Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 26, 2013

Yemen: Security forces intervene after Southern Mobility Movement gunmen attempt to storm Islah headquarters in Tarim, Hadramawt governorate; General People’s Congress Party headquarters burned in al Mukalla and Ghayl Ba Wazir, Hadramawt; tribesmen kidnap four security officers in Nisab, Shabwah governorate; gunmen attack Yemeni security forces in Taiz; car bomb explodes in popular committee truck in Mudia, Abyan governorate; Southern Mobility Movement riots and intimidation lead to store closures in Sanah, al Dhaleh; members of the Yemeni 3rd Mountain Infantry Brigade blockade oil and gas shipments from Sana’a to Ma’rib; two weapons containers reportedly seized at Port of Aden; Islah Secretary General blames former Vice President Ali Salem al Beidh, former President Saleh and Iran for southern unrest

Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants shoot and kill two government officials in Busar, Gedo region; al Shabaab releases video of American and Kenyan fighters; al Shabaab arrests 12 Quranic teachers in Halgan, Hiraan region; Somali and AMISOM troops are headed towards Burhakaba, Bay region; European ambassadors present credentials to Somali president in Mogadishu; Djibouti’s ruling party claims victory in parliamentary elections

Yemen Security Brief

  • Security forces intervened after Southern Mobility Movement (SMM) gunmen attempted to storm both the Islah party headquarters and the local water company, amid riots in Tarim, Hadramawt, Yemen on February 26.[1]
  • Armed men looted the headquarters of the General People’s Congress (GPC) Party in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on February 25. Gunmen burned down another GPC headquarters in Ghayl Ba Wazir on February 24. The GPC accused Islah of being behind the attacks.[2]
  • Tribesmen kidnapped four police and security service officers in Nisab, Shabwah governorate on February 25. According to a source in al Masdar Online, tribal leaders in Nisab are hoping to pressure the central government to release a number of southern detainees, including a tribal sheikh named Hassan Banan.[3]
  • Gunmen, led by a wanted fugitive named Abdu Ghanim, attacked Yemeni security forces from the 22nd Armored Brigade on patrol near a power station in Taiz on February 25. Five security officers and one gunman were injured in the incident.[4]
  • A car bomb exploded in a popular committee truck in Mudia district, Abyan governorate on February 25. No one was injured in the incident.[5]
  • Shops in Sanah, al Dhaleh were closed on February 25 after SMM rioting in the city, and a call by SMM supporters to engage in civil disobedience. According to local sources, store owners were also afraid that their shops may be burned if they were left open.[6]
  • Members of the 3rd Mountain Infantry Brigade cut off the Sana’a-Ma’rib railroad at the gate of the Middle Military District starting on February 24, blocking oil shipments into Ma’rib governorate.[7]
  • Two containers of weapons have reportedly been seized at the Port of Aden, according to a report in Mareb Press on February 25. The report claims that evidence suggests that the shipment was bound from Iran.[8]
  • Secretary General of the Islah Party Abdul Wahab al Anisi blamed former Vice President Ali Salem al Beidh for recent unrest in southern Yemen, and claimed that he was collaborating with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Iranian government to bring down the Yemeni regime, in an interview in Kuwaiti newspaper al Seyassah on February 26. [9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Suspected al Shabaab militants shot and killed the Busar deputy administration officer and the head of social affairs at a restaurant in Busar, Gedo region on February 25. The police chief, also present, was not injured. The gunmen were able to flee the scene.[10]
  • Al Shabaab released a video showing one American and two Kenyan fighters calling for jihad and telling Muslims to join the fight in Somalia or at home. The American fighter, who was called Abu Ahmed al Amriki, said Muslims must fight wherever they are and added, “America is going down and the Caliphate is rising.”[11]
  • Al Shabaab militants arrested 12 Quranic teachers in Halgan, Hiraan region on February 24 after the teachers refused to attend a seminar run by al Shabaab leaders in the area.[12]
  • Somali and AMISOM troops, reportedly headed toward Burhakaba, Bay region, clashed with al Shabaab militants in the area on February 26. Casualty reports are not known.[13]
  • Ambassadors from Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, and Finland presented their credentials to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on February 26, becoming their countries’ first ambassadors to Somalia in over 20 years.[14]
  • The ruling party in Djibouti claimed victory in the February 22 parliamentary elections, winning 49 out of 65 seats. The opposition party contested the results, saying that there were incidences of double voting and ballot-stuffing. Domestic and international election observers called the elections fair and transparent.[15]     

[1] “Southern Movement Members Storm Islah Headquarters in Tarim, Hadramawt,” al Masdar Online, February 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/42107
[2] “Looting and burning of General People’s Congress in Municipality 141 in al Mukalla,” al Motamar, February 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.almotamar.net/news/105844.htm
[3] “Sources Say that Tribesmen Abduct Four Intelligence and Police Officers in Shabwah, to Demand Release of Detained,” al Masdar Online, February 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/42080
[4] “Six Wounded in Clashes between Security Forces and Gunmen,” Mareb Press, February 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=52538
[5] “Three Wounded in al Bayda in Shell Explosion and Popular Committee Car Bomb Explosion in Mudia,” Mareb Press, February 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=52535
[6] “Al Dhaleh: Armed Southern Movement Supporters Impose Civil Disobedience and Threaten to Burn Shops,” Mareb Press, February 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=52511
[7] “Ma’rib: Third Mountain Infantry Brigade Cuts Main Line Between Ma’rib and Sana’a,” Mareb Press, February 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=52530
[8] “New Weapons Shipment Bound from Iran to Yemen Revealed,” Mareb Press, February 25, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=52528
[9] “Al Anisi: Saleh and al Beidh Behind Killings and Violence in Southern Governorates,” al Siyasa, February 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=52549
[10] “Al Shabaab Kills Government Officials in Gedo,” Bar Kulan, February 26, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/26/al-shabaab-kills-government-officials-in-gedo/
[11] “Shabaab Video Features America, Kenyan Fighters Inciting for Jihad,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 25, 2013. Available at SITE.
[12] “Somali Militants Detain 12 Koranic Teachers in Central Town,” Dhacdo Online, February 25, 2013. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/february-26-2013-daily-monitoring-report/
[13] “AMISOM and Government in Burhakaba,” Shabelle, February 26, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/amisom-and-govt-in-burhakhaba/
[14] “Five EU Ambassadors Present Their Credentials to President Mohamud,” Bar Kulan, February 26, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/26/five-eu-ambassadors-present-their-credentials-to-president-mohamud/
[15] “Djibouti Ruling Party Claims Parliamentary Poll Win,” AFP, February 23, 2013. Available: http://hiiraan.com/news4/2013/Feb/28223/djibouti_ruling_party_claims_parliamentary_poll_win.aspx
“Djibouti Ruling Party Declares Election Victory, Opposition Says Flawed,” Reuters, February 23, 2013. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/23/us-djibouti-election-idUSBRE91M09120130223
“Observers Declare Djiboutian Election Legitimate, Opposition Plans Protest,” Sabahi Online, February 25, 2013. Available: http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/02/25/newsbrief-01