Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 13, 2013

Yemen: AQAP religious leader Adil al Abab killed in January airstrike; Yemeni forces shell Ansar al Sharia positions in al Manaseh and President Hadi demands full surrender of al Dhahab brothers; two improvised explosive devices explode at wedding party in Jaar, Abyan governorate; Former Vice President al Beidh warns of violence in south if southern independence not granted; Major General al Ahmar meets with U.S. ambassador; gunman kills counterterrorism officer in Sana’a; Technical Committee receives lists of representatives from political parties; car found torched in front of gate of government complex in al Mahwit governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks Baidoa, Bay region; al Shabaab threatens bombing campaign throughout Somalia; Somaliland forces clash with Khatumo state fighters in Lafweyn, Sool region; Ahlu Sunna leader dies in Mogadishu; President Mohamud meets with AMISOM special representative in Mogadishu; Somaliland says its open to negotiation with Somalia; WFP announces it will feed 1.6 million Somalis in 2013; Somali journalist freed after one week of captivity

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) shari’a official Sheikh Adil al Abab was reported killed in an airstrike in January in Shabwah governorate, according to sources close to al Qaeda in a February 12 AFP report.  Al Abab had previously been reported killed in an October 2012 airstrike.[1]
  • Yemeni forces shelled Ansar al Sharia positions with Katyusha rockets in al Manaseh, Walad Rab’ia district, al Bayda governorate on February 11. The rockets struck four houses, including that of Abdullah Ali al Dhahab. In related news, sources claimed that President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi demanded the unconditional surrender of the al Dhahab brothers to the state in return for a cessation of the military campaign in al Bayda, in an al Masdar report published on February 13.[2]
  • Two improvised explosive devices exploded at a wedding party in Jaar, Abyan governorate on February 12, injuring three. It is suspected that the bomb targeted popular committee members.[3]
  • Former Yemeni Vice President Ali Salem al Beidh claimed in a statement on February 12 that, unless southern Yemen was to receive its independence, the south would turn into a “hotbed of conflict,” and warned of the potential proliferation of militias and terrorist cells.[4]
  • Major General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar met with U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein on February 12 to discuss the March 18 National Dialogue Conference. Ambassador Feierstein reportedly thanked al Ahmar for his support of the dialogue process and of President Hadi’s decisions. Feierstein also met with Yemeni Chief of General Staff Ahmed al Ashwal in Sana’a to discuss military cooperation and Ashwal’s coming trip to the U.S.[5]
  • A gunman riding a motorcycle shot and killed a counterterrorism officer in Sana’a on February 13.[6]
  • The Technical Committee to prepare for the National Dialogue Conference received lists of representatives to the National Dialogue from a number of political parties, including the General People’s Congress, Islah Party, Yemeni Socialist Party, and others. The Committee has yet to receive a list of representatives from the Southern Movement as of February 13.[7]
  • A car was found torched in front of the gate of the government complex in al Mahwit governorate on February 13. Family of the car’s owner subsequently protested in front of the complex.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab attacked Baidoa, Bay region on February 12. Both al Shabaab and the Somali government troops stationed in the town used heavy artillery during the fight. Casualties are confirmed but exact numbers are not known.[9]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Abdi Aziz Abu Mus’ab said that his terrorist organization will continue its bombing campaign in Somalia. He threatened continued attacks like the bombing that targeted a Puntland security official in Galkayo on February 11.[10]
  • Somaliland forces clashed with troops fighting for the recently created Khatumo administration in Lafweyn, Sool region on February 12. Khatumo became a self-declared autonomous state in January 2012 and has clashed with Somaliland troops since then. Khatumo officials say that they defeated the Somaliland forces. Exact figures are not known.[11]
  • The executive committee chairman of Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a, Mohamed Yussuf Hefow, died on February 13 in Mogadishu due to complications with diabetes.[12]
  • President Mohamud met with AMISOM special representative Mahamat Annadif in Mogadishu on February 13. The two men discussed AMISOM presence in Somalia and announced that the African Union office for Somalia would soon be moved from Nairobi to Mogadishu.[13]
  • Somaliland President Ahmed Silanyo met with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in London on February 12 and said that his breakaway state was willing to talk with Somali leadership.[14]
  • The World Food Program (WFP) announced that it will be able to feed 1.6 million people in Somalia in 2013. The WFP also announced that, in Somalia, the number of those in need has dropped by half.[15]
  • The Somali journalist who was arrested on February 5 for protesting the incarceration of another Somali journalist was released on February 12.[16]    

[1] “Al Qaeda Religious Official Killed in Yemen Drone Strikes,” al Masdar Online, February 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/41580
“Drone kills top Qaeda cleric in Yemen: Source,” AFP, February 12, 2013. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gsWjGzy5R40wtSbHtkSk33X-NdPA?docId=CNG.3c277142f43d1a57bcf28081b7b70b5a.8b1
“Yemen drone strike ‘kills Qaeda leader,’” AFP, October 10, 2012. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iNm_qUSevgfDm2GaJZ7FUOItqIsA?docId=CNG.a6f5e581e0f8fda55519c9761caf7993.751
[2] “Source: President Hadi Stipulated that al Dhahab Brothers Surrender Themselves Unconditionally to Cease Military Campaign in al Bayda,” al Masdar Online, February 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/41591
[3] “Two Blasts in Abyan Leave Three Injured,” al Masdar, February 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/41573
[4] “Al Beidh Warns South Will Turn into Hotbed of Conflict,” Mareb Press, February 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=52107&lng=arabic
[5] “Major General Mohsen Discusses National Dialogue Path to Success with U.S. Ambassador,” Mareb Press, February 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=52087&lng=arabic
“Chief of Staff meets US ambassador,” Saba News, February 13, 2013. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/ar/news298470.htm
[6] “Anonymous Gunman Assassinates Counterterrorism Officer in Sana’a,” Nashwan News, February 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://nashwannews.com/news.php?action=view&id=23057
[7] “Dialogue Committee Receives Lists of Representatives from the Rest of the Political Parties,” Nashwan News, February 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://nashwannews.com/news.php?action=view&id=23058
[8] “Citizen’s Car Set Aflame in al Mahwit in Front of Governorate Government Complex Gate,” Yaspr Net, February 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.yaspr.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=7305
[9] “Al Shabaab Launches Surprise Attack on Baidoa,” Hiiraan, February 13, 2013. Available: http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2013/Feb/28087/alshabab_launches_surprise_attack_on_baidoa.aspx
[10] “Al Shabaab Threatens Bombing Campaign across Somalia,” Somali Media Monitoring, February 12, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somaliland, Khatumo Forces Clash in Hudun District,” Bar Kulan, February 13, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/13/somaliland-khatumo-forces-clash-in-hudun-district/
[12] “Ahlu Sunna Leader Dies in Mogadishu Hospital,” Bar Kulan, February 13, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/13/ahlu-sunna-leader-dies-in-mogadishu-hospital
[13] “President Mohamud Meets Annadif in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, February 13, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/13/president-mohamud-meets-annadif-in-mogadishu/
[14] “Somaliland ‘Committed, Ready’ to Start Talks with Somali Government,” Shabelle, February 12, 2013. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/february-13-2013-morning-headlines
[15] “WFP to Feed 1.6M People in Somalia this Year, Agency Reports,” Hiiraan Online, February 13, 2013. Available: http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2013/Feb/28085/wfp_to_feed_1_6m_people_in_somalia_this_year_agency_reports.aspx