Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 27, 2013

Yemen: Al Malahem Media releases statement denying Aden Post report; al Malahem Media releases video message from Sheikh Ibrahim al Rubaish; Yemeni Defense Minister calls for end to distributing government land to Republican Guard officers; former President Saleh delivers speech and holds rally in Saba’een Square, Sana’a; tribesmen demonstrate against al Houthi militants in Razah, Sa’ada governorate; President calls for division of Yemen into five zones and shutting down of Aden Live TV; sheikh of al Azhar calls for release of three western hostages held in Yemen; Yemeni army deploys to al Shihr, Hadramawt; gunmen attack and loot postal vehicle in al Dhaleh city; Yemeni courts decide to freeze Brigadier General Yahya al Saleh’s assets; security forces in Mudhaykhirah, Ibb governorate seize vehicle filled with weapons and explosive components

Horn of Africa: Somali and AMISOM troops peacefully take Burhakaba, Bay region; Somali police arrest 25 suspected al Shabaab militants in Beledweyne, Hiraan; unknown gunmen shoot and kill two qat traders in Kolbio, Lower Jubba region; EU is planning to move some of its Somali training mission from Uganda to Mogadishu, Somalia; seventy Somali youths are acquitted in a Kenyan court; protesters gather for a second day in Djibouti

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Malahem Media released a statement from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on February 23 denying the validity of a report posted by Aden Online attributed to AQAP condemning former Yemeni Vice President Ali Salem al Beidh for sponsoring Shiite expansionism in southern Yemen.[1]
  • Al Malahem Media released a video message from AQAP leader Sheikh Ibrahim al Rubaish entitled, “A Special Meeting.”[2]
  • Defense Minister Major General Mohammed Nasser Ahmed called upon Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh to stop distributing government land to Republican Guard officers, according to a report in al Masdar Online on February 27.[3]
  • Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh delivered a speech and rallied supporters in Saba’een Square, Sana’a, on February 27. Supporters advocated for the return of Saleh and the overthrow of the current regime.[4]
  • Dozens of tribesmen demonstrated against al Houthi militants in Razah district, Sa’ada governorate on February 26, after al Houthi militants beat up two people in the area.[5]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi called for the future division of Yemen into five zones, as well as an economic zone in Aden, in a February 26 meeting with members of the Aden local council. He also called for the closure of Aden Live TV, the pro-Southern television statement run by former Vice President Ali Salem al Beidh.[6]
  • The Sheikh of al Azhar, Ahmed al Tayeb, called for the release of the three Western hostages currently held in Yemen, in a February 26 meeting with the Austrian Ambassador to Egypt.[7]
  • Yemeni Army forces deployed to al Shihr, Hadramawt governorate on February 26, after a motorcycle gunman fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the district security building, and the discovery of a motorcycle rigged with explosives in the city. The individual who fired the RPG was later arrested by security services.[8]
  • Unknown gunmen attacked and looted a postal vehicle carrying approximately 5 million Yemeni riyals in al Dhaleh city, al Dhaleh governorate on February 27. The driver of the car and his bodyguard were wounded in the incident.[9]
  • Yemeni courts decided to freeze Brigadier General Yahya al Saleh’s assets, according to a report in Yemen Post on February 26, after Saleh failed to appear to testify in the case of a May 2012 bomb attack against the Central Security Forces in Saba’een Square, Sana’a.[10]
  • Security personnel in Dhi ‘Awood, Mudhaykhirah, Ibb governorate seized a vehicle filled with weapon and explosive components on February 26. The vehicle reportedly was en route from Taiz to Dhamar governorates.[11]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali and AMISOM troops peacefully captured Burhakaba, Bay region on February 27. The al Shabaab militants, who had been in control of the town, vacated before the Somali and AMISOM forces arrived.[12]
  • Somali police arrested 25 suspected al Shabaab militants in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on February 27. The suspects were traveling in a truck from Mogadishu and claimed to be heading to Puntland and Somaliland in order to travel abroad. An investigation into the matter is underway.[13]
  • Unknown gunmen shot and killed two qat traders in Kolbio, Lower Jubba region on February 27. The two men were traveling from Badhadhe, Lower Jubba region to Kolbio, when they were stopped by the shooters. No group has claimed responsibility and the reason behind the attack is not known.[14]
  • The European Union is preparing to move some of its training missions for Somali soldiers from Uganda to Mogadishu, Somalia. The new plan, which was presented to the EU Political and Security Committee in Brussels, will run from February 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015.[15]
  • Seventy Somali youths were acquitted in a Nairobi, Kenya court on February 25. The seventy youths were arrested in November 2012 in connection with the riots that followed a matatu explosion in the Kenyan capital.[16]
  • Protestors gathered for a second day on February 26 in the capital city of Djibouti to protest the outcome of the February 22 parliamentary elections. The Djiboutian government arrested a prominent opposition leader on February 25 and many in the crowd called for his release. Djibouti police fired tear gas into the demonstration to break it up.[17]  

