Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 22, 2013

Yemen: Southern Military District officials report AQAP involvement in fighting in Aden; judge for Ansar al Sharia encourages young man to create propaganda; more protesters announced dead in Aden; journalist killed in Aden; Benomar praises National Dialogue; explosion in al Qatan, Hadramawt; deadly clashes erupt at checkpoint in Sanah, al Dhaleh; explosion heard in Taiz city; Ma’rib pipeline is attacked again; three British citizens convicted on terrorism charges were inspired by Anwar al Awlaki

Horn of Africa: Somali and AMISOM troops conduct security operations in Kismayo, Lower Jubba; al Shabaab releases two medics in Halgan, Hiraan region; 551 Somali troops complete training with the European Union Training Mission; former Bay governor escorted by Somali military to Mogadishu; Djibouti holds first parliamentary elections in ten years

Yemen Security Brief

  • An official in the Southern Military District revealed on February 22 that members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had infiltrated the Southern Mobility Movement (SMM) in Aden in order to attack Yemeni military units in the city. The official stated that AQAP militants attacked a military truck in al Mansoura district on February 21, and that two of the militants died in the attack, including Wajdi al Subaihi, a media official for AQAP, and Dawoud Ali Saleh. The source also said that a third wanted member of AQAP, Abdullah Hassan al Amoudi, was killed in Crater neighborhood while attacking security forces.[1]
  • Abu Bishr Nasseruddin bin Abdullah, a judge for Ansar al Sharia, the insurgent wing of AQAP, praised and encouraged the creation of media promoting jihad in a video message posted to a jihadist forum on February 21.[2]
  • The number of protesters killed during a demonstration in Aden on February 21 rose to nine, according to an Aden-based news source. Previous civilian casualty numbers had been reported to be between two and four.[3]
  • Security forces reportedly killed journalist Wajdi al Sha’bi and another man on the morning of February 21 in the al Mansoura area of Aden. Al Sha’bi was known for covering the SMM.[4]
  • UN Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar praised the National Dialogue as the clearest path to bring about a Yemeni transition in a speech on February 22.[5]
  • An explosion outside a residence in al Qatan, Hadramawt, killed one on February 21.[6]
  • Clashes between security forces and SMM militants manning a checkpoint erected on February 13 in Sanah, al Dhaleh governorate erupted on February 21. One security soldier was killed and two others were wounded.[7]
  • An explosion in al Jahmaliyya neighborhood in Taiz city on February 22 was believed to be a stun grenade targeting the military police headquarters.[8]
  • Men from the Jehm tribe blew up the Ma’rib oil pipeline in Sirwah district in Ma’rib governorate on February 21.[9]
  • British citizens Ashik Ali, Irfan Naseer, and Irfan Khalid were convicted on February 21 in Birmingham, UK of plotting terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom. The men were reportedly influenced by the propaganda of deceased AQAP-affiliated cleric Anwar al Awlaki.[10]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali and AMISOM troops conducted security operations in Kismayo, Lower Jubba on February 22. Around fifty suspected al Shabaab militants were arrested during the door-to-door searches.[11]
  • Al Shabaab released two medics on February 21 who had been held captive by the terrorist organization in Halgan, Hiraan region since February 16.[12]
  • A group of 551 Somali troops completed their training at The European Union Training Mission (EUTM) during the week of February 22. The group will reintegrate into the Somali government forces. So far the EUTM has trained 3,000 Somali troops.[13]
  • The former governor of Bay region, Abdifatah Mohamed Geesy, was escorted by Somali National Security troops from Baidoa to Mogadishu. Geesy refused to abdicate his office to the newly appointed governor, which raised security concerns in the region.[14]
  • Djibouti is holding its first parliamentary elections in ten years on February 22. This will be the first election where opposition parties are allowed to participate, with three parties vying for 65 seats.[15] 

[1] “Military source unveils involvement of al Qaeda elements in al Beidhs’ armed men in lethal attacks in Aden,” 26 September, February 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.26sep.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=89193
[2] “AQAP Judge Thanks Jihadists, Incites for More Jihadi Productions, SITE Intelligence Group, February 21, 2013. Available on SITE.
[4] “Killing of journalist in raid operation by security forces in Aden,” Barakish Net, February 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=15&id=45286
[5] “Benomar: The National Dialogue is a golden opportunity to extract Sana’a from its temporary crisis,” Asharq al-Awsat, February 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://aawsat.com/details.asp?section=4&issueno=12505&article=718244&feature=#.USeEy6U4vTo
[6] “Breaking: Explosion in al Qatan kills one civilian, Jamal al Naqib, in front of his house,” Barakish Net, February 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=45279
[7] “Al Dhaleh: Clashes between elements of the Southern Movement and citizens from Qa’tbah District today,” Mareb Press, February 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=52392
[8] “Large explosion in military police headquarters hear the Jumhuriyya newspaper in Taiz,” Voice Yemen, February 22, 2013 [ Arabic]. Available: http://voice-yemen.com/news/52036.html
[9] “Oil pipeline exploded in Sirwah; the fate of the Ma’rib deputy’s son is still unknown,” al Oulaye, February 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://aloulaye.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=5128:0000-00-00%2000:00:00&Itemid=59
[10] John F. Burns, “Britain Convicts 3 in Plot to Rival ’05 Transit Attack,” New York Times, February 21, 2013. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/22/world/europe/3-convicted-in-britain-over-terrorist-plot.html?emc=tnt&tntemail0=y
[11] “50 Arrested, Arms Recovered in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, February 22, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/22/50-arrested-arms-recovered-in-kismayo/
[12] “Al Shabaab Releases Detained Medics,” Bar Kulan, February 22, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/22/al-shabaab-releases-detained-medics/
[13] “Somali Troops Newly Trained by EUTM to be Reintegrated into the Somali National Armed Forces,” Kulmiye News, February 22, 2013. Available: http://www.kulmiyenews.com/?nid=12382
[14] “Somalia: Former Bar region Governor Escorted by Armed Forces to Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, February 21, 2013. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Former_Bay_region_Governor_escorted_by_armed_forces_to_Mogadishu.shtml
[15] “Voters Head to Polls in Djibouti,” Bar Kulan, February 22, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/22/voters-head-to-polls-in-djibouti/