Gulf of Aden Security Review - December 17, 2012

Yemen: Suspected AQAP militants shoot dead intelligence officer in Hadramawt governorate; a Yemeni military court sentences 93 Republican Guard troops to prison; director of security in Abyan governorate survives an assassination attempt in Zinjibar district; security forces storm al Qaeda hideout in Lahij governorate; security forces arrest four suspected AQAP militants in Sana’a; assailants bomb gas pipeline in Shabwah governorate; security forces intercept car carrying explosives near Sana’a; Saudi border guards clash with smugglers near Saudi-Yemeni border; missiles accidently explode at Daylami Airbase in Sana’a; an explosion kills two individuals and wounds five more in Taiz governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims attack on U.S. counterterrorism official in Mogadishu; al Shabaab denounces Omar Hammami; grenade attack occurs in Eastleigh, Nairobi; al Shabaab withdraws from Dinsor, Bay region; Somali, AMISOM and al Shabaab troops increase strength around Ufurow, Bay region; grenade attack targets administration building in Kismayo; truck carrying supplies to al Shabaab militants in the Galgala Mountain area is intercepted in Boosaaso, Bari region; Somali deputy minister resigns from position due to clan needs; Somali defense minister meets with UN and Arab League representatives in Mogadishu; Somali foreign minister calls all envoys abroad to return to Somalia for a meeting in January; Somali President Mohamud travels to Djibouti

Yemen Security Brief

  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants shot dead a Yemeni intelligence officer in Hadramawt governorate on December 17. Local sources identified the intelligence officer as Col. Shaker Awad al Bani.[1]
  • A Yemeni military court sentenced 93 Republican Guard soldiers to prison on December 15. The Republican Guard soldiers were sentenced to prison terms of three to seven years for their roles in an attack on the Yemeni Defense Ministry building in Sana’a on August 14, 2012.[2]
  • Brig. Amr Ali, director of security in Abyan governorate, reportedly survived an assassination attempt in Zinjibar district on December 17. Local sources reported that members of a Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) opened fire on Brig. Ali’s vehicle. Security forces have begun investigations into the incident with cooperation from PRC leaders.[3]
  • Security forces reportedly stormed an al Qaeda hideout in Lahij governorate on December 16. Security forces killed two suspected al Qaeda militants and wounded three more during the raid.[4]
  • Security forces arrested four suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Haddah region of Sana’a on December 12. Local sources reported the arrest on December 14, stating that the suspected AQAP militants are believed to have been involved in recent assassination attempts.[5]
  • Unidentified assailants bombed a liquefied natural gas pipeline in al Zahira region of Shabwah governorate on December 16. Local sources reported that the pipeline connects to the Belhaf terminal in the Gulf of Aden.[6]
  • Security forces intercepted a car carrying explosives at a checkpoint in Sana’a on December 13. Local sources reported that explosives hidden in the vehicle weighed between three to four tons.[7]
  • Saudi border guards intercepted smugglers attempting to transport a large stockpile of automatic rounds into Saudi Arabia on December 17. Local sources added that the automatic rounds originated from Yemen. Saudi border guards clashed with the smugglers, resulting in one Saudi border guard being wounded.[8]
  • Local sources reported that missiles onboard a Yemeni aircraft inadvertently exploded at Daylami Airbase in Sana’a on December 16. Security forces attributed the explosion to human error.[9]
  • Local sources reported that a bomb explosion occurred in Taiz governorate on December 17. Local sources added that the blast killed two people and wounded another five more.[10]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The car bomb that exploded in the Waberi district of Mogadishu on December 14 was targeting a senior U.S. counterintelligence official. According to an al Shabaab communiqué, the group injured Brigadier General Davis Julius in the explosion and killed some of his security personnel. According the terrorist organization, Brigadier General Julius was in the country to set up an intelligence office in the Somali presidential palace that would be used for surveillance and to help support drone operations in the country.[11]
  • Al Shabaab has spoken out about claims put forth by Omar Hammami, the Alabama native who left the U.S. to join the Somali terror organization. Al Shabaab posted on its twitter saying Hammami’s claims that there is dissent between Somali and foreign fighters within al Shabaab are false. The terrorist group also said that Hammami holds no power in the organization and is only looking for notoriety.[12]
  • A grenade attack occurred in the Eastleigh district of Nairobi, Kenya on December 16. Three grenades were thrown at storefronts from one car. A civilian who was a customer at one of the stores was injured in the explosions. Following the attack, one Somali national and eight Yemeni nationals were arrested in connection with the blasts.[13]
  • Al Shabaab troops withdrew from Dinsor town, Bay region on December 16. The militants fled as Ethiopian troops were approaching the position. Dinsor has been under al Shabaab control for the past four years.[14]
  • Somali and AMISOM troops and al Shabaab militants were reinforcing their positions around the town of Ufurow, Bay region. Residents in the town are fleeing out of fear of a looming battle. Al Shabaab militants had been in control of the town, but neither they nor the Somali and AMISOM troops are currently occupying the town.[15]
  • A grenade attack targeted an administration building for the interim government in Kismayo on December 15. Four grenades were thrown into the building during a meeting of high level security officials. The number of casualties from the incident is not yet known and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[16]
  • A truck carrying supplies to al Shabaab militants in the Galgala Mountain area was intercepted by Puntland security officials at a checkpoint in the town of Boosaaso, Bari region on December 13. The truck contained a large supply of dried food as well as shoes and medical supplies.[17]
  • A Somali Deputy Minister of Finance, Abukar Hassan Ali, resigned from the position on December 16. Abukar Hassan Ali said that his clan was promised a state minister position and accepting a lesser position would diminish his clan’s status.[18]
  • Somali Minister of Defense Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi met separately with UN Special Representative for the Secretary General, Augustine P. Mahiga, and Arab League envoy Mohamed Abdalla Idiris on December 16.[19] 
  • Somali Foreign Minister Fowzia Yusuf Haji Aden has summoned all Somali envoys abroad to return home in January in order to meet with her and report on their activities. Those requested to return home included 20 ambassadors and four consulate generals.[20] 
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud traveled to Djibouti to partake in an event celebrating the Somali language. The conference will go from December 17 to 22 and President Mohamud says he is working to re-establish the Somali written language.[21]  

