Ministry,” AFP, August 14, 2012. Available: http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=427702#ixzz23WgSf7Pb
[2] “Chief of Staff Receives British Counterterrorism Adviser,” SABA News Agency, August 14, 2012. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/ar/news277941.htm
“Interior Minister Meets with British Counterterrorism Adviser,” SABA News Agency, August 13, 2012. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/ar/news277869.htm
[3] Tweets by HSM Press Office, August 13, 2012. Available: https://twitter.com/HSMPress/status/235093472015695872
Tweets by HSM Press Office, August 13, 2012. Available: https://twitter.com/HSMPress/status/235090340317655040
[4] “Shabaab Video Highlights Security at Kismayo Port,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 13, 2012. Available at SITE.
[5] “Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Somalia,” United Nations, August 13, 2012. Available: http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=6244
“AU Deputy Special Representative warns spoilers against intimidating members of the Technical Selection Committee (TSC),” AMISOM, August 14, 2012. Available: http://amisom-au.org/2012/08/au-deputy-special-representative-warns-spoilers-against-intimidating-members-of-the-technical-selection-committee-tsc
[6] “Update 1-Rescuers Find Two Bodies in Ugandan Copter Wreck,” Reuters, August 14, 2012. Available: http://af.reuters.com/article/somaliaNews/idAFL6E8JE5YH20120814
[7] “Strikes on southern Somalia continue despite civilian casualties,” Garowe Online, August 14, 2012. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Strikes_on_southern_Somalia_continue_despite_civilian_casualties.shtml
[8] “Al-Shabaab Hijacks Relief trucks in Hiran Region,” Radio Bar Kulan, August 14, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/08/14/al-shabaab-hijacks-relief-trucks-in-hiran-region/