Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 6, 2010

Yemen: Unidentified gunmen kill three security officers in Zinjibar; Yemeni security patrol attacks tribal checkpoint, kills one; U.S. report cites Yemen as a top terror threat

Horn of Africa: Somali PM defends self, cabinet before Parliament; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a declares it is prepared to fight militants during Ramadan; Puntland security forces capture seven pirates, weapons and equipment in raid; Puntland hangs three men convicted of murder; Mogadishu residents protest Wednesday bombing in Bondere district; ONLF faction signs peace agreement with Ethiopia; Somali pirates hijack Syrian cargo ship; Somaliland president resigns chairmanship of Kulmiye Party

Yemen Security Brief

  • Three unidentified masked gunmen killed three Yemeni security officers in an attack near an intelligence headquarters in Zinjibar in Abyan province. The gunmen rode up to the site on a motorcycle and opened fire on the officers before driving away. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and local security forces are searching for the gunmen.[1]
  • A Yemeni security patrol prevented a group of tribesmen from seizing a gas truck on the road between Ma’rib and Sana’a.  One tribesman was killed in the firefight and four others wounded. The men belonged to the al Jada’an clan, and had set up a checkpoint on the road.[2]
  • The annual U.S. terrorism report cited al Qaeda as the nation’s greatest threat, and noted that “al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula has already shown itself to be a formidable threat.” The report highlighted the attempted Christmas Day bombing by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to underscore the risk posed by Yemen and U.S.-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki, who is currently believed to be in Yemen.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke and several of his ministers defended themselves before Parliament on Thursday against charges of incompetence. He claimed several successes during his tenure, including the power-sharing agreement with Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a. "There are problems that caused the government not to work probably. It is unfortunate today members of the parliament are bringing motion against the government. . . . The things that made the government incapable to work are lack of funds, the government troops defected to the insurgents and receiving little support from the international community," he said. Abdirashid Ali Abdulle, one of the legislators who filed the motion for a vote of no-confidence on Sharmarke, said afterwards that he and his colleagues decided to withdraw the motion for the country’s best interests.[4]
  • Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a information secretary for the Banadir region Sheikh Mohamud Ahmed Shurie declared in a Friday press conference that his group was prepared to fight Islamist militants during the upcoming month of Ramadan. "The Mujahideen of Ahlu Sunna are ready for fighting. They would fight with [al Shabaab] and [Hizb al Islam] where every [sic] they are in Somalia. In the Ramadan month, we are planning to slab them and clean both rival sides," he said. He also claimed victory in Thursday’s clashes between his group and Islamist militants.[5]
  • Puntland security forces arrested seven pirates during a raid in Xamxaama, a village 80 km from Garowe, and seized weapons and communications equipment. In Thursday’s roundup, police confiscated an AK-47, an RPG, a laptop, six mobile phones, a vehicle, and two engines for the pirates’ mother ship.[6]
  • Puntland executed three men in public hangings on Thursday following their conviction on murder charges in shari’a courts. Two of the executions took place in Biyo Kulule village, near Boosaaso, and the third man was executed in Garowe.[7]
  • Civilians protested in Mogadishu on Thursday, decrying Wednesday’s explosion in the city’s Bondere district that killed two women and wounded 10 other people. The mayor of Mogadishu, Mohamed Ahmed Tarzan, addressed the protesters and condemned the blast. "It’s something worse to blow up people cleaning the city, we are strongly condemning the people behind that blast," he said.[8]
  • A faction of the Ogaden National Liberation Front led by Selahadin Haji Abdirahman Maow met with an Ethiopian delegation in Washington, DC, where they agreed to implement a ceasefire deal recently signed in Ethiopia. Maow denounced the ONLF leader, Admiral Mohammed Omar Osman, saying he is only interested in his own position as head of the group.[9]
  • Somali pirates hijacked the MV SYRIA STAR, a St. Vincent and the Grenadines-flagged cargo ship, in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday and took its 24-man, mostly Syrian, crew hostage.[10]
  • Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo resigned from his position as chairman of the Kulmiye Party and handed leadership of the party to Muse Biixi Abdi.[11]

[1] “Gunmen kill three security personnel in South Yemen,” AFP, August 5, 2010.  Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hGffJNg0LPEE_942Dt3xoakaC7HQ 
[2] “5 Bandits Killed and Injured as Patrol Thwarts Attempted Gas Truck Hijacking,” Yemen Post, August 5, 2010. Available: http://www.yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=2503&MainCat=3
[3] “Country Reports on Terrorism 2009,” U.S. State Department, August 2010.  Available: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/141114.pdf 
[4] “Somali PM face the Parliament,” Garowe, August 5, 2010. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somali_PM_face_the_Parliment.shtml 
[5] “Somalia: Ahlu Sunna Clerics Declare War Against Rivals in Ramadan,” Shabelle Media Network, August 6, 2010. Available: http://allafrica.com/stories/201008060233.html
[6] “Somalia: Puntland Security Forces arrests Pirates,’” Garowe, August 5, 2010. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Puntland_Security_Forces_arrests_Pirates.shtml
[7] “Somalia: Puntland executes three men,” Garowe, August 5, 2010. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Puntland_executes_three_men.shtml
[8] “Somalia: Mogadishu Residence Protest against blast,” Garowe, August 5, 2010. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Mogadishu_Residence_Protest_against_blast.shtml
[9] “Ethiopia factions sign deal with gov’t,” Garowe, August 4, 2010. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Africa_22/Ethiopia_factions_sign_deal_with_gov_t.shtml
[10] “Somalia: MV Star Hijacked in Gulf of Aden,” Garowe, August 5, 2010. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Press_Releases_32/Somalia_MV_Syria_Star_Hijacked_in_Gulf_of_Aden.shtml
[11] “President Silanyo steps down from Kulmiye leadership,” Somaliland Press, August 5, 2010. Available: http://somalilandpress.com/presidnet-silanyo-steps-down-from-kulmiye-leadership-17557