[1] “Gunmen Kill Military Intelligence Officer in South Yemen,” Reuters, December 17, 2012. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/us-yemen-violence-idUSBRE8BG0FY20121217
[2] “Yemen Gives 93 Soldiers Jail Terms for Attack on Base,” Reuters, December 15, 2012. Available: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/12/15/uk-yemen-military-court-idUKBRE8BE06420121215
[3] “Director of Security in Abyan Survives Assassination Attempt,” Barakish, December 17, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=41303
[4] “Two al Qaida Suspects Killed in Clash with Police in Southern Yemen,” NZWeek, December 17, 2012. Available: http://www.nzweek.com/world/two-al-qaida-suspects-killed-in-clash-with-police-in-southern-yemen-38069/
[5] “Yemeni Counterterrorism Forces Arrest Four Suspected Militants,” Yemen Post, December 14, 2012. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=6333
[6] “Yemen Gas Pipeline Hit by Overnight Blast,” Ahram Online, December 16, 2012. Available: http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/60628/World/Region/Yemen-gas-pipeline-hit-by-overnight-blast.aspx
[7] “Yemen Security Intercepts Tons of Explosives Intended for Capital,” Yemen Observer, December 15, 2012. Available: http://www.yobserver.com/front-page/10022383.html
[8] “Armed Confrontations between Saudi Border Guards and Yemeni Smugglers,” Mareb Press, December 17, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=49997&lng=arabic
[9] “A Source Reveals the Reasons for the Explosion that Shook Daylami Airbase,” Mareb Press, December 16, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=49982&lng=arabic
[10] “Two Killed and Five Others Wounded in Bomb Explosion in Taiz,” al Masdar Online, December 17, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/39281
[11] “Shabaab Claims Strike on US Counterterrorism Official,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 14, 2012. Available at SITE.
“Car bomb Kills Two in Somali Capital,” Chicago Tribune, December 14, 2012. Available: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-14/news/sns-rt-us-somalia-blastbre8bd140-20121214_1_abdi-sheikh-shabaab-car-bomb
[12] Shabaab Responds to Abu Mansor al Amriki’s Allegations,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 17, 2012. Available at SITE.
“Somalia Militant Group Publicly Rebukes American Member for Obstinacy, Pursuit of Fame,” Washington Post, December 17, 2012. Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/somalia-militant-group-publicly-rebukes-american-member-for-obstinacy-pursuit-of-fame/2012/12/17/0dfbe402-484d-11e2-8af9-9b50cb4605a7_story.html
[13] “Grenade Attack Injures One in Nairobi,” Bar Kulan, December 17, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/12/17/grenade-attack-injures-one-in-nairobi/
“Grenade Attack Hits Nairobi’s Mainly Somali Eastleigh Area,” BBC, December 16, 2012. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20750972
“Yemeni National Arrested Over Eastleigh Blast,” Bar Kulan, December 17, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/12/17/yemeni-nationals-arrested-over-eastleigh-blast/
[14] “Al Shabaab Militants Withdraw from Dinsor Town,” Bar Kulan, December 16, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/12/16/al-shabaab-militants-withdraw-from-dinsor-town/
[15] “Fear and Tension are High in Ufurow District in South West Somalia,” Shabelle, December 16, 2012. Available: http://shabelle.net/fear-and-tension-are-high-in-ufurow-district-in-south-west-somalia/
[16] “Grenade Attack at Kismayo Administration Headquarter,” Bar Kulan, December 16, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/12/16/grenade-attack-at-kismayo-administration-headquarter/
[17] “Puntland Forces Intercept al Shabaab Bound Supplies,” Bar Kulan, December 16, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/12/16/puntland-forces-intercept-al-shabaab-bound-supplies/
[18] “Somalia: Newly Appointed Minister Resigns for his Clan Influence,” Raxanreeb, December 16, 2012. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2012/12/somalia-newly-appointed-minister-resigns-for-his-clan-influence/
[19] “Somalia Defense Minister Meets with UN, Arab Envoys,” Bar Kulan, December 17, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/12/17/somalia-defense-minister-meets-with-un-arab-envoys/
[20] “Somalia: Fowzia Summons Envoys for January Parley,” Somaliland Sun, December 16, 2012. Available: http://somalilandsun.com/index.php/world/somalia/1971-somalia-fozia-summons-envoys-for-a-january-parley-
[21] “Somalia President in Djibouti to Attend the 40th Anniversary of Somali Writing,” Bar Kulan, December 16, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/12/16/somalia-president-in-djibouti-to-attend-the-40th-anniversary-of-somali-writing/