Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 18, 2011

Yemen: Shaqra falls to al Qaeda-linked militants; jihadist posts updates on south Yemen on forums; Yemen’s deputy information minister survives assassination attempt

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab reports on recent fighting, shows captured TFG soldier; AFRICOM Commander Ham discusses militant Islamist groups in Africa; al Shabaab kidnaps three health workers in Mogadishu; al Shabaab threatens TFG commander

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda-linked militants attacked tribal positions near the town of Shaqra, east of Zinjibar in Abyan, and drove local tribesmen away. Militants set up checkpoints and entered local government buildings, including the police station. Tribesmen had regained control of the town from the militants in mid-July.[1]
  • Two messages posted on radical Islamist web forums reported on recent developments in al Jawf and Abyan governorates, and noted the “stupidity” of the Saudi government. The writer praised the suicide attack on an al Houthi meeting in al Jawf on August 15 because the al Houthis and the Islah (Reform) party tribesmen were uniting their forces against the “mujahideen.” The writer also described the clashes between rival militias in Jaar in Abyan. Saudi Arabia, according to the post, was responsible for the bombing of the government-aligned tribesmen in Abyan two weeks ago. The government also attempted to air drop supplies to the besieged 25th mechanized brigade, but many of these supplies fell in the vicinity of the al Qaeda-linked militants.[2]
  • A bomb fell outside the home of Yemen’s deputy information minister Abdul Janadi, who survived the apparent assassination attempt.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab reported that militants attacked Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM positions at the Ex-control Afgoi junction, the Islopta camp, the former defense ministry compound, and Sana junction. Al Shabaab claimed to have kidnapped a TFG soldier who had been injured. The group’s spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, said, “If the mujahideen withdrew from Mogadishu, then who destroyed the armored vehicle, who burned the tank, and who arrested this captive?”[4]
  • U.S. AFRICOM Commander General Carter Ham said that “multiple sources” show that Nigeria’s radical Islamist group Boko Haram had reached out to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Shabaab. Ham noted that a “loose” partnership between AQIM and Boko Haram would also include al Shabaab.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants kidnapped three health workers from Daynille hospital in Mogadishu. The three workers were a logistics officer, nurse, and a driver.[6]
  • Al Shabaab has threatened the commander of the TFG soldiers who killed al Qaeda in East Africa operative Fazul Abdullah Mohammed. Captain Hassan Mohamed Abukar, who was previously a shari’a judge under Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union, said he had been told that he would be dealt with according to shari’a law. A group of al Shabaab militants recognized him and opened fire on Abukar, injuring him, on August 6.[7]


[2] “Yemeni Jihadist Gives Updates from Abyan, al-Jawf,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 17, 2011. Available at SITE.
[3] “Yemen Deputy Information Minister Survives Assassination As Storms Uproot Pylons,” Yemen Post, August 18, 2011. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=3925&MainCat=3
[4] “Shabaab Attacks in Mogadishu, Captures Soldier,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 17, 2011. Available at SITE.
[5] “AP Interview: US General Sees Nigeria Terror Link,” AP, August 17, 2011. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g-3NYTAKQT_6llFQK45M0E13rF8Q?docId=20a49eb4f1754ffb92c78cd6b317bedb
[6] “Health Workers Kidnapped in Daynile Hospital, Mogadishu,” Radio Bar-Kulan, August 18, 2011. Available: www.bar-kulan.com/2011/08/18/health-workers-kidnapped-in-daynile-hospital-mogadishu/
[7] Hamsa Omar, “Somali Soldier Who Killed al-Qaeda Leader is Injured in Retaliatory Attack,” Bloomberg, August 17, 2011. Available: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-17/somali-soldier-who-killed-al-qaeda-leader-is-shot-in-retaliation.html