Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 9, 2012

Yemen: Car bomb targets tribal militia leader in Jaar, seven al Qaeda-linked militants arrested in Jaar; four militants with a  LAW rocket and an explosive device arrested in Aden; John Brennan discusses U.S.’s “comprehensive approach” to Yemen; Technical Committee agrees to allow full representation of the Southern Movement in Yemen’s National Dialogue

Horn of Africa: Landmine targets Ethiopian soldiers in Beledweyne; gunman kills two al Shabaab militants in Middle Jubba; al Shabaab attacks TFG soldiers in KM-50; MYC promotes online magazine supporting al Shabaab; soldiers violently disperse pro-Farmajo gathering; arrest campaign in Afmadow; teacher shot in Baidoa

Yemen Security Brief

  • A car bomb went off in Jaar in Abyan governorate targeting  Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) chief Abdul Latif al Sayyed on August 8. Two militants positioned the vehicle near Sayyed’s residence and detonated it remotely, according to a PRC fighter. There were no casualties from the explosion. PRC members chased the two militants down, killing one and capturing the other. A military official reported that PRC tribesmen and Yemeni soldiers arrested seven al Qaeda-linked militants in Jaar, “among them a financier, Abu Musab, and a Somali,” on the same day.[1]
  • Yemen’s Defense Ministry announced that four al Qaeda-linked militants were arrested by the security forces in Aden. The militants were carrying a Light Anti-Armor Weapon (LAW) rocket and an explosive device.[2]
  • John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, discussed the U.S.’s approach to Yemen at a Council on Foreign Relations event in Washington, D.C. on August 8. Brennan spoke of a “comprehensive approach” that focuses on development and humanitarian and military aid. Brennan said, “This year alone, U.S. assistance to Yemen is more than $337 million. Over half this money, $178 million, is for political transition, humanitarian assistance and development.” Brennan defended “targeted strikes” against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants, but added that drone strikes are only a small part of the administration’s strategy.[3]
  • The Technical Committee met on August 8 to discuss key issues ahead of Yemen’s National Dialogue slated for November 2012. Technical Committee head Abdulkarim al Iryani said that the attendees agreed to fully include the Southern Movement in the committee’s lists. The Technical Committee is expected to continue talks on August 9.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A landmine targeting Ethiopian soldiers in Beledweyne in Hiraan region reportedly detonated on the morning of August 9. Ethiopian soldiers responded by opening fire, resulting in the death of one civilian.[5]
  • An unknown gunman reportedly shot down two al Shabaab militants in Hongoy settlement near Jilib in Middle Jubba region on August 9. The two militants, one of whom was identified as Abdifatah Mohamed Sheikh Abdiaziz, were buried in Jilib town.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces near KM-50 in Lower Shabelle region on August 8. The TFG repelled the attack and killed several al Shabaab members, according to the governor of Lower Shabelle.[7]
  • The Muslim Youth Center (MYC), based in Kenya, expressed its support for the online magazine “Gaidi Mtaani” or “Terrorism Street” in a post to its blog on August 8. The post described the magazine, which supports al Shabaab, as an inspiration to mujahideen as a counterbalance to the infidel “propaganda machine” in East Africa.[8]
  • TFG soldiers reportedly tried to disperse a gathering supporting the presidential campaign of former Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmajo on August 9. The soldiers fired at a policeman protecting the supporters and killed him and a civilian, according to local witnesses. Farmajo arrived in Mogadishu after a year’s absence on August 9.[9]
  • TFG forces backed by the Ras Kamboni brigade fighters made a series of arrests in Afmadow in Lower Jubba region.  Local police commander Adan Darod led the sweep, which targeted those responsible for the increased violence in the city.[10]
  • Five men shot and killed school teacher Mohamed Mo’alim Nurow near a mosque in the Horsed neighborhood of Baidoa in the Bay region on August 8. Police searched the area following the attack but have made no arrests.[11]   

[2] “Yemen Military Arrests Four Militants with Law Rocket, Explosives,” Yemen Post, August 9, 2012. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=5842&MainCat=3
[3] Karen DeYoung, “Yemen Airstrikes Part of Broad Strategy to Curb al-Qaeda, Obama Adviser Says,” The Washington Post, August 8, 2012. Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/yemen-airstrikes-part-of-broad-strategy-to-curb-al-qaeda-obama-adviser-says/2012/08/08/ef955e30-e190-11e1-ae7f-d2a13e249eb2_story.html
[4] “Yemen Technical Committee Agrees to Complete Representation of Southern Movement,” Yemen Post, August 8, 2012. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=5840&MainCat=3
[5] “Ethiopian troops in Beledweyne attacked,” Bar Kulan, August 9, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/08/09/ethiopian-troops-in-beledweyne-attacked
[6] “Gunman kills two militant leaders in Jilib, Middle Juba,” Bar Kulan, August 9, 2012. Available: www.bar-kulan.com/2012/08/09/gunman-kills-two-militant-leaders-in-jilib-middle-juba
[7] “Fighting rocks Lower Shabelle region,” Radio Mustaqbal, August 8, 2012. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org
[8] "MYC Promotes Pro-Shabaab Magazine, Criticizes Arrest," SITE Intelligence Group, August 8, 2012. Available at SITE
[9] “Farmajo supporters attacked, two killed,” Bar Kulan, August 9, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/08/09/farmajo-supporters-attacked-two-killed
“Former TFG Primer arrives in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, August 9, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/08/09/former-tfg-primer-arrives-in-mogadishu
[10] “Dozen arrested in Afmadow swoop,” Bar Kulan, August 9, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/08/09/dozen-arrested-in-afmadow-swoop
[11] “School teacher killed in Baidoa,” Bar Kulan, August 9, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/08/09/school-teacher-killed-in-baidoa