Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 2, 2012

Yemen: Unknown gunmen shell a security camp in Aden; al Qaeda-linked militants allegedly pay tribesmen to kidnap foreigners; Yemeni security forces regain control over the Interior Ministry in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed promises to follow August 20 election timeline; unknown gunmen kill Beledweyne’s airport designer; two twin brothers of Somali origin sentenced to three years in jail in Britain for sending funds to al Shabaab; TFG interior minister says Mogadishu is under full government control; MYC warns its members to stay alert after Kenyan police raid an internet café in Majengo

Yemen Security Brief

  • Unidentified gunmen used mortars to shell a Central Security Forces (CSF) camp in Aden on August 1. The assailants fled after the CSF repelled them. Army sources reported no damages.[1]
  • A Yemeni security official reported that al Qaeda-linked militants paid a large sum to local tribesmen to kidnap foreigners and bring them to areas in southern Yemen. The official said that the abduction of a Saudi diplomat Abdullah al Khalidi, a French doctor, a Swiss teacher, and most recently Italian embassy guard Alessandro Spadotto, illustrate that tribal outreach has proven to be effective for the militants, according to the security official.[2]
  • Yemeni security forces regained control over the Interior Ministry in Sana’a on August 1, a day after deadly clashes. Security Force Commander General Fadhl al Qawsi reported that “forces from the Central Security [Forces] intervened to secure the ministry following orders by Interior Minister Abduqader Qahtan.”[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed announced that Somalia’s transitional period has come to an end and promised to finish all remaining tasks by August 20. President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed made the remarks while visiting Bal’ad town in Middle Shabelle region on August 1, following the National Constituent Assembly’s (NCA) passing of a provisional constitution in Mogadishu.[4]
  • Unknown gunmen reportedly shot and killed engineer Ali Hassan Shirwa. He designed Beledweyne’s Ugas Khalif Airport in Hiraan region.[5]
  • Officials said that two 25-year-old twin brothers of Somali descent were sentenced to three years in jail in Britain for sending funds to al Shabaab in Somalia on August 1. Mohammed Shabir Ali and Mohammed Shafiq Ali pleaded guilty to sending at least $4,700 to their brother, Mohammed Shamim Ali, who is allegedly undergoing terrorist training in Somalia. Judge Adrian Fulford said, “It is accepted by the prosecution that they sent funds primarily out of concern for their brother's physical and mental health, although it is important to note this was in the context of his planned involvement in terrorism.”[6]
  • TFG Interior Minister Abdisamad Mo’allin Mohamud said that Mogadishu is under Somali security forces’ complete control: “Somali security forces are at this time more vigilant than in the past. They secured the capital and stopped many deadly attacks against government institutions and army bases in Mogadishu by Al shabab.” Mohamud’s comments were made a day after security forces shot and killed two suicide bombers at the gate of the NCA’s meeting place in Mogadishu.[7]
  • The Muslim Youth Center (MYC), based in Kenya, released a message on its English-language blog on August 1 warning its members in Kenya and Tanzania of online activity following a Kenyan-led raid on an internet café in Majengo on July 30. The statement opens: “As part of AQEA [al-Qaeda in East Africa], MYC is advising its members in East Africa to be alert at all times and prepare for the weeks ahead as our brothers Al-Shabaab in Somalia commence battle with the Kuffar coalition.”[8]       

[1] “Military Camp Attacked in Aden,” Yemen Post, August 1, 2012. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=5802&MainCat=3
[2] “Al-Qaeda Hires Tribesmen to Kidnap Foreigners,” Yemen Post, August 1, 2012. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=5800&MainCat=3
[3] “Yemen Security Forces Retake Interior Ministry,” AFP, August 1, 2012. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jtxBkgBN58XL0b-Yt_WOiCX1QVAA?docId=CNG.ed24e28718e754bb5604b601c9bc2a4e.781
[4] “Transition Period Now Over, Says President Sharif,” Bar Kulan, August 2, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/08/02/transition-period-now-over-says-president-sharif/
[5] “Beledweyne’s Ugas Khalif Airport Designer Killed,” Bar Kulan, August 2, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/08/02/beledweyne%E2%80%99s-ugas-khalif-airport-designer-killed/
[6] “Somali Twins Jailed for 3 Years for Terror Funding,” AP, August 1, 2012. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iVA9LkOHeV7ce-G9XwFy2T8TgTtQ?docId=f133ce5e83fd450aae9dcc249dd2ece4
[7] “Interior Minister: Mogadishu Security Is under Government Control,” Shabelle Media Network, August 2, 2012. Available: http://shabelle.net/2012/08/02/interior-ministermogadishu-security-is-under-government-control/
[8] “MYC Asks Members to Be Alert in Wake of Kenyan Raid on Cyber Café,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 1, 2012. Available at SITE.