Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 15, 2012

Yemen: Secessionist leader detained in Aden; bomb cleared in Sana’a neighborhood; militants attack checkpoint in Abyan; U.S. and EU condemn violence in Sana’a, call for support for government

Horn of Africa: AMISOM prepared to deploy additional forces in Somalia and to persist despite loss of three helicopters; Uganda reconsiders air force deployment; al Shabaab claims IED killed five Kenyans in Afgoi; Suq Ba’ad chairman killed in Mogadishu; NSS officer killed in quarrel; deadly clashes among clans in Galgudud region

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Yemeni southern secessionist leader was briefly detained when he landed at Aden International Airport August 15. A group of gunmen allegedly arrested Ahmed Abdullah al Hassani, who flew from Britain to Aden, for a few hours. Hassani was formerly a commander in the Yemeni Navy and an ambassador and currently serves as the secretary general of the UK-based Democratic Forum for South Yemen.[1]
  • A Yemeni security source reported that an improvised explosive device in al Mahariq neighborhood of Shu’aub district in Sana’a was found and cleared on August 14. The source said it was likely placed there by al Qaeda-linked militants.[2]
  • Local Yemeni sources reported that gunmen, believed to be linked to al Qaeda, attacked a checkpoint west of Jaar in Abyan governorate the evening of August 14. At least one member of the local Popular Committee, which manned the checkpoint, was killed.[3]
  • U.S. Department of State spokesman Victoria Nuland said that the U.S. is “trying to strengthen the regime of President [Abdu Rabbu Mansour] Hadi, trying to work with him on these transition plans that he’s putting in place” and that the U.S. has urged its military contacts to “be supportive of a new day in Yemen.” Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, issued a statement calling on all parties to “respect State institutions and ensure the full implementation of the decrees issued by President Hadi.”[4]   

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) spokesman Colonel Ali Aden Hamud said that AMISOM is ready to increase troop deployment across Somalia in an interview with Radio Risaala on August 14. He indicated that a contingent of Djiboutian forces was prepared to relieve Ethiopian troops in Beledweyne in Hiraan region and that their leadership was already in the city.[5]
  • African Union Commission for Somalia representative Ambassador Boubacar Diarra affirmed on August 15 that AMISOM will persist in combating al Shabaab despite the loss of three Ugandan MI-24 helicopters on August 12. However the Ugandan junior defense minister said on August 14 that Uganda is reconsidering deploying an air component to reinforce its ground forces.[6]
  •  Al Shabaab reported via its Twitter feed that an improvised explosive device (IED) killed five members of the Kenyan Defense Forces and destroyed one truck in Afgoi in Lower Shabelle on August 14.[7]
  • Two unidentified assailants gunned down the chairman of Suq Ba’ad in the Yaqshid district of Mogadishu on August 14. The chairman was reportedly distributing water for the end of the Ramadan fast when he was attacked.[8]
  • A Somali National Security Service officer was shot and killed by a policeman in Mogadishu Sea Port on August 14. The two men were reportedly quarreling before the incident. The police officer has been detained.[9]
  • An official for Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) told reporters that clans clashed east of Abudwak town in Galgudud region resulting in two deaths and ten injuries on August 14.[10]    

[1] Mohammed Mukhashaf, “Yemen Separatist Leader Detained in Aden: Source,” Reuters, August 15, 2012. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/15/us-yemen-secessionist-arrest-idUSBRE87E05P20120815
“Yemen Secessionist Leader ‘Detained at Aden Airport,’” BBC, August 15, 2012. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19271268
[2] “Security Devices Manage to Foil Bomb in Sana’a,” SABA News Agency, August 15, 2012. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/en/news278021.htm
[3] “Popular Committee Member Killed in Militant Attack on Abyan Checkpoint,” Al Masdar Online, August 15, 2012. Available: http://www.almasdaronline.net/index.php?page=news&article-section=1&news_id=35134
[4] Victoria Nuland, “Daily Press Briefing,” U.S. State Department Press Briefing, August 14, 2012. Available: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/08/196459.htm#YEMEN
“Statement by the spokesperson of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on Yemen,” EU Press Release, August 15, 2012. Available: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/132186.pdf
[5] “Spokesman: more peacekeepers to be deployed in Baidoa, Beledweyne,” Radio Risaala, August 14, 2012. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/august-15-2012-morning-headlines
[6] “AMISOM to Continue Somalia Operations Despite Helicopter Crashes,” AMISOM, August 15, 2012. Available: http://amisom-au.org/2012/08/amisom-to-continue-somalia-operations-despite-helicopter-crashes
“UPDATE: Uganda Reassess Planned Attack On Somali Militants,” The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2012. Available: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120814-710781.html
[7] Tweets by HSM Press Office, August 14, 2012. Available: https://twitter.com/HSMPress/status/235440381276336128
[8] “Gunmen kill Mogadishu market chairman,” Jowhar Online, August 14, 2012. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/august-15-2012-morning-headlines
[9] “Police officer kills security agency official in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, August 14, 2012. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/august-15-2012-morning-headlines
[10] “Tribal clashes in central Somalia kills 2, injures 10,” Shabelle Media Network, August 14, 2012. Available: http://shabelle.net/2012/08/14/tribal-clashes-in-central-somalia-kills-2-injures-10