[1] “al-Malāhim Media presents a new statement from al-Qā’idah in the Arabian Peninsula: “Denying the Validity of the Statement Posted By ‘Aden Online’ On February 23, 2013”,” Jihadology, February 27, 2013. Available: http://jihadology.net/2013/02/27/al-mala%E1%B8%A5im-media-presents-a-new-statement-from-al-qaidah-in-the-arabian-peninsula-denying-the-validity-of-the-statement-posted-by-aden-online-on-february-23-2013/
[2] “al-Malāhim Media presents a new video message from al-Qā’idah in the Arabian Peninsula’s Shaykh Ibrāhīm bin Sulaymān al-Rubaysh: “A Special Meeting”,” Jihadology, February 26, 2013. Available: http://jihadology.net/2013/02/26/al-mala%E1%B8%A5im-media-presents-a-new-video-message-from-al-qaidah-in-the-arabian-peninsulas-shaykh-ibrahim-bin-sulayman-al-rubaysh-a-special-meeting/
[3] “Defense Minister Orders an End to Distribution of Land to Republican Guard Officers,” al Masdar Online, February 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/42149
[4] “Saleh Gathers Supporters in Sana’a and Attacks Those Who Receive Money from Abroad and Calls for Reconciliation and Tolerance,” al Masdar Online, February 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/42150
[5] “Attacks on Citizens Inflame Anti-Houthi Anger Among Residents of a Region of Sa’ada,” al Masdar Online, February 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/42143
[6] “Hadi: We See Yemen as Having 5 Regions and Economic Region in Aden, and We Will Demand the Closure of Aden Live,” al Masdar Online, February 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/42145
[7] “Al Azhar Sheikh Calls for Release of Austrian Hostage in Yemen,” Barakish Net, February 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=45574
[8] “Al Shihr: Bomb-Rigged Motorcycle Defused and Army Forces Deploy in the City Streets,” Barakish Net, February 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=45552
[9] Zaki al Saqd, “Unidentified Gunmen Attack Mail Vehicle in al Dhaleh and Loot Money,” al Masdar Online, February 27, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/42154
[10] “Brigadier General Yehia Mohammed Saleh in Hot Water,” Yemen Post, February 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=6612&MainCat=3
[11] “Mudhaykhirah Security Seizes Vehicle with Dangerous Explosives Onboard,” Mareb Press, February 26, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=52579
[12]“Somali, AMISOM Forces Capture Burhakaba,” Bar Kulan, February 27, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/27/somali-amisom-forces-capture-bur-hakabo/
[13] “25 Arrested in Beledweyne,” Bar Kulan, February 27, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/27/25-arrested-in-beledweyne/
[14] “Gunmen Kill Two Near Kulbiyow,” Bar Kulan, February 27, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/27/gunmen-kill-two-near-kulbiyow-town/
[15] “EU Mulls Shifting Somali Military Training Mission from Uganda,” Bar Kulan, February 27, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/27/eu-mulls-shifting-somali-military-training-mission-from-uganda/
[16] “Court Frees 70 Somali Youth Charged with Eastleigh Riots,” The Kenyan Star, February 26, 2013. Available: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-109338/court-frees-70-somali-youth-charged-eastleigh-riots
[17] “Djibouti Police Clash with Opposition Protesters for 2nd Day,” Reuters, February 26, 2013. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/26/djibouti-election-idUSL6N0BQC2C20130226