Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 15, 2013

Yemen: Russia blocks issuance of UN Security Council statement encouraging Yemeni National Dialogue; clashes at military checkpoint in Bab al Naqa, al Hudaydah governorate; tribal mediator killed negotiating dispute between tribes in Yafa’a, Lahij governorate; security forces fire on demonstrators in Aden city; Yemeni army shells tribal gunmen blocking Sana’a-al Hudaydah road in Bani Matar, al Bayda governorate; February 14 explosions at al Bayda city Political Security building reported to be Iranian-manufactured rockets

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab executes Kenyan prisoner, postpones five additional executions for 72 hours; Puntland forces raid al Shabaab base in Galgala, Bari region; Islamist scholar is shot and killed in Garowe, Nugaal region; Ethiopian military completes construction on its first unmanned aerial vehicle; UN Security Council meets to discuss Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Russia blocked the issuance of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) statement encouraging the National Dialogue process in Yemen on February 14, objecting to language condemning those “undermining the transition process,” a reference to parties which include the Iranian government. Hadi has reportedly asked that the UNSC urge former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave the country.[1]
  • Soldiers clashed with qat dealers at a military checkpoint in Bab al Naqa, al Hudaydah governorate on February 15. Two soldiers were killed and seven were wounded. Subsequent military operations took place in al Hudaydah governorate, leading to the injury of military commander Brigadier General Ali Madhfar.[2]
  • A tribal mediator, Sheikh Jamal Sayeed Jabran, of the Al Kuld tribe, was killed while mediating a long-running dispute between the Al bin al Hassan and Al bin Yazeed tribes in in Yafa’a, Lahij governorate on February 14.[3]
  • Security forces fired on demonstrators, believed to be Southern Movement supporters, marching to Crater, Aden city on February 15. The demonstrators were marching to visit the family of a man named Fathi Mohammad, who had been killed by security forces in Aden during the week of February 4. Demonstrators later blocked off the main street in al Mualla, Aden.[4]
  • Yemeni army forces shelled tribal gunmen from Bayt Maori who were cutting off the Sana’a-al Hudaydah road in Bani Matar, Sana’a governorate on February 14. The gunmen were demanding concessions for one of the tribe’s cars, which had been destroyed by a military truck.[5]
  • The explosions that struck the Political Security office in al Bayda city on February 14 came from a rocket attack on the building. According to a report in al Masdar Online, two Iranian-made rockets were fired at the building; however, only one detonated.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab executed one of its Kenyan prisoners on February 14. Al Shabaab claims that the man was a private in the Kenyan Defense Forces, but Kenyan officials say that he was a government employee. Al Shabaab announced that it had stayed the execution of five other prisoners for 72 hours at the behest of their families. One of the remaining hostages is a government employee and the other four are unidentified.[7]
  • Puntland forces raided an al Shabaab hideout in Galgala, Bari region on February 14. Heavy fighting ensued and casualties are being reported, but exact numbers are not known. Al Shabaab has claimed victory in the fighting.[8] 
  • An Islamist scholar, Sheikh Abdulkadir Nur Farah, was shot and killed during prayer in a mosque in Garowe, Nugaal region on February 15. Two additional people were injured in the attack but those in the mosque were able to detain the shooter. No group has claimed responsibility for the act, but al Shabaab has threatened the life of Farah on previous occasions.[9]
  • The Ethiopian military says it has just completed construction on the country’s first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The drones are equipped with surveillance systems and will be used to monitor security situations as well as conduct surveys and monitor natural disasters.[10]
  • The United Nations Security Council met on February 14 to discuss current UN support to Somalia as well as the ongoing humanitarian and human right violations occurring in the country. Somali Foreign Minister Fowzia Yusuf Haji Aden spoke to the UNSC and reiterated her government’s request to lift the UN arms embargo on Somalia. Minister Aden also stated that the Somali government does not want the UNSC to grant funding for a navy for the African Union forces in Somalia.[11]

[1] “Security Council Fails to Issue a Statement Calling for a National Dialogue in Yemen,” Barakish Net, February 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=44882
“UNSC fails to issue statement on Yemen dialogue over criticism against Saleh,” KUNA, February 14, 2013. Available: http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2293185&language=en
[2] “Breaking: Two Soldiers Killed and Seven Wounded Including an Officer in al Hudaydah,” Barakish Net, February 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=44898
[3] “Tribal Sheikh Killed in Yaf’a During His Participation in a Mediation Committee to End Revenge Issue,” Barakish Net, February 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=44879
[4] “Security Forces Fire Upon March En Route to Crater and Protestors Block Madram Street,” Barakish Net, February 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=44897
[5] “Army Shells Gunmen in Bani Matar Blocking the Main Road Connecting the Capital with al Hudaydah,” al Masdar Online, February 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/41657
[6] “Security Source: Anonymous Gunmen Fire Two Missiles of Iranian Manufacture at Political Security Building in al Bayda,” al Masdar Online, February 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/41650
[7] “Press Release: The Fate of the Kenyan PoWs,” Twitter, February 15, 2013. Available: https://twitter.com/SomWarMonitor/status/302386254975234048/photo/1
“Al Shabaab Kills Kenya Army Soldier, Delay Executions,” Daily Standard, February 15, 2013. Available: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000077368&pageNo=1
[8] “Puntland Armed Forces, Al Shabaab Fight in Galgala,” Puntlandi, February 14, 2013. Available: http://puntlandi.com/puntland-armed-forces-al-shabab-fight-in-galgala/
Tweet from HSMPress1, Twitter, February 14, 2013. Available: https://twitter.com/HSMPRESS1/status/302124773658468353
[9] “Somalia: Mufti of Puntland Killed Inside Garowe Mosque, Terrorist Killer Captured,” Garowe Online, February 15, 2013. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Mufti_of_Puntland_killed_inside_Garowe_mosque_terrorist_killer_captured.shtml
[10] “Ethiopia Produces First Military Drone Aircraft,” Sudan Tribune, February 14, 2013. Available: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45518
[11] “Somalia: Security Council Discusses Revised UN Presence in Mogadishu,” UN News Centre, February 14, 2013. Available: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44147&Cr=somalia&Cr1=#.UR5F0h04vng
“Somalia Opposes Sh870m Funding for Kenya Navy,” Bar Kulan, February 15, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/15/somalia-opposes-sh870m-funding-for-kenya-navy/